Tuesday Morning - April 26, 2022

1 big thing: USDA state-by-state waiver requests

Lunch Line

What’s new: On a USDA-hosted webinar for state agencies, the USDA announced that after taking into consideration top priorities shared by state agencies and program operators, it has identified options for a path forward for the transition back to normal operations this summer when pandemic-related waivers expire

Go deeper: Even though the USDA does not have nationwide waiver authority, states and sponsors can still submit individual waiver requests, as needed, through USDA’s 12(l) authority, using the process described in SP 15-2018 CACFP 12-2018 SFSP 05-2018, Child Nutrition Program Waiver Request Guidance and Protocol- Revised , May 24, 2018. 

  • USDA has developed a streamlined approach through which state agencies will be able to request all the available waivers through one combined waiver request.  

💡 What’s next: State agencies can download a USDA-approved waiver application template to expedite the review and approval process. 

If a state agency wishes to request waiving a regulation that is not included in the checklist, you must submit those requests separately. Waivers not included in the checklist are considered novel and not included in this streamlined process. 

2. USDA Foods available list for SY2022-23

Foods

What’s new: USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has provided a list of the USDA Foods that are available or expected to be made available for schools in SY2022-23. 

Go deeper: In addition, the “ List of Materials Report” provides an estimated price per pound, per case and per truck for all USDA Foods items available in SY2022-23. This information can be used by states and school districts to estimate the entitlement value of USDA Foods’ orders placed for the upcoming school year. 

Read more about USDA Foods in Schools.  

3. Comment request: Uniform Grant Application Package for Discretionary Grant Programs

USDA Request for Comment

What’s new: USDA FNS has posted a comment request for a revision to a currently approved information collection related to the Uniform Grant Application Package for Discretionary Grant Programs.  

Why it matters: The purpose of the uniform grant application package for discretionary grant programs is to provide a standardized format for the development of all requests for applications for discretionary grant programs released by FNS and to allow for a more expeditious Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance process. 

Go deeper: This revision also encompasses the submission of associated state plan information and the use of program-specific forms, including but not limited to, form FNS-887 Farm to School Coversheet, the Farm to School Baseline Report, and Farm to School Final Report. 

The bottom line: Comments may be submitted through regulations.gov or submitted via email to greg.walton@usda.gov by June 21, 2022. 

 

4. U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and USDA officials visit Delaware high school

Del. Visit
U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester; Stacey Dean, Deputy Under Secretary FNCS; Mae Wu, Deputy Under Secretary MRP and Jeanette Latchford, Colonial Nutrition Services Manager, showcasing the salad of the day (Strawberry Cobb Salad) with fresh spinach from the school's Farm to School program.

During National Nutrition Month, William Penn High School in New Castle, Delaware hosted a visit with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and USDA officials.

Big picture: During their visit they toured the high school’s greenhouse and learned about the farm to school program, which was developed with support from two USDA Farm to School grants. They also discussed school nutrition waivers that are set to expire in June. This successful event gave Rep. Blunt and USDA officials the opportunity to see school nutrition programs in action.  

Greenhouse

A tour of the William Penn High School Greenhouse

Why it matters: Advocacy and engagement with elected officials on the federal, as well as on the state and local level, is essential to ensure a strong voice for school nutrition. It is important, particularly during pivotal moments of the legislative process, to have relationships in place to effectively deliver a message on a policy issue. Paula Angelucci, Colonial District Nutrition Services Supervisor, shared the steps they have taken to ensure a well-established relationship of collaboration with Members of Congress and government officials.  

  1. Don’t assume that others understand your program. There are always new people in new positions and they are not always familiar with child nutrition and its importance. SNA members can educate and inform them on the impact of policies being proposed before they become law. 

  2. Tell your story and do not be afraid to express your needs

  3. Visit your Representative or Senator’s district office. After attending SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC) and meeting with her Members of Congress, Paula looked for opportunities to strengthen her advocacy relationship with them. She started meeting with staffers regularly in the district office and developed a relationship with them as well. In critical moments during the pandemic or when legislation is being considered it is much easier to connect with these offices. 

  4. Always be prepared. SNA’s Advocacy Tools provides data, information and helpful tips to share at meetings and site visits. Check out SNA’s Cafeteria Site Visit Toolkit for step-by-step guidance for arranging your own onsite visit with your legislators. 

  5. Always follow up and keep in touch. 

5. State legislative update

Map of US

🔎Let’s look at the latest state updates…

Illinois State Senator Ram Villivalam introduced legislation that would require schools to offer halal food options by request. This measure also details requirements regarding the provision of halal food in public schools. 

Massachusetts State Representative Andy Vargas introduced a bill that would extend universal school meals for another year. This measure was referred to the Joint Committee on Education. In the FY2023 Budget, the House included $110 million dollars to extend school meals for another year. If this budget passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, public school students will continue to receive free breakfast and lunch through the summer of 2023. 

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