School Nutrition Association has a new resource for members interested in earning positive media coverage for their school meal programs. SNA’s Media Outreach Best Practices Guide offers tips from members of SNA’s Spokesperson Network - school nutrition professionals with extensive experience in media relations. The guide contains ideas for capturing the media’s attention, preparing your cafeteria for a press event and getting the good news out about the healthy, delicious meals you serve.
To read SNA’s Media Outreach Best Practices Guide and other PR resources, including talking points, handouts and more, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/pr.
The US Department of Agriculture has released new guidance regarding Paid Lunch Equity for School Year 2013-2014. The guidance clarifies that state agencies can exempt school meal programs from the paid lunch revenue requirements if they “can demonstrate that the required increase to paid lunch prices or revenue contributions would cause the SFA to exceed the three-month operating balance limit.” The guidance also expands the definition of a non-Federal source of funds to include paid breakfasts. Click here to read the complete guidance memo. SNA is reviewing the guidance and will post further information.
Summer is almost here and USDA along with SNA are working to increase awareness of and participation in the Summer Feeding Program. USDA has updated its website to contain information on how to promote your program with flyers, how tos, and guides to media outreach. It also includes examples of PSAs, soliciting volunteers, success stories from other school districts, and other helpful tools to ensure as many kids as possible have access to healthy meals during the summer months. For operators in rural programs , there is information as well and an index of past webinars . All of the information will help your program better support your students during the lazy, hazy days of summer!
Today, President Obama announced his FY2014 Budget for the federal government which included additional funds supporting nutritional programs. The budget for the Department of Agriculture includes $35 million in grant money for schools to purchase necessary equipment to help meet the new guidelines from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). It also shores up Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) benefits that were set to be cut this November. The next step of the budget process is for Congress to begin debate on the Appropriations Committees before votes in the respective Chambers.
School nutrition directors and schools across the country have been purchasing from regional producers, building school gardens, and even heading out on field trips to the farm, but no comprehensive data exists to validate and document these national trends.
This spring, USDA is conducting a first-of-its-kind nationwide Farm to School Census, surveying over 13,000 school districts to determine how many schools currently purchase local foods. The survey explores which types of local foods schools purchase, what percent of their budget is directed locally, how often they offer local options on the menu, and whether they plan to increase, decrease or maintain local purchasing at current levels. With this kind of market forecasting data in hand, local and regional producers will be better equipped to enter the school food market. Even if you don’t currently purchase any local foods, please complete the survey so USDA has a better sense of what percentage of schools are or aren’t buying locally.
School nutrition directors have until May 3rd to complete the Census. The Farm to School Census is being conducted via SurveyMonkey. For a link to the survey, please contact the Farm to School Census Help Line at (888) 633-8345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s/f2s-census.htm for more information.
April 5, 2013 – During the school year, many children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. But what happens when school lets out? The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need. Now is the time to start planning for an exciting summer! SNA is also looking for success stories to share with our members on creative ways to grow the program to provide healthy meals to kids who might not have access during the summer months. For more information on how to sign up, please visit the USDA website or click here for some other helpful tips!
As you are aware, SNA has submitted comments addressing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed regulations to establish nutrition standards for “competitive” foods and beverages. SNA’s comments are available by clicking here. SNA strongly encourages all members to submit their own comments, affording members the opportunity to model SNA comments, as well as to further delve into the issues that affect you the most.
You can review the steps that SNA took to solicit member comments for inclusion here. In addition, you can review the guiding principles that the SNA Competitive Foods Task Force took into consideration as they took into account the varied needs and views of membership.
To encourage members to submit comments, SNA is also holding a “Competitive Foods Sweepstakes” to encourage SNA members to submit their own comments to USDA sharing insight on how the proposed rule will impact your program. For more information on the sweepstakes, please click here. To submit your own comments to USDA, please visit regulations.gov by April 9, 2013.
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