The Menu Planning workshop focused on tools and resources to easily swap local items into school menus and how to respond to surprise donations of fresh produce. We reviewed harvest schedules, Harvest of the Month items, and how to find flexibility in your menu planning for each season. Also included was how to interpret information from a farmer (i.e., in what quantities products are sold and how that translates to what you need to purchase), food safety considerations for purchasing local, and how to credit these foods towards the meal pattern requirements.
Workshop Objectives Include:
- Understand how to plan or adjust a menu based on seasonality.
- Develop skills to manage surprise donations, supplier substitutions, or school garden harvests.
- Gain confidence in crediting local items to meet meal pattern requirements.
- Feel confident in purchasing from local suppliers, i.e., in what quantities products are sold and how these amounts translate to the amount to purchase.
- Incorporate Harvest of the Month materials into the school meals program.
Benefits to Menu Planning with Local Foods:
- Expanded menus and menu variation.
- Access to high-quality, locally-produced food.
- Potential for cost-savings.
- Increased participation in your school meal programs.
- Increased satisfaction in school meal programs from the school community - students, parents, and administration.