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Just-Announced ‘Turnip the Beet’ Awards Recognize High-Quality Summer Meals

Posted by Veniqua Stewart and Rachel Polon, USDA Food and Nutrition Service in Food and Nutrition
Jun 18, 2019
Brandon Lipps talking to a girl about vegetables they harvested
Brandon Lipps talks to a girl about vegetables they harvested at a farm.

As school years draw to a close and summer breaks begin, USDA is pleased to announce the third annual Turnip the Beet awardees. These awards recognize outstanding summer meal program sponsors who distinguished themselves with high quality meals that are appetizing, appealing, and wholesome.

Summer meals are critical in the lives of millions of America’s youth, who may not have access to nutritious meals when school meals are not available because school is not in session. However, summer meals are not simply about making sure that those in need have food to eat. In fact, summer meal programs, including the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through the NSLP, can positively impact children’s growth and development while also encouraging children to develop healthy habits at a young age. High quality summer meals provide energy day-to-day, and help our young people thrive and return ready to learn in the fall.

Turnip the Beet winners are perfect examples of how the summer meal programs can serve nutritious meals while equipping children and teens with lifelong skills. For example, Kids Unlimited, a gold award winner from Medford, Oregon, offers culinary classes five days per week so participants can learn to cook a variety of foods from scratch. Often, ingredients for the culinary classes come straight from the garden that the participants have planted and harvested!

Successful summer meals programs rely on feedback for continual improvement. Many Turnip the Beet awardees incorporated some type of regular feedback system (taste tests, voting systems, one-on-one discussions with children during meals, etc.) into their Summer Meals Programs. For example, gold-winning, Michigan-based Waterford School District hosted “Two Bite Tuesdays” as well as regular taste tests during which participants would try new recipes, as well as foods from the site’s garden and the local farmers’ market.

Turnip the Beet award winners are summer meal sponsors who are going above and beyond to ensure their meals are both nutritious and appetizing. They showcased their excellence by serving a variety of vegetables and fruits throughout the week; serving whole grains and dairy products; and serving culturally-appropriate meals. Sponsors also conducted taste tests with the children (and incorporated the feedback into the menus); and offered nutrition education activities along with the meals.

A total of 118 sponsors received a bronze, silver or gold award for their efforts in 2018. The 15 gold and 66 silver winners are listed below. To continue encouraging high quality meals and recognizing sponsors’ efforts, USDA plans to host the Turnip the Beet awards again in 2019; information on criteria and nominations will be available later this year.

Congratulations to our 2018 Turnip the Beet winners! Keep up the great work!

Gold Turnip the Beet Awardees:

California- Redlands Unified School District

California- South Bay Union School District (San Diego)

California- Victor Valley Union High School District

Indiana- City of Indianapolis, Department of Parks and Recreation

Michigan- Waterford School District Food & Nutrition Service

Mississippi- Biloxi Public School District

North Dakota- Tri-Valley Migrant Headstart

Oregon- Kids Unlimited

Texas- Hays CISD Child Nutrition

Texas- Laredo ISD

Texas- Leander ISD Summer Meals Program

Texas- Magnolia ISD

Texas- Plano ISD Food & Nutritional Services

Virginia- Staunton County

Wisconsin- Stevens Point Area School District

Silver Turnip the Beet Awardees:

Alabama- Feeding the Gulf Coast: Feel the Beat, Let's Eat

California - Rialto Unified School District

California- Natomas Unified School District

California- San Jacinto Unified School District

Colorado- Alamosa School District Nutrition Department

Colorado- Greeley Evans School District 6 Nutrition Services

Delaware- Christina School District

Delaware- Colonial School District

Florida- Family Worship and Praise Center CDC 1109

Florida- Star of the Sea Foundation

Georgia- Douglas County Schools

Georgia- Floyd County Child Nutrition Department

Georgia- Wayne County School Nutrition

Indiana- Ray Bird Ministries Camp Ray Bird

Indiana- School City of Hammond

Indiana- SON Ministries, INC

Indiana- South Spencer County School Corporation

Indiana- TRIO Upward Bound Summer Academy

Indiana- Wabash Valley Youth for Christ AKA Camp Navigate

Iowa- Council Bluffs Community School District

Iowa- Nevada Community School District

Iowa- Waukee Community School District

Kentucky- Owensboro Public Schools

Louisiana- St. Helena School Parish District

Maine- Eastport Summer Lunch Rocks

Massachusetts- Malden YMCA

Michigan- Bendle Public Schools

Michigan- Essexville Hampton Public Schools

Michigan- Fenton Area Public Schools

Michigan- Food Gatherers

Michigan- Mattawan Consolidated Schools

Michigan- Monroe Family YMCA

Michigan- Montrose Community Schools

Michigan- Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency

Michigan- Paw Paw Public Schools

Michigan- YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

Missouri- Children’s Mercy Kids Eat Free Program

Missouri- New Heights Community Resource Center

Missouri- Saint Louis Public Schools

North Carolina- Brigade Boys and Girls Club

North Carolina- Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University

North Carolina- Carolina's HealthCare System University

North Carolina- GrowthQuest

North Carolina- Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian

North Carolina- Whiteville City Schools

Oregon- Beaverton School District

Pennsylvania- Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster

Pennsylvania- Project Share of Carlisle

Tennessee- Campbell County School District

Tennessee- Morgan County Schools Food & Nutrition

Texas- Austin ISD

Texas- Garland ISD

Texas- Grand Prairie

Texas- Houston ISD Nutrition Services

Texas- Lewisville ISD Child Nutrition Program

Texas- North East ISD

Texas- North Texas Food Bank

Texas- Rio Hondo ISD

Texas- Smithville Independent School District

Texas- Spring ISD

Virginia- Giles County

Washington- Wallingford Boys and Girls Club

Wisconsin- Gundersen Health System

Wisconsin- Montello School District

Wisconsin- Pulaski Area School District

Wisconsin- UW Health Summer Food Service Program

Children harvesting vegetables from a garden
Children harvest vegetables from a garden.
Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition