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Lexington-Richland District Five officials announced Monday that the Student Nutrition Department has received a $5,000 grant to help fund the district's farm to school practices by introducing food waste recycling into the school lunch program.

The Dominion Energy Environmental Stewardship grant will be used towards the Farm to Five: Food Waste Challenge Project. It was awarded to the district by the US Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grant in July. Dominion's grant will be used to purchase containers for food waste collection at the district's five pilot schools: Dutch Fork Elementary, Leaphart Elementary, Chapin Middle, Irmo Middle and Spring Hill High.

The project will use consumer food waste recycling at the five schools for conversion into compost. The compost will then be used in school gardens and farms. Surplus compost will be sold, with proceeds used to sustain farm to school efforts.

“I would like to convey my deep appreciation and gratitude for the help and contribution that Dominion Energy has provided to assist us with our composting efforts to reduce waste in School District Five,” said Todd Bedenbaugh, School District Five Executive Director of Operation. “I can say with absolute certainty that this project would not be a complete success without their support and assistance.”

Farm to School grants support a wide range of activities that increase the amount of local foods served in child nutrition programs, and teach children about food and agriculture. According to district officials, Lexington-Richland Five is the only district in the country to receive the Farm to School grant on three separate occasions.

The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service awarded grants between $20,000 to $100,000 to projects in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.

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