Go Further with Food for National Nutrition Month

united stated department of agriculture logo

Volume 4, Issue 5, March 6, 2018

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
National Nutrition Month Logo

Happy National Nutrition Month! This year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants us to Go Further with Food! What does that mean? Simply put, make healthy food choices for every occasion. Start your morning off with a wholesome breakfast and make smart food choices throughout the day. Don’t forget about special events like a night out with friends or a family celebration – plan to have healthy options available for you to eat even during those times.

Going further with food could also include, going local! Take the extra step to find the origin of your food and support the local farmers in your community. Spring is near and farmers markets are ready to sell fresh, local foods. Gear up for the spring bounty and find a farmers market near you!

March doesn’t fall short of celebrations!

National School Breakfast week

National School Breakfast Week

From March 5 – 9, schools around the nation celebrate National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) by highlighting the benefits of school breakfast. Schools celebrate this weeklong event with decorations, special menus, and promotional activities. In a 2015 survey conducted by the School Nutrition Association (SNA), 96 percent of SNA members reported that NSBW increases student participation in the School Breakfast Program (SBP). Download the School Breakfast Toolkit and additional marketing resources now!

National CACFP Week

National CACFP Week

In keeping with the celebration, March 11 – 17 is National CACFP Week! Join the National CACFP Sponsors Association in spreading awareness that the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) serves over 4 million children nutritious meals and snacks. The purpose of this weeklong celebration is to highlight the CACFP and its efforts to provide children in child care centers, day care homes, afterschool programs, and adults in day care healthy, wholesome snacks and meals. Download the CACFP Week Celebration and Awareness Toolkit now!

Upcoming Webinars and Conferences

30 on Thirty logo

CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursday

Date: March 15, 2018 @ 2:00pm and 3:00pm for Spanish version

Presented as part of USDA Team Nutrition’s FREE monthly CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays webinar series, this webinar will focus on the option to serve meat and meat alternates in place of grains at breakfast in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Preschool meal patterns. Attendees will have a chance to submit questions to the presenters and check their knowledge through interactive polling questions.

Certificates of participation will be provided for those who attend the entire webinar.

For more information, including recordings of past webinars and dates and topics of future webinars, visit the CACFP Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays webpage.

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USDA Summer Meals Webinars

Summer meals are critical to the health and well-being of our children. Register for the 2018 Summer Meals Webinars to learn more about this important program.

Click on each link to register for the specific webinar that interests you.

National CACFP Conference

Date: April 19 - 21, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas

The National CACFP Conference is a three-day professional education event offering over 130 hours of presentations featuring topics including nutrition, program operations, administration and financial management of CACFP and SFSP food programs, resources and technology, case studies, train the trainer sessions, and management solutions.

National CACFP Sponsors Association Logo

9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

National Farm to Cafeteria Conference Logo

Save the date for the 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference coming to Cincinnati, Ohio, April 25-27, 2018! Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event will convene more than 1,000 diverse stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. 

The Early Bird registration is now open through March 9, 2018. Register today to receive the best rates!

Georgia Organics takes Farm to ECE to the Next Level

On February 3, 2018, the Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative launched a multi-year project to increase farm to early childcare and education (Farm to ECE) practices in Georgia. Through a competitive application process, eighteen early child education providers throughout the state were selected from over 80 applicants to participate in the inaugural partnership. These centers will spend the next year becoming leaders in the farm to ECE movement and kicked off this effort with a full day of action planning sessions, farm to ECE demonstrations, and networking.

Farm to ECE training
Making Kale Pesto

The Georgia Farm to Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative was created in 2017 with support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Georgia Organics, Little One's Learning Center, Quality Care for Children, The Common Market, and Voices for Georgia’s Children formed the multi-year initiative to create proof of concept farm to ECE models that feature hands-on education in nutrition, cooking, gardening, and promotion of local foods at early care centers. Over the next two years, the collaborative will strive to create equitable and replicable farm to ECE strategies that improve the quality of child care programs and increase access to nutritious local food.

Top photo: Gina Cook of Quality Care for Children hid a vegetable in a mystery box to demonstrate hands-on exploration. Cook explained how to encourage children to explore and identify the appearance, smell, and taste of leafy greens using curriculum from USDA’s Grow It, Like It, Try It Nutrition Education Kit.

Bottom photo: Chef Asata Reid demonstrated a simple kale pesto recipe while providing tips and tricks for leading taste tests and cooking with early learners. Providers tested simple cooking tools to engage kids in cooking, such as an inexpensive,  hand-powered food processor and kid-friendly wavy vegetable chopper.