Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month (PA HOM) is a program developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Project PA (Penn State University) to promote a local agricultural product each month through schools, child and adult care centers/day care homes, and summer feeding sites. The program aims to provide participants with local, healthy products while supporting Pennsylvania farmers and producers.
Activity Guides for the Classroom and Cafeteria
These PA HOM Activity Guides were developed by The Food Trust and the content was adapted from materials developed by the California Department of Public Health’s CalFresh Healthy Living program.
Engage Your Students Through Contests | Mini-Grant Awardees
The applications have been received and reviewed for the Engage Your Students through Contests mini-grants call for entries. Eighteen schools have been chosen for funding (up to $1,500 each) by the PA Harvest of the Month. View the awardees by selecting the link below.
Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month Recipe Standardization Grants Awarded!
Standardized recipes are critical to the success of school meals because they provide consistent results in quality, quantity, and nutrient contribution, while helping to reduce food waste and food costs. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Division of Food and Nutrition, in collaboration with Project PA (Penn State) is pleased to announce the awarding of a total of $73,219 to ten School Food Authorities to work on development of nutritious and tasty recipes that incorporate Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month products and appeal to students’ taste preferences.
Harvest of the Month calendar featuring a Pennsylvania-grown/produced agricultural product each month was developed. Downloadable materials have been developed to be used by schools, child and adult care centers/day care homes, and summer feeding sites to promote these items.
Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month | Calendar
Broccoli, Eggs, Potatoes
Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month | Materials
For each item the following materials are available:
School Food Service Fact Sheet
Serving Line Signage
Links to Recipes
Sample Social Media Posts
Preschool Activity Sheet
Calendar Item Image Graphic
The month does not appear on the materials. This allows for flexibility to use the materials to promote items outside of the specific month designated on the Harvest of the Month calendar. The materials developed for the alternate items are intended for use to promote these items at any time at the discretion of the school, child or adult care center/day care home, or summer feeding site but, in particular, when there are barriers (e.g. cost, availability) to purchasing a calendar item.
Ideas for Implementing Harvest of the Month
Post the posters in the lunchroom and throughout the school, child or adult care center/day care home, and/or summer feeding site.
Use the serving line signage to highlight the Harvest of the Month item on the serving line or salad bar.
Distribute the family newsletter to families via e-mail, hard copy, or by posting on a school/district/center website.
Display table tents on lunchroom tables and/or on the serving line.
Take photos of Harvest of the Month activities and post them on social media.
Use the recipes to introduce the Harvest of the Month item on menus or through taste-tests.
Identify the Harvest of the Month item on menus.
In addition to school lunch, consider featuring the Harvest of the Month item through other Child Nutrition Programs that the school or organization operates (such as the School Breakfast Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program).
Use facts from the School Food Service fact sheet to promote the Harvest of the Month item on menus or through morning announcements.
Connect with teachers to discuss ways they could promote Harvest of the Month through classroom activities and lessons.
If you have a school garden, communicate with the garden coordinator about the possibility of planting one or more of the Harvest of the Month items.
Invite a farmer from whom you procure the Harvest of the Month item to the school to talk to students about it.
Hold contests focusing on the Harvest of the Month item (e.g. poster contest, recipe contest, etc.)
Procuring Harvest of the Month Items
All of the Harvest of the Month items are produced in Pennsylvania, and local product should be available through at least some purchasing channels in the designated month. Since one of the aims of the program is to support Pennsylvania producers, ideally the Harvest of the Month items served as part of meals and taste tests will be grown / produced in Pennsylvania. For occasions or items when this might not be possible, including the item on the menu or in taste tests still is valuable for promotion of items that can be produced inPennsylvania. Resources for finding local, Pennsylvania products include the following:
Inquire with distributors which of the Harvest of the Month items they source from local farms. If they do not already purchase these items locally, asking about it helps them to know that their customers have interest in their carrying these local products.
Determine if the item is available through the DOD Fresh Program. The FFAVORS catalog lists the state of the product’s origin.
The links provided are meant to help schools locate local producers but they are not exhaustive lists and a producer’s appearance on any list does not represent an endorsement by the Pennsylvania Department of Education or Project PA.
Remember that local, state, and federal procurement regulations must be followed whenever making purchases in the federal Child Nutrition Programs. For information about local procurement, see the “Local Procurement“ page under the Resources tab on this website.
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