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California Turnip the Beet Award Recipients

An annual listing of the California Turnip the Beet Award winners.

2018 Award Recipients

The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). These schools were recognized for going above and beyond in their Summer Meal Programs (SMP) by offering nutrition education at their summer sites, providing nutritious meals based on local tastes and local foods, and for using innovative marketing strategies to market their meals. This impressive administration of the SMPs is nationally evaluated and awarded based on a wide range of nutrition and meal quality criteria in three levels: gold, silver, and bronze. The winners are:

Gold Turnip the Beet Awardees

  • Redlands Unified School District
  • Victor Valley Union High School District
  • South Bay Union School District

Silver Turnip the Beet Awardees

  • San Jacinto Unified School District
  • Natomas Unified School District
  • Rialto Unified School District

Bronze Turnip the Beet Awardees

  • San Leandro Unified School District

2017 Award Recipients

Gold Turnip the Beet Awardee

Hesperia Unified School District-Seamless Summer Option

The city of Hesperia is a melting pot of culture, race, and ethnicity and the districts summer meals are a wonderful representation of this diversity. The school district used taste tests, surveys and item popularity to determine which foods to serve. As children were eating, staff walked around and asked them what they liked and didn't like, and they also spoke to the parents and received their feedback about food items.

Hesperia Unified promoted nutrition education by using posters and signs that explained healthy meal options, and they used a variety of pictures of fruits and vegetables on their menus. Their summer kickoff event included partnering with a local produce company who came to their meal site and set up an area where children could sample and taste a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Silver Turnip the Beet Awardees

Lakeside Union School District-Seamless Summer Option

As a traditional "All American" town, Lakeside is proud of their cowboy and rodeo heritage. In serving simple, freshly-prepared foods such as roasted chicken, home-baked breads and lots of local fresh fruits and vegetables, they were able to provide meals that were familiar and appealing to the children. Because their staff members are able to share their meals with the students, they are able to encourage children to try new foods, offer nutrition education tips, and provide positive reinforcement for good eating choices.

A big attraction for the children were the weekly cooking classes that were offered as part of the summer enrichment activities at the site.

United Way California Capital Region-Summer Food Service Program

The United Way California Capital Region is also a sponsor of the CACFP and during the spring they formed student tasting committees at CACFP sites. Students had the opportunity to taste test a variety of potential cold entrees, and provide feedback on each item. Their feedback helped the United Way to create their summer meals menu rotation. The United Way also surveyed students at their summer meal sites to get feedback about menu offerings and other aspects of the program. The survey feedback and student tasting committee input helped with the United Way's menu and program development.

The United Way also offered a meal sourced entirely from within California for all of their sites on July 13 to spark conversation with the children to learn more about where their food is coming from.

The California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division congratulates all the 2017 California Turnip the Beet award recipients for their efforts to provide high-quality meals during the summer months.

2016 Award Recipients

2016 winners were honored with the following:

Gold Turnip the Beet Awardee

Lakeside Union School District-Seamless Summer Option

The Lakeside Union School District Summerside Café serves high-quality, kid-friendly menu items and involves parents to help increase participation in summer meals. The school district collaborates with local partners to offer family barbecues, salad bars, and kid-friendly breakfast offerings. Summertime meal services include nutrition education components delivered to children and their families, along with a daily healthy cooking lesson.

Silver Turnip the Beet Awardees

Manteca Unified Nutrition Education-Seamless Summer Option

Manteca Unified Nutrition Education uses community partners, grant resources and existing staff to provide enrichment, health and physical activities at the summer meal locations. Due to the success and increase in meal participation of the daily barbecues, the district will offer additional barbecue sites and enrichment activities for the 2017 SSO.

West Contra Costa Unified School District-Seamless Summer Option

West Contra Costa Unified School District partners with the Contra Costa Food Bank to distribute fresh produce to needy families at more than 10 summer meal sites. They serve 323,577 nutritious summer meals and snacks at 71 sites in low-income neighborhoods. Meal services at their park locations are supported by a mobile kitchen, and children are able to receive hot menu entrees such as green chili tamales, teriyaki chicken and brown rice, chicken and bean sopas, and whole grain rotini bolognese. Meals also include the choice of fresh sides and salads. Quality oriented menus include a greater variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, prepared and offered in numerous ways, and make up over 75 percent of the offerings.

Natomas Unified School District Nutrition Services-Seamless Summer Option

As the second most diverse school district in the nation, Natomas Unified School District Nutrition Services offers nutritious choices that appeal to the community. Throughout the summer they host kick-off events to introduce students to their neighborhood farmers. The farmers hand out produce to families alongside the barbeques and festivities. Partnering with the USDA, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Dairy Council of California, the Center for Ecoliteracy, and local farmers the district is able to provide the community with an opportunity to celebrate summer meals and all that Sacramento’s food growers have to offer.

The California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division congratulates all the 2016 California Turnip the Beet award recipients for their efforts to provide high-quality meals during the summer months.

Program Details

For a complete list of the Turnip the Beet award winners, please visit the USDA Turnip the Beet blog External link opens in new window or tab. post.

For more information regarding program overview and history, who is eligible for an award, and how the nominations are submitted and evaluated, please visit the USDA Summer Food Service Program Turnip the Beet External link opens in new window or tab. website.

Questions:   Summer Meals Unit | sfsp@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-6153
Last Reviewed: Monday, November 18, 2019
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