“Local Food Makes Cents: For Iowa Kids and Farmers” awards $43,000 to Iowa early care sites

February 26, 2021

by Chelsea Krist, FFED farm to school specialist

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Iowa Farm to School and Early Care Coalition partners recently won a Farm to Early Care and Education Implementation Grant. The Association of State Public Health Nutritionists funded the project. Its title is Racial Equity in Iowa Farm to School and Early Care: Advancing Outcomes through Process, Programs, and Policies.

With this funding, we launched a local food incentive pilot called “Local Food Makes Cents: For Iowa Kids and Farmers.” Participating early care and education providers (ECEs) that are enrolled in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) will receive funding totaling $43,000. They will use these funds to purchase local food (fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy and grain) from April through September 2021. Participants will source local foods from local farmers, farmers markets or food hubs, with technical assistance from food system partners.

About the grantees

Throughout January 2021, nearly 200 ECEs applied to participate in the “Local Food Makes Cents” grant pilot. The scoring process prioritized sites serving higher percentages of children receiving Child Care Assistance and sites serving children of color. Grant partners selected a total of 125 sites to receive funding.

The fair-share funding model used to determine award amounts is as follows: October 2020 meal claims x 6 months x $0.10 = award amount. With this funding model, 125 ECEs in 41 Iowa counties (highlighted in the map) will receive grants. Amounts range from $50 for smaller in-home sites to $4,200 for larger centers, totaling $43,000.

Iowa map.

Iowa ECE providers clearly have great and growing interest in beginning and increasing local food procurement efforts. This state-level funding for local food purchases helps mitigate the financial risks of trying new procurement partnerships and new foods. Grant coordinators and food system partners look forward to connecting with ECEs to make purchasing local food a positive experience—for the providers themselves, the kids and families they serve, and the local farmers and food hubs they support.

For information on the program, contact Chelsea Krist. Grant partners include: