Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) anticipates awarding up to $124,000 through two new Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) mini-grants to respond to the disruptions COVID-19 has caused in traditional Farm to School markets. Farm to School Rapid Response for Schools Grants are intended for school districts to begin, diversify, and expand purchasing from Minnesota producers during the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily during the summer and fall 2020. School districts may apply for $1,000 to $5,000 and there is no match required. Meanwhile, AGRI Farm to School Rapid Response for Food Vendors Grants are intended to support equipment purchases for food vendors that will help them to meet the product needs of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Agricultural producers (farmers, ranchers, agricultural cooperatives), restaurants, processors, food hubs, food distributors, and food service management companies are eligible to apply. Food vendors may apply for $1,000 to $5,000 and there is a 1:1 match requirement. Funding will be prioritized to support Minnesota’s Emerging Farmers, including Black, Indigenous, Farmers of Color, beginning farmers, women, and veterans.
Applications for both mini-grants will be reviewed twice monthly through August 12, 2020, or until funds run out.