Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced the creation of a Local Produce and Protein Program. Reynolds has allocated $500,000 through federal CARES Act funding to help Iowa schools purchase locally grown products from Iowa farmers adversely affected by COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions. The funding will be awarded through three grant programs administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Iowa K-12 schools can apply to be reimbursed for some of the costs associated with purchasing kitchen equipment and supplies that allow the food service program to offer more fresh produce and protein sourced from Iowa farmers. A second subgrant program will reimburse schools for a portion of the costs to purchase produce and protein from local farmers. Additionally, Iowa specialty crop producers and food hubs can apply to be reimbursed for the purchase of supplies and equipment needed to serve their products in schools, colleges, universities and early care centers. Eligible applicants can apply for the Local Produce and Protein Program grants online at www.iowaagriculture.gov/grants. Questions can be directed to Tammy Stotts, program administrator, at 515-281-7657.

Iowa Stops Hunger is a year long Business Publications Corporation initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa. Read additional stories on Iowastopshunger.com.