December 2019 CDE, including the School Nutrition Unit, will be closed Thursday, Dec. 24, and Friday, Dec. 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday; and Wednesday, Jan. 1, in observance of New Year’s Day. January’s edition of The DISH will be sent on Thursday, Jan. 9.
School Nutrition awarded three-year implementation grant
The Colorado Health Foundation awarded CDE's School Nutrition Unit a three-year implementation grant to support School Food Authorities (SFAs) and sponsors in maximizing participation in child nutrition programs using new and innovative methods. Support will include: providing in-person, one-on-one technical assistance across the state; expanding on existing meal quality work through new hands-on culinary training sessions; improving data utilization in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and much more.
This award comes after a year of detailed planning and SFA and sponsor surveying across the state, culminating in a final report based on the needs assessment from School Nutrition. The needs assessment included both the statewide survey and key informant interviews to gain greater insight into the opportunities and barriers to increasing participation in and access to federal child nutrition programs.
The work of the three-year implementation grant, along with continued collaboration with the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, provides the groundwork to ensure these critical feeding programs reach all of Colorado’s students and families.
Apply for the USDA Equipment Assistance Grant in January 2020
Colorado received over $340,000 of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Equipment Assistance Grant funds to distribute through the 2019 fiscal year. Accordingly, SFAs may apply for one piece of equipment on behalf of one high-need school to support the quality of school meals, food safety of meals, overall energy efficiency and increase in access and participation of school meals. The application will be released in January 2020.
An informational webinar will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan.14. The webinar link will be shared in The Dish and posted on the Grants and Awards webpage with the application. Intent to Apply forms are due on Wednesday, Jan. 15, and grant applications are due on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
School Food Authorities are required to complete their first local wellness policy (LWP) triennial assessments by Tuesday, June 30, 2020. These policies are monitored through the Administrative Review. The School Nutrition Unit recommends two resources that are compliant with the assessment requirement:
WellSAT is a quantitative assessment tool to help score and improve LWP and is available year-round.
SmartSource is administered at the state level to assess best practices in school health. Smart Source is offered in the fall of odd-numbered school years.
Update on meal service during unanticipated school closures
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a memo, SP 04-2020, that provides updated guidance on child nutrition program flexibilities available during unanticipated school closures. Sponsors experiencing an unanticipated closure are encouraged to contact McKenna Pullen to identify options to ensure kids continue to have access to healthy meals.
Open nominations for Produce Safety University training
The School Nutrition Unit is seeking nominations for SFAs to attend the 2020 Produce Safety University (PSU) training course. For more information about the training, please visit this website and review the nomination form; nominations are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec.12. When reviewing applicants and selecting nominees, the School Nutrition Unit prioritizes nominees from a variety of district sizes and those that have not attended PSU in the past.
Apply for the 2020 Environmental Education Grants Program
Do you have a creative idea for reducing food waste or teaching students about environmental issues affecting agriculture at school? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking for innovative, locally-focused environmental education projects to fund through the 2020 Environmental Education Grant Program. “This funding will support projects aimed at educating and inspiring the next generation of Americans to tackle pressing environmental challenges like marine litter and food waste,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Read more about the grant here and view the request for application (RFA) here. Applications are due Monday, Jan. 6.
The Center for Green Schools recently hosted two webinars providing information on moving to a zero-waste cafeteria. The November webinar focused on shifting the culture of the cafeteria to reduce waste and the December webinar covered how to implement robust food reuse and recovery programs. To listen to the webinar recordings, visit this webpage and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program resources available
For new ideas on nutrition education for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, check out the posters, infographics and printable handouts created by MyPlate and Team Nutrition. For example, the Food Fact Cards for watermelons, strawberries, bell peppers and tomatoes are colorful, informative cards with fun facts and tips about each produce item. Additional infographics and print materials to help educators are available as well.