About Great Trays™
Minnesota's Great Trays™ Partnership was formed in 2010 with a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This funding supported schools in developing menus that would meet the new 2012 school meal guidelines, starting and promoting farm to school programs, saving money on food purchasing, and “nudging” students toward healthier choices. Eight state-level organizations comprised the Great Trays™ Partnership:
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture
- Minnesota Department of Education
- Minnesota Department of Health
- Minnesota Department of Human Services
- Minnesota School Food Buying Group
- Minnesota School Nutrition Association
- University of Minnesota Extension
- University of Minnesota School of Public Health
A Great Trays™ Coalition coordinating services and training for school foodservice in Minnesota was formed from the Great Trays™ grant and Great Trays™ Partnership. The Coalition continues the collaborative work started with the grant.
The Great Trays™ Partnership conducted an analysis of school data. You can read the Great Trays™ Annual Report on the Minnesota Department of Health website. The stories below highlight some of the changes that Minnesota schools have made. Explore our Best Practices video gallery to learn even more about how Minnesota schools approached the transition to the new nutrition standards.
|Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools led a group of 15 districts in 2007 to form the Minnesota School Food Buying Group, saving thousands of dollars on commonly purchased foods. Learn more about purchasing food.||Chisago Lakes Schools moved to a cycle menu planning system, allowing them to better manage their inventory and food costs. Explore menu planning.|
|Dover-Eyota Public Schools purchased 15 local foods for this year’s menu. Apple and pear trees will soon produce fruit in the school’s courtyard, offering a boost to student health and hands-on learning opportunities for students enrolled in agriculture classes. Learn more about Farm to School.||Hopkins Public Schools have trained student leaders, parents, and community volunteers to serve as food coaches, encouraging kids to eat more fruits and vegetables during lunch periods. Learn more about promoting school lunch.|
|Owatonna Public Schools offered a two-day training for school cooks to prepare nutritious recipes that appeal to kids, including chicken tortilla bake and spring salad with baby spinach, strawberries, mandarin oranges and lemon poppy seed dressing. Learn more about training opportunities.||Rochester Public Schools make student input a priority by requiring that every school hold at least three student meetings per year to ask for advice on menu items. Learn more about engaging students.|
|Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools earned Silver Award recognition in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s HealthierUS School Challenge through a comprehensive wellness approach involving school nutrition and physical activity improvements. Learn more about the HealthierUS School Challenge.||Sartell-St. Stephen Public Schools enlisted student help to create new menu items that used kid-friendly foods like pizza and quesadillas as a platform to introduce fresh, healthy ingredients. Learn more about engaging students.|