Team Nutrition Helps Grow Farm to School
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will provide nutrition education and gardening activities at 40 child care centers and family child care homes using Team Nutrition’s Grow It, Try It, Like It! materials. Child care providers will also receive training on planning meals to meet the updated Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern requirements and including more Missouri-grown fruits and vegetables. Participants will receive technical assistance and sub-grants to assist with taste testing activities, family engagement and nutrition education and will also have the opportunity to participate in the Culinary Skills Institute that will provide hands-on learning experiences with menu planning and food preparation to enhance child care providers’ abilities to implement the updated CACFP meal pattern requirements with local foods.
The Virginia Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition Programs (VDOE SNP) will use their grant to support “Cultivating a Healthy School Environment: Nourish and Flourish through Training and Technical Assistance” focusing on: 1) appealing and nutritious school meals, 2) nutrition education, and 3) school environments that promote healthy eating. Eight garden-themed regional workshops for school nutrition professionals and will be conducted using peer-mentors (Cultivators) and subject matter experts (Tillers) to focus on culinary skills with farm fresh produce. Participants will also learn how to implement Team Nutrition’s Dig In! and The Great Garden Detective Adventure lessons. Participants in pilot workshops have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the approach, calling the pilot training the “best workshop in 10 years!”
Other states using 2017 Team Nutrition Grant Funding to support farm to school and ECE efforts include Montana, Rhode Island and Iowa. The Montana Office of Public Instruction will expand connections between school and local farmers in order to promote student consumption of ten Harvest of the Month Montana-grown products in the school cafeteria. The Rhode Island Department of Education will provide nutrition education in the child care setting using Team Nutrition’s Grow It, Try It, Like It! materials. They will train child care providers to prepare meals that meet the updated Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal pattern requirements and utilize Rhode Island-grown products in the meals and plan to collaborate with community nutrition partners to host events that provide recipes and cooking demonstrations for parents, caregivers and the community. Iowa Department of Education will support and improve healthy child care environments by delivering training to 30 child care centers and approximately 400 family day care homes on updated Child and Adult Care Food Program meal pattern requirements and ways to incorporate locally-grown foods on menus. They will also use Team Nutrition’s Grow It, Try It, Like It! nutrition education kit to encourage children to try new foods and grow healthy habits from the start.
Team Nutrition Training Grants offer valuable opportunity to expand and institutionalize farm to school and ECE into state training and outreach. Learn more about USDA’s Team Nutrition initiative and the innovative resources and opportunities the program offers here. We congratulate these awardees and look forward to watching farm to school and ECE flourish thanks to Team Nutrition Grants and the great work and innovation of these state agencies.