Nutrition Program Bulletin – Week of January 20, 2020

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Nutrition Program Bulletin – Week of January 20, 2020

Each section contains updates relevant to those nutrition programs. You can jump to the section you're interested in by clicking the link.

All Nutrition Programs

Website Improvement Survey – Respond by January 24, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) wants to better understand how our users experience our website, including the issues they face when using it and any ideas for improvement. 

If you use the FNS website, please take the FNS Website Improvement survey to help us identify specific improvements to implement. This survey will close on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 5 p.m. It should take about 15-20 minutes to complete.

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Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Request for Public Comment: CACFP Information Collection

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is requesting public comments on the CACFP regarding:

  • necessity of information collected by FNS;
  • accuracy of estimated time it takes to administer the CACFP;
  • ways to enhance collected information; and
  • ways to decrease burden on people providing required information to FNS. 

In this request, FNS’s estimate of the time required to effectively manage the CACFP has been updated. Please submit CACFP comments to FNS by February 24, 2020.

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Food Distribution Program

Special Announcement Series #1: CLiCS 1 System Updates and Spring Survey Learning Opportunities

The Food Distribution Program (FDP) has been working with Minnesota Information Technology (MNIT) for the last two years to develop a new system to replace the aging CLiCS 1 platform. MDE has made this new system a priority and is pushing for its completion by June 30, 2020, in response to sponsor concerns. 

The initial functions of this new system are near completion. Our goal is to have the system ready for the upcoming spring surveys. Although this change looks very promising we have quite a bit of work to do and will be dedicating a substantial amount of staff hours to make this a reality. In the case that the new system is not ready to go live, we will remain in the current CLiCS1 platform in order to complete spring surveys.   

We will be keeping sponsors informed regarding the new system updates through the bi-weekly bulletins. In addition, special announcements may be made with information about training resources and webinars.

Sponsors are reminded to register for Ready, Set, Survey for the February 11, 2020, Tuesday @ 2 webinar “Ready-Set-Survey.” In addition, MDE will be presenting a training and information session at 9am on Friday, February 14, 2020, at the USDA Foods Expo in St. Cloud.

We thank you for voicing your concerns, comments and your patience with us. We are excited for the resolution these changes will bring to the improved operation of the USDA Food Distribution Program in Minnesota.

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School Nutrition Programs (SNP)

School Nutrition Orientation Videos

New charter schools opening in the fall of 2020 and existing sponsors planning to begin or expand a meal program for students are strongly encouraged to view a series of school nutrition orientation videos. The orientation videos are the first step in a four-step application process to participate in a school nutrition program. Links to the videos are included in the instructional document Application Process for the School Nutrition Program found on the Sponsor-to-State Connection school nutrition page.

Video topics include:

  • Deciding to Participate (30 minutes)
  • Meal Benefit Eligibility Basics (30 minutes)
  • Basic Meal Pattern Requirements (30 minutes)
  • Food Safety and Staffing Needs (30 minutes)
  • Professional Standards-Hiring Standards for New School Nutrition Directors (12 minutes)

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Are You Procuring a Meal Service Vendor for the 2020-21 School Year?

Federal Regulation and State Statute allow a maximum of four one-year renewals for meal service contracts. If you will be procuring a new meal service contract for the 2020-21 school year, now is the time to start the procurement process. Schools are required to use Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) bid templates. 

Schools receiving only meals from a vendor must use the Invitation for Bid Vended Meal Contract as the bid document. If your school requires services or staffing in addition to meals you must follow the Procedures and Timelines for Obtaining a New Food Service Management Contract and use the Request for Proposals (RFP) Template – Food Service Management Contract as the bid document.

For additional meal service procurement guidance, see the Procurement and Contracts school nutrition web page.

For assistance with questions or for more information, contact or call 651-582-8526.

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Upcoming Tuesdays @ 2 Webinars

Listed below are the upcoming Tuesdays @ 2 webinar trainings for SNP sponsors:

  • Silver Linings from the Administrative Review (January 21, 2020, at 2 p.m.)
  • Getting the Most from the MDE Website (January 28, 2020, at 2 p.m.)
  • Summer Meal Options for Schools (February 4, 2020, at 2 p.m.)

Learn more and register: Tuesdays @ 2 webinars.

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Opportunities from Our Partners

Renewing the Countryside Farm to School Workshops

Farm to School events will be held in early 2020 in the communities listed below across Minnesota. Events with a hyperlink have a venue confirmed and are open for registration.

Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care sites to strengthen childhood nutrition, community partnerships and local economies.

To learn more and register, visit Renewing the Countryside’s website.

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What You Can Do to Help Prevent Wasted Food Booklet Now Available!

The USDA Team Nutrition initiative is pleased to announce the availability of a slightly revised “What You Can Do to Prevent Wasted Food” booklet for school meal programs. Team Nutrition has updated this publication to include new tips and resource links.

This colorful eight-page resource will help school nutrition professionals, parents, students, teachers, and school administrators to reduce, recover, and recycle food to lessen food waste.

View and download the What You Can Do To Help Prevent Wasted Food booklet.

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