Food and Nutrition Grants

Iowa Nutrition Network School Grant Program

DMPS participates in the Iowa Nutrition Network School Grant Program. These funds are used to implement Pick a Better Snack nutrition education; social media marketing; and policy, systems, and environmental supports for student wellness in qualifying preschool and elementary school buildings where there is at least 60% free/reduced lunch participation.

The goals of the Pick a Better Snack program are to provide information and strategies to help children and their families:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Be physically active every day
  • Consume fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products every day

Opportunities are available for in-class nutrition education, schoolwide promotions (posters, books, etc), family/parent night involvement, staff training and more.

For recipes, resources or to learn more about Pick a Better Snack, visit

To learn about BASICS funding visit

USDA Farm to School Planning Grant

DMPS has successfully completed their USDA Farm to School Planning grant. Input was gathered from DMPS staff, students, farmers, and community members about school gardens, nutrition education, and local foods, the three main components of Farm to School programs. Farm to School stakeholders learned new ideas and best practices through conferences, trainings, and visits to neighboring Farm to School programs.

Grant funds supported teachers coordinating and maintaining gardens through summer months and the creation of resources to help in planning gardens and integrating garden work into school activities. A partnership with Eat Greater Des Moines helped create garden signs to connect gardens throughout Des Moines to the community and each other.

The DMPS Food and Nutrition Department purchased local products for special events like the Midwest Meal served to students Kindergarten through 12th grade, and parent-teacher conferences during October’s Farm to School Month as well as created and tested new recipes featuring local products. The Food and Nutrition Department staff continue to work with local farmers, producers, and distributors to find products that will meet the needs of school food programs and DMPS students.

Farm to School nutrition education continues as a part of the district Pick a better snack nutrition programs ( ) and FoodCorps member service ( Teachers can connect school gardens to curriculum through newly established Farm to School lessons for grades K-5.