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Oxford School District receives $80,000 grant

Oxford School District received its second grant from the USDA for a Farm to School fund.

The $80,000 grant will allow schools in the district to expand its Farm to School program, which will focus on serving local foods through child nutrition programs as well as teaching children about food and agriculture through gardening and classroom education.

The district will take part in a city-wide food hub collaboration with the Oxford City Market and turn garden projects into self-sustaining educational programs.

“We are so incredibly grateful for the opportunity,” said Sunny Baker, who heads up the school dietary program.

Baker said she is looking forward to working with the city market more. The schools have been buying local food for a while, but would like to spend more funds locally. That involves connecting with local farmers through the farmers’ markets.

She said for the last two years there have been a group of students who have grown through the program in Oxford schools. Baker said she hopes the program will be even more successful.

Two years ago, Oxford received the first grant for planning the local program. The second grant is set aside for implementation. This will allow the district to expand and supplement the program already in place.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said $4.8 million in grants for 74 projects in 39 states were awarded. For 2016, those grants will serve more than 5,211 schools.

The USDA’s Farm to School Grants range from $20,000 to $100,000 in four different areas: planning, implementation, support service and training.