Frequently Asked Questions

What counts as a Pennsylvania-grown fruit or vegetable?

For this grant, CACFP sites will receive funding for each meal that includes fresh, unprocessed fruits or vegetables grown in PA. The grant seeks to follow USDA guidelines around the definition of unprocessed: “Unprocessed products are those that retain their inherent character. The following food handling and preservation techniques are not considered to change a product’s character and thus are allowable: refrigerating, freezing, size adjustment made by peeling, slicing, dicing, cutting, chopping, shucking, grinding, forming ground products into patties without any additives or fillers, drying or dehydration, washing, packaging (such as placing eggs in cartons), vacuum packing and bagging (such as placing vegetables in bags or combining two or more types of vegetables or fruits in a single package), adding of ascorbic acid or other preservatives to prevent oxidation.”

What are some examples of funding requests?

Multiply the number of meals that will include a Pennsylvania-grown product (for which you would like to receive funding) by .25 to get your maximum funding amount.

For example:

If a site would like to start small and buy Pennsylvania-grown pears for 10 weeks in the fall and serve them three times a week:

3,000 meals including Pennsylvania-grown pears (100 lunches x 3 times a week x 10 weeks) x .25 = $750

If a site is already serving Pennsylvania-grown products regularly and could take on a Pennsylvania-grown purchase for the school year:

20,000 meals including a Pennsylvania-grown fruit and vegetable (100 lunches x 5 times a week x 40 weeks) x .25 = $5,000

Where can I purchase from?

Products must be grown in Pennsylvania; food handling and preservation techniques must also take place in Pennsylvania. Produce can be purchased from farms, food hubs, distributors, farmers’ markets or stores as long as documentation can be provided showing farm of origin. Produce can also be grown on-site. Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month items were chosen with distributors’ product availability in mind. Any PA Preferred fruit or vegetable product would also be eligible. The Common Market supplies locally grown food from many PA farmers and is a great partner and resource.

Will anyone be able to help me find Pennsylvania-grown produce?

Yes, The Food Trust will be available for technical assistance and support. Follow-up information will be provided to selected sites.

What meals does this program cover?

Any meal or snack within the CACFP that includes a Pennsylvania-grown fruit or vegetable is eligible – breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks.

What percentage of a meal component must be Pennsylvania-grown to count as an eligible meal or snack?

There is no set percentage. If unprocessed tomatoes are purchased, made into a tomato sauce, and served with pasta, for example, that is acceptable.

What is the timeline for this grant?

This grant will provide funding for meals served between October 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. Applications will be accepted through September 30, 2023, with priority given to those completed by September 15, 2023.

Who is eligible and how will applications be scored?

Early care and education sites that serve 50 or more children, are located within the Philadelphia area, and are sponsors of the CACFP are eligible. To clarify: If you receive reimbursement directly from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for your child nutrition program, you are eligible. If you are reimbursed through another sponsor, you are not eligible. The Food Trust would like to direct funds to communities who have experienced inequities and will prioritize that in the scoring process. Applications will also be scored on background and readiness, current farm to ECE practices, and future goals.

If awarded, what will I need to submit?

Selected sites will be asked to fill out and submit on a monthly basis a spreadsheet documenting types of Pennsylvania-grown produce purchased, volume/quantity of produce, source/farm of origin, and number of meals served with Pennsylvania-grown produce. Supporting documentation, including invoices and/or receipts documenting quantities and farm of origin will also be required. Additionally, centers must revise their CACFP annual budget income to include awarded grant funding as “Other income” and expended grant dollars should also be reported in the monthly Claim Cost Details.

What happens if I need to deviate from the original plan and don’t end up claiming the proposed amount?

It’s not a problem if adjustments need to be made. You will not be able to exceed the agreed upon amount, but if you are not able to claim the full proposed budget, The Food Trust will reallocate the funds. That said, the hope is that sites will be successful and The Food Trust is available to support this through one-on-one technical assistance.

What other time or resource commitment will be involved?

Participants will be asked to participate in pre and post interviews (approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour each) to share their expectations and experiences with the program. Participants will also be expected to participate in brief check-ins (approximately 30 minutes) two to three times through the grant year to discuss any challenges and receive technical assistance as needed.

Are there other required activities (e.g. food education, program promotion) as part of the grant?

Participating sites will be encouraged and provided technical assistance to share and promote the program and local food purchasing with families and integrate food education with children. Existing food education and family engagement activities will be considered in the application process. However, these are not required parts of program participation.

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