TRACY, Minn., Oct 30, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited Tracy Elementary School today to highlight how a $12,000 grant helped the Tracy School District purchase walk-in coolers and freezers. The freezer helps the district serve fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from area farms and community gardens at school lunches.
Landkamer was joined by school officials, representatives from the University of Minnesota Extension Service, local farmers and FFA students. Before having lunch at the school, the group observed a cooking demonstration in Mrs. Jones’ sixth-grade class and heard presentations about efforts from local farmers and students to serve more fresh fruits and vegetables at the school.
“This is a small grant that is making a big impact,” Landkamer said. “Serving more locally grown foods in our schools means healthier kids and a healthier local economy. Kids have the opportunity to learn more about healthy eating and local framers and growers have an additional market for the fruits and vegetables they produce.”
The funding comes from USDA Rural Development’s community facilities program, which funds essential buildings, equipment and vehicles in rural areas. In addition to school kitchen equipment, other examples of community facilities projects include hospitals, nursing homes, day cares, fire halls, emergency response vehicles, city halls, utility vehicles and police radios.
USDA Rural Development has invested over $3.5 billion throughout Minnesota since 2009. In addition to essential community facilities, the agency finances housing, infrastructure, businesses, renewable energy and high-speed Internet in rural areas.
To learn more about Rural Development programs, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn, or call the area office in Marshall at (507) 532-3234, ext. 4.