Nelson: $74,000 awarded to schools, community agriculture efforts

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Feb. 1 – State Rep. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery, announced grants to assist local schools and improve local agriculture infrastructure.

The Springfield Township School District will receive two grants of $12,713 each to go toward the purchase of new refrigerated cases to hold food and drink items in student cafeterias.

The funding is part of package of competitive grants awarded to 44 elementary, middle and high schools through a program administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

“Lunch is one of the most important times of the day for our students,” Nelson said. “These merchandisers will help provide students with easily accessible food and drink options to enjoy while helping streamline the work of our busy and dedicated cafeteria staff.”

Funding for the PDE program is made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and grants are awarded to schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. Schools can use the funding to purchase or upgrade equipment such as refrigerators, freezers, stoves and dishwashers.

Additionally, Nelson announced a $50,000 grant has been awarded to LifeLeaf Organic Farms and FarmerJawn Agriculture to build a nano-farm, a corner store and a kitchen/market to serve the local community.

FarmerJawn is a black-owned agricultural company aiming to eliminate food insecurity in the Philadelphia area through education and providing access to fresh food.

The funds were awarded through the Pennsylvania Farm Bill's Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program, which is supporting 23 projects in total.

“The work done by FarmerJawn to educate the community about healthy eating and making locally-grown fresh produce readily available has been incredibly valuable,” Nelson said. “I’m excited to see a black-owned company continue to take on the issue of food insecurity in the Philadelphia area and pave the way for minorities to bring healthier lifestyles to our communities.

“I’d also like to express a tremendous amount of gratitude to our entire community for their support of FarmerJawn over the years. I am pleased to now include the Department of Agriculture to this growing list of organizations.”

The projects funded include agricultural infrastructure such as greenhouses, raised beds, solar equipment, and tools to provide urban ag operations every opportunity to succeed as they work to feed and build their communities.

More information about the PA Farm Bill can be found at

Photos and videos from the event can be found at