Provided by USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Region announced the award of a $982,827 grant to Virginia Department of Education, which administers the National School Lunch Program in the Commonwealth. The grant, formally known as FNS’s “Team Nutrition Training Grant for School Nutrition Professional Readiness and Retention,” will help allow the Virginia Department of Education to build and retain a strong school nutrition workforce and implement transitional meal pattern standards during the upcoming school year. The Commonwealth will award sub-grants to local school food authorities to support menu changes needed to meet National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program meal patterns and offer freshly prepared, local, and culturally inclusive school meals.
“Nutritious school meals help America’s children learn, grow, and stay healthy,” said FNS Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Dr. Patty Bennett. “School nutrition professionals in Virginia have made incredible strides in strengthening the school meals programs over the past 10 years and USDA is committed to supporting them in this effort.”
“Virginia Department of Education is pleased to use these grant funds to provide a comprehensive school meals training program for approximately 150 school nutrition directors and over 2,000 frontline cafeteria managers as well as sub-grants for our school food authorities across the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Department of Education Director of School Nutrition Programs, Dr. Sandra Curwood.
“School meals are a proven approach to improving nutrition security. Research shows they are the most nutritious foods most children receive in the day,” said FNS Administrator Cindy Long. “USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration are committed to prioritizing nutrition security – consistent access to healthy, affordable foods and beverages that promote good health. While it’s not easy to alter eating habits and schools face hurdles to improving nutrition, the future payoffs of even incremental changes are extraordinary, and schools have shown that it is possible when we work together.”
Virginia’s Department of Education is one of eight state agencies around the nation to receive funds from this year’s USDA Team Nutrition Training Grants, which totaled approximately $7.1 million. The other awardees are the Departments of Education from Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota and the Offices of Public Instruction from Montana, North Dakota, and Washington.
Team Nutrition Training Grants have been a part of the Team Nutrition initiative since its inception in 1995. The Team Nutrition initiative supports FNS’s Child Nutrition Programs through training and technical assistance for foodservice, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and activities to build healthy school and childcare environments.