Get Schools Cooking Grant

The Get Schools Cooking Grant was created to support school districts in the U.S. who are eager to transform their school lunch programs from processed foods to scratch-cooked meals.


Consultation and Monetary Grant

Grant Value


About the Program

Whole Kids has joined forces with Chef Ann Foundation to help districts transition from highly processed meals to scratch cooking.

Get Schools Cooking will guide selected districts through this multi-year transformative journey that includes in-person workshops for food service directors, on-site assessment, recommendations, and strategic planning, along with peer-to-peer collaboration and access to a Technical/Equipment Assistance Grant. The program has a value of nearly $250,000 per participating district (depending on district size).

To apply, school districts must meet the following criteria:

  • Be firmly committed to working towards a scratch-cooked and fresh whole foods approach to their meal programs.
  • Demonstrate support for improvement from district leadership.
  • Participate in the National School Lunch Program.
  • Run a self-operated food service program.

Why is it important?

Serving children scratch-cooked meals allows districts to offer healthy and delicious breakfast and lunch, but it’s not always an easy task—there are financial, procurement, management, education, and staffing hurdles to jump over. Oftentimes, school districts need guidance from school food experts to overcome these challenges. According to a recent Pew study, directors whose school food programs prepared more foods from scratch and increased the use of salad bars were more likely to report that student participation rose. In addition, the guidelines implemented through this program support scratch cooking that is healthier and more nutritious than serving processed foods. 


View a recent informational webinar highlighting grant details and one district's experience here.

How to Apply

For more information or questions on the Get Schools Cooking application process, visit or email with any questions.

Application for the Next Cohort Opens:

August 1, 2024

Applications Close:

September 30, 2024

Selected Districts Notified:

November - December 2024


February 2025

Onsite assessments:

March 2025-November 2025

Onsite TA visits:

Fall 2025- Spring 2026

Final Evaluation:

Spring 2027

Participating Districts

  • Brownsville Independent School District (Brownsville, Texas)
  • Dillingham School District (Dillingham, Alaska)
  • Ellensburg School District (Ellensburg, Washington)
  • Hardin Public Schools (Hardin, Montana)
  • Howard-Suamico School District (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
  • Lewiston Public Schools (Lewiston, Maine)
  • Windham Central Supervisory Union (Townshend, Vermont)
  • Beaufort County Schools (Washington, NC)
  • Franklin Special School District (Franklin, TN)
  • Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 (Manhattan, KS)
  • South Madison Community School Corporation (Pendleton, IN)
  • Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools (Wisconsin Rapids, WI)
  • Goleta Union School District (Goleta, CA)
  • Caroline County Public Schools (Denton, MD)
  • Marysville Joint Unified School District (Marysville, CA)
  • Napa Valley Unified School District (Napa, CA)
  • Brewster Central School District (Brewster, NY)
  • Fridley Public Schools (Fridley, MN)
  • Norwood City School District (Norwood, OH)
  • Ocean View School District (Oxnard, CA)
  • Oxford School District (Oxford, MS)
  • Staunton City Schools (Staunton, VA)
  • Tempe Elementary School District (Tempe, AZ)
  • Bellingham Public Schools (Bellingham, WA)
  • Buford City Schools (Buford City, GA)
  • Passaic School District (Passaic, NJ)
  • Watertown Public Schools (Watertown, MA)

These school districts have begun implementing the recommendations from their on-site assessments and are in the midst of transitioning to healthier, scratch-cooked school food by meeting program goals. For example, they are introducing new scratch-cooked recipes, salad bars, adding new local foods, eliminating highly processed nuggets and patties, and gaining significant community support.