The Oregon Department of Education has announced it has awarded 11 Oregon school districts $189,140 in grants for farm-to-school and school-garden programs.
Grants are being used to purchase locally grown food for school lunches, plant gardens and host activities that educate students about food.
Awards range from just over $1,000 for the Sherman County School District, where a greenhouse will become the home of a hydroponics vegetable garden, to just under $30,000 for the Douglas, Centennial and Lane County 4J school districts.
Highlights of this year's grants include a program in the Ontario School District where Ontario farmer Rene Corn will teach students about grain, show them how to mill it and make whole grain breads, rolls, pizza dough and buns for the district through a local bakery.
In Gladstone, the school district will purchase food directly from a local vegetable farmer, laying the groundwork for what could develop into a long-term relationship.
The grants are a product of House Bill 2800, which lawmakers passed in 2011.
Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, and House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, have said they are seeking $5 million for the program in the 2013 session.