The Turnip the Beet Award, presented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), recognizes outstanding summer meal program sponsors across the nation who work hard to offer high quality meals that are appetizing, appealing, and nutritious during the summer months. The award is open to all sponsors. Three award levels are available: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
Detailed information about prizes and criteria are available in the 2021 Turnip the Beet Award Overview. For a quick one page overview of the Turnip the Beet award to be distributed at trainings and conferences, see the Turnip the Beet One-Pager.
Offering high quality meals during the summer is important for a number of reasons. Summer sites have the opportunity to positively impact children’s development by offering nutritious meals and encouraging children to develop healthy habits at a young age. In addition, kids vote with their feet in the summer! Offering meals that children enjoy can help sustain and increase participation. It’s a win-win, so let’s turnip the beet on meal quality in the Summer Meal Programs!
All summer meal program sponsors, including Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO) sponsors, may be eligible for a Turnip the Beet Award. Nominated sponsors must be in compliance with all SFSP or NSLP/SSO regulations, as applicable. Meeting the award criteria and winning an award does not replace SFSP or NSLP/SSO requirements. Nominated sponsors are required to be in good standing with the SFSP or NSLP/SSO. This means the sponsor had no major findings and program violations, or completed and implemented all corrective actions from the last compliance review, was not found seriously deficient in the past two years (at the time of the nomination), and has never been terminated from the Summer Meal Programs.
Sponsors may submit a self-nomination or be nominated by another party.
- Menus should be detailed enough to demonstrate that the meals meet the evaluation criteria listed below. For example, menus should describe whether vegetables and fruit are fresh, frozen, canned or dried, indicate the type of milk (e.g., fat content and if it is flavored), identify whole grain-rich and local food items, and clearly state if water is available at no cost.
- Sponsors may choose to submit supporting documents to further illustrate the quality of their meals, such as ingredient lists or a recipe to verify a food item is whole grain-rich (e.g., contains 100 percent whole grains, or contains at least 50 percent whole grains and the remaining grains in the food are enriched); news clips about the program; photos; testimonials; or invoices of local food purchases.
- Please do not submit more than five (5) supporting documents.
FNS will notify the winners in writing in early 2022.