The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced the winners of the Turnip the Beet award for summer 2022.

A grand total of ninety-eight sponsors qualified for either a gold, silver or bronze Turnip the Beet Award. Ankeny and Waukee Community School Districts received gold awards, and Storm Lake Community School District received a silver award.

This award recognizes sponsors within the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO) that go above and beyond program requirements to serve high-quality meals to children during the summer months.

Ankeny CSD featured Chef Joe on-site cutting whole watermelons into wedges for service and sampling test recipes such as Fiesta Salad. The district also operated a “Try it Thursday” program with Dietitian Susan on-site to hand out samples along with having an activity related to the fruit or vegetable highlighted that day.

Storm Lake CSD offered a fruit and vegetable bar stocked daily with fresh and appealing choices in a rainbow of colors. Site activities included cooking, ping pong, Legos, coloring, reading and more.

Waukee CSD’s summer program included providing locally sourced snap peas and yogurt, and also locally-grown microgreens as an accompaniment to turkey sandwiches. The district branded their program as “Picnic and Play”, offering educational programming in conjunction with community partners - such as safety taught by their local police and fire departments, Iowa State athletic teams visiting sites to play volleyball, basketball and soccer and Farm to Summer activities such as seed planting.

Applications are evaluated on criteria around the provision of age and culturally appropriate meals, promotion of healthy foods, incorporation of nutrition-based activities and receiving feedback from participants. Menus are also evaluated for inclusion of local foods, utilization of fresh fruits and vegetables, providing vegetables from the vegetable sub-groups and incorporating whole grain items and more.

For more information visit the Turnip the Beet website.

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