Applications Open for 2nd Annual Maine Farm and Sea to School Institute

Applications are now open for the 2nd Annual Maine Farm and Sea to School Institute.
The Maine Farm and Sea to School Institute is a year-long professional opportunity for Maine schools/districts to develop a Farm and Sea to School (FSTS) program. Schools receive a year of technical support from Maine’s experts and participate in a 3-day Academy Program July 24th-26th, 2023 at The Ecology School. Read about last year’s event!
Learn more and apply here. Applications are due by March 15th, 2023.

Culturally Diverse Culinary Resources

The Maine Child Nutrition office has created a new webpage dedicated to culturally diverse culinary videos, recipes and resources that are available for Child Nutrition Programs, including the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Summer Food Service Program. Currently, there are Halal and Wabanaki/indigenous foods recipes and resources available, with plans for more culturally diverse resources being added in the future! The goal of these resources is to educate and provide tools for child nutrition programs in meeting the diverse needs of their student populations.

For more information and to view these resources, visit the Culturally Diverse Culinary Resources page.

Organizations Needed to Provide Complimentary Meals to Children This Summer   

With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of income eligible children in Maine during the school year. To extend this program, Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition (Maine DOE) is seeking organizations that would like to participate in the federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides children healthy, free meals when school is not in session.

“By participating in this program, community groups and organizations can have a tremendous impact on the health and wellbeing of children in their communities,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “The Maine Department of Education is thankful to those organizations that join this program to ensure our children get the meals they depend on this summer”

In summer 2022, 119 sponsors were approved to operate 452 Summer meal sites across Maine. Although there are sponsors operating in every county in Maine, there is still a long way to go towards feeding all eligible children during the summer. Community partners are working to maximize the number of sponsors utilizing the availability of funds under the SFSP.

SFSP may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced meal benefits under the National School Lunch Program or census track data supports the need. Organizations that provide services in rural communities or near migrant farm workers and tribal populations are urged to participate. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

Maine DOE encourages any eligible organization to consider providing this much-needed service to Maine children. The agency will begin accepting applications to participate in February. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for eligible meals served to children during the long summer break.

Interested organizations should begin planning now for a successful summer. Potential sponsors are required to receive training from Maine DOE. Training will occur virtually, and DOE staff will assist in the onboarding process. Maine DOE is available to consult by phone and email to answer questions regarding summer meals.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact, call 592-1722 or visit


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) found online at:, 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:
(1)     mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)      fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3)      email:
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, religion, ancestry or national origin.

Complaints of discrimination must be filed at the office of the Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0051. If you wish to file a discrimination complaint electronically, visit the Human Rights Commission website at and complete an intake questionnaire. Maine is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Register a Team for the 2023 Farm to School Cook-off!

(Pictured: Caleb Pratt & Gina Bailey from Team Son-Day, competing in last year’s Westbrook Regional Cook-off)

Registration is open for the annual Maine Department of Education, Child Nutrition Farm to School Cook-off! The event will be held in the Spring of 2023. The cook-off is a statewide culinary competition for teams of school nutrition professionals and students to promote local foods in school meals. This voluntary competition is made available to all school districts in Maine.

The cook-off involves three regional competitions that take place in locations across the state and a final competition in the Child Nutrition Culinary Classroom, where the top teams compete to determine the Farm to School Cook-off Champion. Each team, consisting of one student and one school nutrition employee, is tasked to prepare a breakfast and lunch meal using specific recipe guidelines and time restrictions and will present to a panel of judges.

At least three local ingredients and one USDA food must be used in each meal. Local oats and local carrots will be used as “challenge” ingredients in the competition this year. All recipes will later be shared in a Maine farm-to-school cookbook to be used in future school meal programs. To view the 2022 Cookbook and prior years please visit the Maine Child Nutrition website.


  • January 13, 2022 – Team Registration Due (click here for registration link)
  • Date TBD- Mandatory Team Meeting
  • February 17, 2023 – Recipes Due to Child Nutrition State Office
  • March 27- April 7, 2023- Regional competitions take place (location TBD)
  • April 7, 2023 – Finalists Announced
  • April 25, 2023 – Cook-Off Finals at the Child Nutrition DOE Culinary Classroom!

Interested school districts can find more information and the link to register on the Maine Child Nutrition website. The registration deadline is January 13, 2023. For more information on Maine’s Farm and Sea to School program, visit

For questions about the Farm-to-School Cook-off, contact Maine DOE Child Nutrition Supervisor, Stephanie Stambach at

2022 Cook-off Champions- McMahon Tigers Alain Lemesse & Alicia Smith
2022 Cook-off Champions- McMahon Tigers, Alain Lemesse & Alicia Smith

Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition Team Hosts 45 School Food Service Directors for Annual Fall Info Meeting

On Tuesday, October 18th, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) Child Nutrition Team staff were thrilled to be joined by 45 Food Service Directors from schools across Maine, for the first time in over two years, for the SY23 Fall Info Meeting.

Discussions centered around additional funding sources for nutrition programs, best practices for the Federal nutrition programs such as the After School Snack Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Breakfast After the Bell, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) At-Risk, and the Farm and Sea to School program.

To break up the day, Representatives from C. Caprara and Hatch Jennings gave an equipment demonstration of Delfield Shelley Serving Lines equipment.