SPECIAL EDITION: Happy 50th Birthday, CACFP!

united stated department of agriculture logo

Volume 4, Issue 10, May 8, 2018

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
Happy 50th Birthday, CACFP

Happy 50th Birthday, CACFP!

May 8th, 2018 is the 50th anniversary of CACFP’s inception. USDA will be celebrating CACFP all week long and is delighted to join the National CACFP Forum in celebration of this milestone with the CACFP community that makes it all happen. USDA would like to take CACFP’s 50th birthday as a moment to thank and show appreciation for our stakeholders such as sponsoring organizations, child and adult centers, day care homes, and national partners. USDA would like to recognize the outstanding institutions across the nation who work hard to offer high-quality meals that are appetizing, appealing, and nutritious throughout the year. Sign the CACFP Birthday card now!

WIC Nutrition Education

CACFP Meal Service Training Grants

Brandon Lipps, USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS) announced the availability of $5.4 million in training grants to help CACFP providers deliver high-quality meal service at the National Child Nutrition Conference in San Antonio, Texas in April. The grant funding will be utilized to assist State agencies in providing training for CACFP operators on ways to plan and prepare nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, growth, and development of children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Office Announces CACFP Achievement Awards

This year is CACFP’s golden anniversary and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office (MARO) celebrated by awarding exemplary Program operators the CACFP Achievement Award. MARO thanks CACFP Program operators for their integral role in providing numerous benefits to children and adults that come from being fed high-quality, nutritious meals, and mealtime learning experiences. Similar to the Summer Champion Award, State agencies nominated CACFP Program operators based on meeting all program integrity standards as well as one of the following: meal quality, nutrition education, wellness, and farm to CACFP. MARO received a total of eight qualified nominations, four of which had a successful operation that incorporated local food and/or local food education! Winners of the CACFP Achievement Award received a certificate plaque of recognition signed by the MARO Regional Administrator. Read more about the four awardees who were nominated based on their efforts in Farm to CACFP!

Boy eating lettuce wrap with fish

Alphabets Preschool Center in Asbury Park, New Jersey is an excellent example of Farm to CACFP! Their chef sources local food, including local fish from the New Jersey shore and vegetables from their school garden. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture's Farm to School Program Coordinator has visited on several occasions and watched students tend the school garden, artfully located around the building. Not only are the vegetables used for school meals, the chef also incorporates them in taste tests for the students. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture hosted a Farm to School Summit on March 14 and featured the chef from Alphabets Preschool Center. Additionally, Alphabets Preschool Center hosted a MARO School Nutrition Program Director during a CACFP Week site visit, where the chef featured locally grown produce and fish in lettuce wraps.

Kids eating healthy lunch

CentroNia Child Care Center in Takoma Park, Maryland, has a strong commitment to food and wellness. For more than ten years, CentroNia Child Care Center has worked on an Eat Healthy, Live Healthy campaign, which is a holistic nutrition education program that seeks to engage and educate children, parents, teachers, and directors. The Food and Wellness Department at CentroNia consists of seven staff who cater to three child care centers. Their menus meet CACFP requirements and they also cook everything from scratch using the USDA’s standardized recipes. Thirty percent of the food they serve is from local farms, and at least one local food is served each day on their menu. They partner with several organizations such as the Wide Net Project for their fish, Lyon Bakery for their grains, and Kilmer’s Farm Market for their chicken and produce. They have seasonal menus and serve meals such as chicken stir fry, quinoa and barley, and garlic shrimp and chicken fajitas.

In addition to their meals, they offer nutrition education and wellness workshops for parents, staff, and community members. Breakfast in Jars and Salad in Jars are their most popular workshops. They also partner with other programs to enhance nutrition and physical activity, such as Yoga Pretzels and Mindful Kids workshops. CentroNia not only follows CACFP program requirements, but they are committed to continually improving the quality of their meals, nutrition education, and wellness activities for children and parents at the center.

Cranberry rice with vegetables

Colonial School District, led by Nutrition Supervisor Paula Angelucci, joined the CACFP At-Risk Program in the 2015 – 2016 school year. At the start of the program, they served meals to 12 sites in district schools. Now they serve meals at 15 locations, which include some community sites. Colonial School District is committed to ensuring that children have access to nutritious meals during the school day, after school, and during the summer months. In the 2016 – 2017 school year, they served over 54,000 At-Risk meals! In 2015, Paula and her team received a Farm to School grant which allowed them to hire a Farm Manager and work in collaboration with a historic farm located on the grounds of William Penn High School. The crops that are harvested from the farm are used in all of the meals they produce, including the CACFP At-Risk meals.

Root vegetables

Beginnings and Beyond has two locations in Dover, Delaware. Their commitment to providing homemade, nutritious meals to children is supported by their efforts to include nutrition education and farm to CACFP in their program. Each month, they conduct a “Food Exploration,” in which they select a local fruit or vegetable, and teach children about its different forms, how it's grown, harvested, and eaten. They prepare a recipe for the children to taste test and they also send home a certificate to inform families about what their children learned. The center has received positive feedback and has learned the children ask for the local food items they tried at school, at home. The center’s owner, Danielle, shares,“We are hosting a Lil Chef’s Parent-Child Event Night where the parents can come and cook with their children. We will have resources and teaching materials for parents to learn about healthy choices for their children, the benefits of sit down meals, and learning about homemade baby food purees.”

In addition to “Food Exploration” and Lil Chef’s Parent-Child Event Night, Beginnings and Beyond have raised garden beds at one of their locations where children are involved in the planting and harvesting of the garden. The harvested food is used in recipes for their menus, taste tests, and to share with families. 

CACFP Resources

CACFP provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons. Check out the resources below to create meals participants will enjoy:  

·  Adult Day Care Fact Sheets

·  Adult Day Care Resource Manual

·  And Justice for All Poster

·  Building Blocks for Fun and Healthy Meals

·  Building for the Future Pamphlet (en español)

·  Building for the Future Poster (en español)

·  CACFP Promotional Flyer

·  Care Connection

·  Cookbook for Child Care Centers

·  Cookbook for Homes

·  Farm to Preschool: Local Food and Learning in Early Childcare and Education Settings

·  Feeding Infants: A Guide for Use in the Child Nutrition Programs

·  Financial Management Instruction

·  Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs

·  Grow It! Try It! Like It!

·  Keeping Kids Safe

·  Local Foods in CACFP Policy Memo

·  Mealtime Memo for Child Care(en español)

·  Maximizing the Message: Helping Moms and Kids Make Healthier Choices

·  MyPlate Resources

·  Nibbles for Health

·  Nutrition and Wellness Tips for Young Children: Provider Handbook

·  Recipes for Childcare

·  The Two Bite Club