Heat up the Summer with the New Farm to Child Nutrition Programs Planning Guide!

united stated department of agriculture logo

Volume 3, Issue 17, July 5, 2017

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems

Plan Your Farm to School Program with the NEW Planning Guide!

The Farm to Child Nutrition Programs Planning Guide directs you through questions to consider when starting or growing a Farm to School, Farm to CACFP, or Farm to Summer program. This planning guide should be used as a supplemental tool to the Farm to School Planning Toolkit. This guide can be updated annually to ensure you are working towards your long-term goals. It follows the same steps as the Farm to School Planning Toolkit, but in a more concise and action-oriented manner. Now is the perfect time to plan your farm to school activities for the next school year!

Farm to Child Nutrition Planning Guide

Trainings, Webinars, and Resources

Life Lab Logo

School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute

When: January 21 - 26, 2018
Where: Santa Cruz, CA

Join over 20 School Garden Support Organization teams from across the nation to strengthen professional development and support for school garden programs in your region.

Apply by July 31, 2017!!

Food Research Action Center Logo

Summer Meals Matter Conference Call: Developing Menus and Serving High-Quality Meals

When: July 6, 2017 at 1:00PM ET

Creating an appealing, high-quality Summer Meal Program menu is important to the success of your program and can draw more children to attend and gain the support of parents. Menus that include variety and healthy food while addressing cultural preferences are important to incorporate into your summer program. Other considerations that come into play as you design your menus are how to budget for the best quality meal and what to do about curbing waste.  Hear from program providers on what they do to develop their summer menus, how they’ve improved quality, and how to get feedback from the children being served at sites.

Register now!

CACFP Meal Pattern Training Tool

CACFP Meal Pattern Training Tools in Spanish

Implement the new Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern with these helpful tools, now in Spanish! On October 1, 2017, the new standards that include a greater variety of vegetables, more whole grains, and less added sugars and saturated fat will go into effect.

Children's Food Security and USDA Child Nutrition Programs

This report presents updated statistics on food insecurity among households with school-age children from the Food Security Supplement to the Current Population Survey for 2014 and 2015. It summarizes recent research on the effects of child nutrition programs on children’s food security and diets and discusses recent developments in nutrition assistance for school-age children.

Economic Research Service Children's Food Security Report

Chicago Kicks Off Summer Spike Event

Boy on smoothie bike
Photo courtesy of AJ Kane

School is out, and the Chicago Summer Food Work Group (CSFWG) kicked off summer with their annual Summer Meals event. The CSFWG was formed more than a decade ago and is a model example of community partners working together to promote and bring awareness to the Summer Food Service Program. Members of the working group include No Kid Hungry-Illinois, Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Hunger Coalition, Catholic Charities, USDA and many other community organizations and government entities. In Illinois, 1 in 5 children do not know where their next meal will come from, and the Summer Meals program helps to ensure Chicago youth are healthy and ready for the next school year.

This year, there was a special focus on farm to summer so the event included locally grown food and fun nutrition activities. One of Chicago’s largest summer sponsors, Greater Chicago Food Depository, worked with summer meals food vendor Gourmet Gorilla, to offer summer meals featuring locally grown produce. At the kick-off event, over 250 children received a summer meal that included a turkey sandwich and a salad with strawberries and locally grown spinach from Springdale Farms in Plymouth, Wisconsin.

In addition to face painting, performances by the Jesse White Tumblers, a special reading by the author of the children’s book “The Rainbow Fish” Marcus Pfister, children also enjoyed nutrition-based activities at the event. This included a smoothie station with a bicycle-powered blender provided by the University of Illinois-Chicago SNAP-Ed program, Dominican University’s “Farmers’ Market and Healthy Eating” stations, and the Illinois Hunger Coalition’s Painting with Vegetables art activity. Seven Generations Ahead (SGA), a USDA Farm to School grantee and National Farm to School Network State Lead for Illinois, promoted their new Harvest of the Month Program. Children who visited the SGA booth participated in the Spinach Run challenge and spinach coloring activity.

young boy eating spinach salad