Pe Ell Among School Districts Awarded Grants to Purchase Locally Grown Food for Students


Students in the Pe Ell, Hoquiam, Aberdeen and Raymond school districts will be eating locally grown food this school year, thanks to grants from the Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

The grants, called the WSDA Farm to School Grants, fund school districts to “buy local food, educate students about agriculture and more,” according to the program’s website.

“Our goal is to support expanding economic opportunities for farmers while educating students about the connections between food, farming, health and the environment.”

According to the announcement from the WSDA, school districts located away from the Interstate 5 corridor struggle with supply chain issues. WSDA Farm to School Grants assist those districts with their food offerings.

The 2022-2023 school year marks the first time the Pe Ell School District will receive a Farm to School Grant, though in the past the district has sought to provide students with access to local food.

We’ve always tried our best to feed our students foods from local farms whenever possible and are excited to ramp that up for the 2022-2023 school year,” said Melissa Holmes, food service director at Pe Ell School District. “The WSDA Farm to School grant award helps put extra money in our food budget to make it possible, and our partnership with Southwest Washington Food Hub makes it easier to do.”

The Southwest Washington Food Hub (SWWFH), a farmer-owned distributor, will deliver food to the districts and plans to expand its service to rural students in the Southwest Washington region. Other districts interested in ordering from the SWWFH are encouraged to reach out to the distributor.

SWWFH can be contacted by emailing Emily Manke at