HATHORNE – Essex Tech has received a federal grant to advance its efforts to support its Farm to School initiative. The $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow the District to solidify its existing partnerships with Tufts University and Salem Public Schools, and establish new initiatives involving student learning.
The USDA is investing $12 million in Farm to School grants in 2021. This round awards 176 grants, the most since the project began in 2013. Essex Tech partnered with the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Salem Public Schools in 2020. New Entry is a Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy initiative. New Entry, based at Moraine Farms in Beverly, provides fresh produce to be served in the Essex Tech cafeteria and offers the chance for students in the Agriculture program to receive hands-on experience.
Sustainable farming has become a major focus of the Agriculture program. Essex Tech recently received a state grant that will enable the school to deliver fresh, healthy, local food to neighborhoods whose residents face food insecurity.
“We are excited to continue our work with the Farm to Table initiative and our partnership with Salem Public Schools. Freshly grown foods are an essential part of our curriculum and we are eager to expand our work with food insecurity,” Superintendent Heidi Riccio said. “As an agricultural school, we have three greenhouses, a hoop house, an orchard, and acres of land to expand our food production. This planning grant will allow us to evaluate next steps in this expansion effort.”