Dairy farmers are committed to making sure school students have access to healthy meals that include dairy. In support, ADA North East hosted a school nutrition forum for more than 50 school nutrition directors from the largest school districts by enrollment, to reengage students in school meals — which translates to more dairy sales.

The objectives of the conference were:

  • To deliver new tips and ideas to help work through the challenges of increasing school meal participation during a pandemic.
  • To facilitate brainstorming chats among the directors to share ideas that work to boost meal consumption.
  • To offer ADA North East’s tools and resources to help refresh school meals programs and menus that include dairy.

Schools have reported in the past year that in spite of the decrease in meal participation because of building closures, meal participation and dairy consumption has grown as a result from improvements in accessibility, awareness and adaptability of meals. Examples of goals for schools to set for each topic included:

  • Accessibility — to increase meal participation and dairy consumption by a designated percentage in September 2021.
  • Awareness — to communicate with families about school meals by using a new social media platform.
  • Adaptability — to add several new lunch entrees that include dairy in September 2021.

ADA North East is also using its Nutrition Connection website to offer menu and recipe ideas, as well as a summer meal toolkit to ensure students have access to milk and meals during the summer months.