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Two St. Louis-area school districts win $150,000 in USDA 'Farm to School' grants

Two St. Louis-area school districts win $150,000 in USDA 'Farm to School' grants

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Clay and Avery Elementary students garden together with Gateway Greening

Students from Clay Elementary, and Avery Elementary work during a garden day hosted by Gateway Greening at Clay Elementary School in St. Louis on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Students planted trees donated by Forest Releaf, moved wood chips and compost, removed weeds, planted flowers, made lemonade and painted garden markers. Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle, scordle@post-dispatch.com

Two St. Louis-area school districts are getting a combined $150,000 in federal "Farm to School" grants, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Monday.

The department is granting $50,000 to the Ferguson nonprofit farm EarthDance to supply produce to the Ferguson-Florissant School District and launch other efforts tied to school gardens and education.

And it's sending $100,000 to St. Louis Public Schools to improve a culinary arts program at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy and also expand a garden partnership to Clay, Columbia, Gateway, Patrick Henry, and Stix elementary schools, among other things. "Students will create prepared foods such as soups and sauces from local produce that will be served in school cafeterias," the USDA release said.

The grants were part of a $12.1 million nationwide total awarded by the agency, which it said marked a record level of funding for the second-straight year.

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