Documentation: Four weekly menus from the past year, one from each season. Please circle or highlight the local foods or dishes with locally grown ingredients on the menu.
Best Practice Requirements: These menus should show that the program:
- Serves four or more of the following types of local foods: fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, dairy products, and/or protein foods (meat, fish, eggs, or other meat alternatives)
- Serves local foods one time per week or more over the course of the year
- Identifies local foods on menus to inform families
Application: On the application, you will describe which of the items on the menu are locally grown or which dishes contain locally grown ingredients.
What counts as local? REACH uses the Go NAPSACC definition. Local foods may be grown in your state or, if you are close to a border, a neighboring state. Local foods can come from your program’s garden; directly from a farmer; or from a distributor, “food hub”, grocery store, farm stand, or farmers’ market.
Which months do you want to see menus from? One from spring (March, April or May); one from summer (June, July or August); one from fall (September, October or November); and one from winter (December, January or February). Menus should be from the past 18 months.
Does each menu need to show 4 types of local foods? No, the reviewers want to see that across all four menus, there are 4 types of local foods. For example, eligible menus may show fruits and vegetables from a local farm and herbs from the program’s garden on the summer menu and local meat on the winter menu.
What if the facility serves produce 3 times a week in summer but cannot always serve it in winter? That’s okay, as long as it all averages out to 1 per week across your four menus. For example, eligible menus might show local produce 2 times per week for summer and fall and none during winter and spring.
Where can we find more information about sourcing and using local foods? In the Farm to ECE section of the Go NAPSACC Tips & Materials library, search for Local Procurement for Child Care Centers by the National Farm to School Network. (Tips & Materials Section: Farm to ECE/Local Foods Provided/Recipes & Guidance). The NC Farm to ECE Initiative also has a great selection of resources.
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