FNS Blog: Just Announced ‘Turnip the Beet’ Awards Recognize High-Quality Summer Meals
 

Brandon Lipps talking to a girl about vegetables they harvested

Brandon Lipps talks to a girl about vegetables they harvested at a farm.

 

By Veniqua Stewart and Rachel Polon
USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Summer meals are critical in the lives of millions of America’s youth, who may not have access to nutritious meals when school meals are not available because school is not in session. However, summer meals are not simply about making sure that those in need have food to eat. In fact, summer meal programs, including the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through the NSLP, can positively impact children’s growth and development while also encouraging children to develop healthy habits at a young age. High quality summer meals provide energy day-to-day, and help our young people thrive and return ready to learn in the fall.

Turnip the Beet winners are perfect examples of how the summer meal programs can serve nutritious meals while equipping children and teens with lifelong skills. For example, Kids Unlimited, a gold award winner from Medford, Oregon, offers culinary classes five days per week so participants can learn to cook a variety of foods from scratch. Often, ingredients for the culinary classes come straight from the garden that the participants have planted and harvested!

Successful summer meals programs rely on feedback for continual improvement. Many Turnip the Beet awardees incorporated some type of regular feedback system (taste tests, voting systems, one-on-one discussions with children during meals, etc.) into their Summer Meals Programs. For example, gold-winning, Michigan-based Waterford School District hosted “Two Bite Tuesdays” as well as regular taste tests during which participants would try new recipes, as well as foods from the site’s garden and the local farmers’ market.

Turnip the Beet award winners are summer meal sponsors who are going above and beyond to ensure their meals are both nutritious and appetizing. They showcased their excellence by serving a variety of vegetables and fruits throughout the week; serving whole grains and dairy products; and serving culturally-appropriate meals. Sponsors also conducted taste tests with the children (and incorporated the feedback into the menus); and offered nutrition education activities along with the meals.

A total of 118 sponsors received a bronze, silver or gold award for their efforts in 2018. The 15 gold and 66 silver winners are listed below. To continue encouraging high quality meals and recognizing sponsors’ efforts, USDA plans to host the Turnip the Beet awards again in 2019; information on criteria and nominations will be available later this year.

Congratulations to our 2018 Turnip the Beet winners! Keep up the great work!

Gold Turnip the Beet Awardees:

California- Redlands Unified School District
California- South Bay Unified School District
California- Victor Valley Union High School District
Indiana- City of Indianapolis, Department of Parks and Recreation|
Michigan- Waterford School District Food & Nutrition Service
Mississippi- Biloxi Public School District
North Dakota- Tri-Valley Migrant Headstart
 
Oregon- Kids Unlimited
Texas- Hays CISD Child Nutrition
Texas- Laredo ISD
Texas- Leander ISD Summer Meals Program
Texas- Magnolia ISD
Texas- Plano ISD Food & Nutritional Services
Virginia- Staunton County
Wisconsin- Stevens Point Area School District

 

Silver Turnip the Beet Awardees:

Alabama- Feeding the Gulf Coast: Feel the Beat, Let's Eat
California - Rialto Unified School District
California- Natomas Unified School District
California- San Jacinto Unified School District
Colorado- Alamosa School District Nutrition Department
Colorado- Greeley Evans School District 6 Nutrition Services
Delaware- Christina School District
Delaware- Colonial School District
Florida- Family Worship and Praise Center CDC 1109
Florida- Star of the Sea Foundation
Georgia- Douglas County Schools
Georgia- Floyd County Child Nutrition Department
Georgia- Wayne County School Nutrition
Indiana- Ray Bird Ministries Camp Ray Bird
Indiana- School City of Hammond
Indiana- SON Ministries, Inc.
Indiana- South Spencer County School Corporation
Indiana- TRIO Upward Bound Summer Academy
Indiana- Wabash Valley Youth for Christ AKA Camp Navigate
Iowa- Council Bluffs Community School District
Iowa- Nevada Community School District
Iowa- Waukee Community School District
Kentucky- Owensboro Public Schools
Louisiana- St. Helena School Parish District
Maine- Eastport Summer Lunch Rocks
Massachusetts- Malden YMCA
Michigan- Bendle Public Schools
Michigan- Essexville Hampton Public Schools
Michigan- Fenton Area Public Schools
Michigan- Food Gatherers
Michigan- Mattawan Consolidated Schools
Michigan- Monroe Family YMCA
Michigan- Montrose Community Schools
Michigan- Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency
Michigan- Paw Paw Public Schools
Michigan- YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids
Missouri- Children’s Mercy Kids Eat Free Program
Missouri- New Heights Community Resource Center
Missouri- Saint Louis Public Schools
North Carolina- Brigade Boys and Girls Club
North Carolina- Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University
North Carolina- Carolina's HealthCare System University
North Carolina- GrowthQuest
North Carolina- Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian
North Carolina- Whiteville City Schools
Oregon- Beaverton School District
Pennsylvania- Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster
Pennsylvania- Project Share of Carlisle
Tennessee- Campbell County School District
Tennessee- Morgan County Schools Food & Nutrition
Texas- Austin ISD
Texas- Garland ISD
Texas- Grand Prairie
Texas- Houston ISD Nutrition Services
Texas- Lewisville ISD Child Nutrition Program
Texas- North East ISD
Texas- North Texas Food Bank
Texas- Rio Hondo ISD
Texas- Smithville Independent School District
Texas- Spring ISD
Virginia- Giles County
Washington- Wallingford Boys and Girls Club
Wisconsin- Gundersen Health System
Wisconsin- Montello School District
Wisconsin- Pulaski Area School District
Wisconsin- UW Health Summer Food Service Program

 

 

Children harvesting vegetables from a garden

Children harvest vegetables from a garden.