NEWS RELEASES 2016-17 :: JUNE 13, 2017


Buncombe County Schools, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Rockingham County Schools and the YMCA of Western North Carolina are among the first summer nutrition program sponsors nationwide to receive the Turnip the Beet awards. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sponsors the award to recognize outstanding summer nutrition program sponsors that work hard to offer high quality meals that are appetizing, appealing and nutritious.

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction School Nutrition Services Section Chief Lynn Harvey said that the state’s summer nutrition program sponsors work hard to ensure that North Carolina public school children don’t go hungry when school is not in session. “It’s exciting to see four of our program sponsors’ efforts recognized by the US Department of Agriculture with the Turnip the Beet award. We know they work hard to provide meals that are nutritious and appealing to children, and to ensure that those who need these meals the most are aware of their availability,” she said.

Buncombe County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools received a Gold Turnip the Beet award. The YMCA of Western North Carolina received a Silver Turnip the Beet award, and a Bronze Turnip the Beet award was given to Rockingham County Schools.

The goal of Turnip the Beet award is to showcase sponsors who go above and beyond to ensure their meals are both nutritious and appetizing. States volunteered to participate in the recognition program, and all sponsors participating in the one of programs were eligible to apply. Applications were evaluated on a list of criteria, including serving local foods, variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low fat or fat free dairy products, and culturally-appropriate meals. Recognized sponsors demonstrated excellence in a variety of ways including providing fresh fruit daily, serving a variety of whole grains, conducting taste tests with the children (and incorporating the feedback into the menus), and offering nutrition education activities along with the meals.

For 2016, 49 sponsors from across the country earned Bronze, Silver or Gold Turnip the Beet awards. All awardees will receive a certificate and will be featured in USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Summer newsletter. Gold and Silver awardees will be highlighted in a USDA blog post, and Gold awardees will be identified as Turnip the Beet winners on the FNS Capacity Builder website.

Summer meals are critical in the lives of millions of our nation’s youth, whose risk of food insecurity increases during the summer months when they no longer have access to the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. North Carolina Summer Nutrition Programs serve meals at no cost to children and teens, ages 18 and younger, at almost 3,000 locations across the state. North Carolina Summer Nutrition Programs work with sponsors, local education agencies and community partners to help feed hungry children by serving meals to students when school is out.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction School Nutrition Services administers the state’s Summer Nutrition Programs using federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Citizens and organizations interested in more information about getting involved as a site provider or volunteering at a summer meals site should contact NCDPI Summer Nutrition Programs Manager Cynthia Ervin.

USDA and NCDPI are equal opportunity providers and employers. Additional information regarding North Carolina school nutrition programs may be found on the NCDPI School Nutrition Services website.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027) available online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  • mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  • fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  • email.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.