Full Plates Full Potential awarded $10 million to bring local ingredients to school menus

By Gillian Graham, Portland Press Herald
March 23, 2023

Full Plates Full Potential has been awarded $10 million by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to dramatically increase the use of local ingredients in school meals and ensure school nutrition workers have the skills and equipment needed to use them.

The nonprofit, which advocates for ending childhood hunger, was one of four organizations nationwide – and the only one east of Chicago – to receive a share of the $50 million from the USDA’s Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative. It is the program’s first major award of government funding.

“This is a huge deal for Maine,” Full Plates Executive Director Justin Strasburger said Thursday.

The announcement was music to the ears of farm- and sea-to-school advocates across the state, said Martha Poliquin, school nutrition director for Falmouth schools. She sees it as an incredible opportunity to connect students with local food while supporting the local economy.

“Getting more foods grown, raised and processed in Maine onto student trays is fantastic,” she said. “It’s the most nutritious food we can feed our kids.”

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