National School Lunch Week/National Farm to
School Month campaign
For this year’s National School Lunch Week (NSLW), Texas schools took students on a “Texas-Size Taste Tour.” In recognition of this theme and celebrating October as National Farm to School Month, TDA launched the inaugural Local Products Challenge and called on schools to use more Texas products in meals served during NSLW. All participating schools received special recognition from TDA and schools that incorporated an average of three or more local items per day will be awarded the Golden Grapefruit Award at an upcoming event.
To help schools plan successful NSLW celebrations, TDA developed two cafeteria posters series, each with three posters: one for elementary campuses and one for middle/high school campuses and an online toolkit including a parent flier, daily morning announcement scripts and daily suggested student activities. To assist schools with planning a NSLW menu featuring Texas products, TDA developed a suggested menu and template that schools could use to publicize October menus and indicate items that included Texas ingredients. The toolkit provided schools with resources needed to plan menus featuring Texas products each day and educate students and parents about school lunch and Texas agriculture.
The inaugural challenge was well received, with 36 public school districts and 1 charter school participating, representing more than 1,100 school campuses. Data is currently being collected to determine how much challenge participants spent on local products served during NSLW. Additionally, success stories from NSLW celebrations are rolling in! Select spotlight stories are currently posted online at www.SquareMeals.org/NSLW.
Alyssa Herold, Texas Department of Agriculture and State Lead for the National Farm to School Network.