National CACFP Week

united stated department of agriculture logo

Volume 3, Issue 8, March 14, 2017

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
Kids at a table

March 12 - 18 is National CACFP Week

National CACFP Week was created to increase awareness about the USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program. The CACFP works to combat hunger and provide healthy food options to children in child care centers, home day cares, before and after school programs, summer programs, emergency shelters, and adults in adult day cares. The CACFP provides healthy meals and snacks to over 3 million children and 200,000 adults each day. Read Farm to Preschool: Local Food and Learning in Early Child Care and Education Settings to learn about how local foods can be utilized in the CACFP.

Celebrate by checking out the resources below to explore how you can incorporate local foods and food education in CACFP!

Girls eating lunch

The CACFP meal patterns have been updated, are you ready?

Passage of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 prompted changes to the CACFP meal pattern to align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and School Breakfast Program (SBP). Beginning October 1, 2017, all participating providers of the CACFP are required to follow new meal pattern regulations that improve access to healthy beverages, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and limits intake of added sugar and solid fats. Learn more about the changes to the meal pattern by reading:

What's Cooking

USDA Recipe Standardization Project

What's Cooking: USDA Mixing Bowl is a resource hub for healthy standardized recipes to assist operators of the NSLPSBP, Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and CACFP in meeting new meal pattern requirements that are also kid-friendly. Over 200 recipes will be developed to incorporate whole grains and colorful vegetables. As the new recipes become available, they will be released on the What's Cooking: USDA Mixing Bowl website. The project is scheduled to be complete by the end of April 2017.


Center for Regional Food Systems: Farm to Early Child Care Mini Webinar Series

Introducing healthy foods into a child's life as early as possible creates healthy habits for a lifetime. In celebration of National CACFP Week, learn about how to incorporate local foods into early child care programs by watching the Center for Regional Food Systems' Farm to Early Child Care Mini Webinar Series. This series contains 12 webinars on various topics including strategies for introducing new foods, local procurement, and purchasing from farmers. Each webinar is only 15 minutes! So enjoy in the celebration of bringing healthy, local food to our nation's youngest.

Promising Partnership: Extension and Farm to ECE Webinar

The National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the National Farm to School Network (NFSN) are hosting a webinar to explore how Cooperative Extension Programs can partner with Farm to ECE programs. Register for the webinar and join the discussion on March 14 at 2pm ET. Check out six examples of this partnership on the NFSN blog.

Children playing with animals

National Farm to School Network Tribal Grant

Funding Opportunities

Farm to School Mini-Grants for Native American Schools: The National Farm to School Network is announcing a new grant project: Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School. Five Native schools will receive a mini-grant in the amount of $5,900 to promote and expand farm to school programming.

Photo courtesy of National Farm to School Network

School Breakfast Grant: The Action for Healthy Kids will award 500 schools grants ranging from $500 - $3,000 to increase breakfast participation in the School Breakfast Program in the 2017-2018 school year. Take this survey to find out if you are eligible to apply.

breakfast in the classroom

Photo courtesy of Action for Healthy Kids

Kids running

Game on Grant: The Action for Healthy Kids will award 600 schools grants ranging from $500 - $1,000 to support physical activity and nutrition initiatives in the 2017-2018 school year. Learn more about the Game on Grant and tips for applying.

Photo courtesy of Action for Healthy Kids

Live54218 Partnership Brings Local to the Greater Green Bay Area

Students chopping carrots
Photo courtesy of Live54218

Live54218, a recipient of a 2015 Farm to School Support Service grant, implemented farm to school activities in partnership with eight public school districts and one faith-based school district in the Greater Green Bay Area in Wisconsin. They collaborated with Green Bay Area Public Schools (GBAPSD), the largest and most diverse district in the area, with over 20,000 students and a free and reduced meal participation rate of 60%. The project utilized three key strategies to increase local food procurement in GBAPSD:

  • The launch of a virtual food hub, Farm Link, to automate the financial and administrative aspect of local food transactions;
  • Development of a farmer's cooperative, including a supply chain specific to GBAPSD; and,
  • A focus on building district capacity to process, store, and menu fresh produce.

GBAPSD purchased a Robot Coupe bulk food processor to increase the capacity of the district to procure and process local ingredients. Through the grant, food service leaders from seven school districts in Brown County, Wisconsin joined forces to utilize the bulk processing equipment for a county-wide bulk processing day. In total, there were 2,045 pounds of local carrots and 815 pounds of local onions that were procured, cleaned, prepared, processed, and stored to be used as a soup starter in vegetable and chicken noodle soup recipes. The bulk processing day in October built off of a 2015 "Ratatouille Processing Day" GBAPSD participated in that resulted in the creation of new recipes for pizza sauce, pasta sauce, and soup. Four new recipes were created as a result of the two-day event, in addition to these local items also being incorporated into existing recipes. Check out Live54218's Bulk Processing Day video!