Happy October, everyone! We hope our readers are settling in to the routine of the new school year, and looking forward to National School Lunch Week 2014! Our round up of healthy September observances was so popular, we have decided to create a regular monthly feature. Incorporating health and wellness-related observances into your school nutrition program is a great opportunity for stakeholder engagement in the community, as well as creative marketing to your students.
October is … National Farm to School Month
Whether you have a robust farm-to-school program, or you want to learn more on how to bring one to your cafeteria, the National Farm to School Network has the resources you need! In addition to sharing great stories on their blog throughout the month of October, the National Farm to School Network has an extensive resource database to help you locate the information you need. You’ll also find a communications toolkit, and logos and posters for download—free!
In addition, you can enter to win a drawing for $1000 by filling out a National Farm to School Network membership form online. The grand prize winner will receive $1000 to spend on farm to school/preschool projects, and five additional winners will be eligible to apply for a free Project Learning Garden™ lesson kit from Captain Planet Foundation valued at $1000. To participate in National Farm to School Month online, make sure to add the hashtag #F2SMonth when posting on Facebook and Twitter!
October is … National Apple Month
National Apple Month provides a perfect marketing opportunity tie-in for school nutrition programs. Whether you are serving apples at breakfast or lunch, marketing National Apple Month can help you educate your customers and create interest around one of our “handiest” fruits! Check out the U.S. Apple Association’s marketing materials for educators to find apple health education programs, information, and resources.
October is … National Chili Month
Just in time for “chilly” temperatures, October is National Chili Month! Chili is a terrific way to deliver healthy foods to kids with lots of flavor, and you can find many recipes that meet the nutrition guidelines online. There are so many amazing variations—from meat to vegetarian—you could serve a different chili every week! If your school is participating in a farm-to-school program, or your students are growing their own garden, chili is the perfect “one pot” meal to feature farm-fresh ingredients.
Other October observances include …
- National School Lunch Week! We love the theme for NSLW 2014, “Get in the Game with School Lunch!” and the celebration is just around the corner—October 13-17. Check out SNA’s National School Lunch Week resources for more information.
- International Walk/Bike to School Day! Held annually on October 8, International Walk/Bike to School Day provides an excellent opportunity to tie in healthy physical activity lessons with your nutrition program.
- National School Bus Safety Week! This year National School Bus Safety Week will be celebrated October 20-24. Sponsored by the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the observance is a terrific opportunity to partner up with your district’s transportation department. In addition to helping the transportation department underscore the important of safety for students, you could also promote any mobile feeding programs that are available to students. No mobile feeding? No problem! You can do all kinds of fun activities, including poster contests, and renaming dishes with cute, safety-inspired names (Buckle-up Banana Smoothies, Red Light Chili, Look Both Ways Lasagna).