On Oct. 16, 2020, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced the award of over $4.1 million in fiscal year (FY) 2021 Team Nutrition Training Grants to state agencies that administer the National School Lunch Program. These grants are assisting states in helping schools offer meals supported by recipes that utilize local agricultural products and reflect local food preparation practices and taste preferences.
On Aug. 16, 2021, FNS announced the additional award of approximately $1.4 million in FY 2021 Team Nutrition Training Grants for School Meal Recipe Development to six state agencies that administer the School Breakfast Program and/or National School Lunch Program (i.e., Cohort B). This marks a total of approximately $5.5 million awarded to 21 state agencies in FY 2021.
For more information, please contact TeamNutrition@USDA.gov.
Recipients of the FY 2021 Team Nutrition Training Grants for School Meal Recipe Development, Cohort A:
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) will develop four standardized recipes featuring traditional Native American foods including white Sonora wheat, blue corn, tepary beans and Hopi winter squash. The USDA recipe standardization process will be used in recipe development, along with state-developed recipe preparation and nutrition education toolkits. At least four schools will serve the recipes as part of school meals in conjunction with local farmer visits.
The California Department of Education (CDE) will conduct a Taste of California (CA) Standardized Recipe Challenge designed to engage regional school nutrition leadership in the development of school meal recipes using local foods. Up to 24 standardized recipes will be developed to meet the diversity of students’ taste expectations across California, reflecting cultural cuisine from the states’ Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Indian, West African, Turkish and Middle Eastern communities. Locally grown products will be featured in the recipes including almonds, grapes, cauliflower, dates, avocados and lamb. Twenty school districts will receive training and complete the Taste of CA Challenge. An additional four school districts will be identified as Taste of CA Ambassadors, who will support the Taste of CA’s regional trainings and technical assistance, recipe standardization and verification and development of statewide resources.
The Georgia Department of Education’s School Nutrition Program (GaDOE SNP) will build on the success of its existing Student Chef Competition to create six standardized recipes for school meals that represent Georgia’s food preparation and taste preferences. Students will use local agricultural products such as mustard greens, blueberries and Vidalia onions to create and test the recipes and GaDOE SNP will standardize the winning recipes. Once standardized, the recipes will be prepared and tested again at several regional school nutrition manager trainings before a final round of student taste tests are conducted.
Additionally, virtual nutrition education focused on the local agricultural products will be made available to all students. An evaluation of the effect of the nutrition education activities will be conducted to assess student nutrition knowledge and willingness to try the new recipes.
The Guam Department of Education (GDOE) will use grant funds to support the development of nutritious school meal recipes that incorporate locally grown produce and appeal to students’ taste preferences. The GDOE will use the USDA recipe standardization process to develop five entrée recipes, which will include the local agricultural products of breadfruit, bok choy, coconut, cucumber and taro. Three elementary schools and one high school will be part of the recipe development process. During this process, at least 100 students will be surveyed for recipe ideas and will taste-test recipes as part of their school meals. Key activities for the recipe development process will include conducting student taste tests and a student school meals culinary arts contest to enhance the presentation and overall appeal of the recipe. A Nutrition Education Coordinator will collaborate with local farmers to provide in-person and online presentations, educating approximately 3,000 students about the benefits of eating locally grown fruits and vegetables. The GDOE will develop local recipe cards and nutrition education resources for all districts that participate in the USDA school meals programs, reaching approximately 31,547 school-age children.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will build its capacity to standardize recipes while incorporating local agricultural products and engaging students and the school community in nutrition education and the recipe development process. The ISBE’s approach to developing and standardizing recipes will be comprised of four initiatives:
- School Meal Recipe Development Sub-Grants to School Food Authorities (SFAs);
- Training and Nutrition Education;
- Taste-Testing and Recipe Standardization; and
- Recipe Promotion, Marketing and Resources.
Recipes will focus on locally produced vegetables such as pumpkin, corn, lima beans, green peas, asparagus, green beans and cauliflower. The ISBE will encourage SFAs to incorporate the unique food practices found in their geographic area when developing recipes.
The Iowa Department of Education (DOE) will develop 12 standardized recipes featuring Iowa agricultural products including apples, beef, carrots, chicken, cucumbers, cabbage, dairy, eggs, green beans, leafy greens, melons, potatoes, sweet peppers, pork, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and zucchini.
Statewide recipe development strategies will include:
- Utilization of Consumer Sciences Programs;
- Verification, taste-testing, evaluation and quantity adjustment of the recipes for school nutrition programs;
- Regional culinary school nutrition trainings and demonstration videos;
- Development of a Local Food Procurement Guide; and
- Nutrition education resources to promote the purchase and awareness of local agricultural products.
Approximately 423 schools in Iowa have a Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) program and each of these schools will be invited to compete in a recipe competition. The schools that submit the top 12 recipes from the competition will complete the USDA recipe standardization process as part of this grant.
The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) will conduct a recipe challenge where students will work with a team consisting of school nutrition professionals, a local farmer/producer and a Family and Consumer Sciences educator to develop recipes. In addition, crediting information and the feasibility of serving the recipes within the School Nutrition Programs will be assessed during recipe development and standardization. To further promote recognition of local food products and promotion of Farm to Plate, the KSDE will develop six “virtual farm tours” that will be available to all schools for use in the classroom. Local farmers from six recipe challenge teams will be asked to conduct a virtual tour of their farm explaining how food is grown, raised, or produced at their facility, with opportunities for the farmer to interact with students and answer questions. The virtual tours will be presented via livestream to the schools that participate in recipe testing.
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will partner with the Montague Area Public Schools (MAPS), Whitehall District Schools (WDS) and the regional Career Tech Center (CTC) in Muskegon, Michigan to:
- Develop and implement model trainings to build statewide capacity among school nutrition professionals to standardize recipes; and
- Develop a model for engaging students in the standardized recipe development process.
Through a process established by the CTC’s Hospitality and Food Management (H&FM) program, high school students will select three recipes to develop, taste-test and standardize at an elementary, middle and high school in the MAPS and WDS districts. All recipes will feature Michigan-grown agricultural products such as asparagus, squash, turnips, celery and apples. Two of the recipes will highlight products that play a significant role in Michigan’s agricultural economy and the third will highlight a recipe from the African American community.
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will build statewide capacity and infrastructure to develop, standardize, prepare and test menu recipes for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program (School Nutrition Programs). The School Nutrition Programs will:
- Develop new online standardized recipe resources;
- Coordinate the development of three entrée and three side dish recipes;
- Engage students and the school community; and
- Provide nutrition education opportunities to six elementary schools.
Recipes will feature local agricultural products including squash, beets, carrots, fresh greens and other foods.
Coordination will occur with multiple statewide partners for each of the activities. The Minnesota School Nutrition Association will play a key role in the recipe submission process from school nutrition professionals across the state. To ensure sustainability, all recipes and resources developed will be available on the MDE website in addition to the Institute of Child Nutrition’s (ICN) Child Nutrition State Sharing Site (CNSS) providing ongoing resources for child school nutrition professionals.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) will develop and evaluate six standardized recipes for their school meal programs using ingredients from foods produced in Montana including barley, beets, bison, chokecherries, sweet cherries, lentils and winter squash. Students and school staff will be actively engaged in recipe development and testing through a statewide Harvesting Montana Recipes contest. Student and community engagement will be ensured through a sub-grant program awarding six school districts funds to support student taste testing, nutrition education and meal service for one recipe. To ensure a collaborative approach is followed, school nutrition staff, educators, parents, students, farmers and community members will participate throughout the process.
The Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) will expand resources for the Nebraska Thursdays Farm to School (F2S) initiative by empowering schools to develop and test their own standardized recipes featuring Nebraska’s local foods. The NDE will develop a train-the-trainer program to provide training, mentoring and technical assistance to schools across Nebraska on standardized recipes. Nebraska will develop and standardize at least 10 entrée and 10 side dish recipes using agricultural products from Nebraska including beef, bison, turnips, dry beans, aronia berries and apples. The NDE will partner with the University of Nebraska Methodology and Evaluation Research Core (MERC) to develop training evaluations and instruction manuals for conducting a school-based recipe review and taste testing events to measure the programming impact.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will award ten school districts with sub-grants to participate in recipe development of at least five recipes featuring Pennsylvania agricultural products including asparagus, beets, cabbage, mushrooms and winter squash. Schools awarded sub-grants will propose plans for recipe development that engage students in the process and results in recipes that reflect cultural or regional preferences or preparation methods. A chef will provide one-on-one consultation to schools throughout the recipe development process. Following recipe development, school nutrition professionals will participate in hands-on culinary training to learn how to prepare the recipes. Each recipe will be prepared and served in at least one school in connection with nutrition education. An online recipe standardization training module will be developed for state agency staff.
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will expand its Virginia Harvest of the Month (VA HOM) program by developing additional recipes for all grade levels. The VDOE will build a recipe development team consisting of four VDOE Office of School Nutrition Programs (VDOE-SNP) staff members, a contracted culinary expert and school nutrition professionals from four regionally-diverse school divisions within the Commonwealth. The recipe development team will oversee the development, testing and standardization of eight new recipes (four breakfast and four lunch) featuring foods grown in Virginia including sweet potatoes, butternut squash, kale, lettuce, strawberries, zucchini, apples and spinach. Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom will develop lesson plans targeting secondary students for each local agricultural product featured in the new recipes. Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) agents will implement the nutrition lessons at one or more schools in each of the four participating divisions.
The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will award sub-grants to five Local Education Agencies (LEAs), including one tribal school, to standardize 25 recipes featuring Washington agricultural products, including salmon, shellfish, game meats, lamb, apples, root vegetables, berries, dairy products and whole grains. These recipes will target the culturally diverse populations of Washington, including Native American cultures, vegetarian diets and the unique flavors of Pacific Northwest cuisine. The Washington OSPI school meals team will support the nutrient analysis and crediting of the recipes developed. All standardized recipes will be incorporated into Washington’s scratch cooking recipe book. These recipes will be promoted through annual training provided by the Washington OSPI to school nutrition professionals. A recipe standardization workshop will share the recipes and recipe standardization best practices with LEAs from across Washington state.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will standardize five school meal recipes featuring Wisconsin agricultural products, including dairy, potatoes, apples, winter squash, carrots and broccoli. The Wisconsin DPI will engage students and the school community in the process of developing the recipes through the Whipping Up Wellness Wisconsin Student Chef Competition. AmeriCorps Farm to School (F2S) sites will conduct recipe taste tests and serve the recipes as part of a school meal.