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Mapping the Way for School Year 2020-21

​The Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition Department's annual School Nutrition Programs Back to School Conference is going virtual for School Year 2020-21! This year’s theme is “Mapping the Way.” The virtual conference features live webinars July 20-22, recorded trainings, fact sheets, and exhibitor resources!​

 Visit Our Exhibitor Tables

ABCs of School Nutrition

ABCs of School Nutrition is a partnership between University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois State Board of Education to provide professional development opportunities for Illinois school nutrition professionals. Extension educators throughout the state are connected with schools through SNAP-Education programming, community coalitions, and policy, systems, and environmental work, uniquely positioning us to support child nutrition staff – from frontline workers to school administrators.

Resource Highlights:

  • Monthly “On Your Tray" e-newsletter: Stay up to date on grant funding and upcoming professional development opportunities, plus check out what other schools are doing in their cafeterias with featured success stories.
  • Facebook page: Connect with us and other Illinois school nutrition professionals.
  • Website: Access a variety of self-paced modules and recorded webinars on our course portal and find downloadable resources such as sample cycle menus, recipe compilations, signage, and more.

Contact: Trinity Allison; Extension Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences; schoolnutrition@illinois.edu; (217) 300-8609

Illinois Farm to School Network

Farm to school is a free program that connects kids and their communities to fresh, healthy food, gardens and local food producers. Farm to School programs can include local procurement, food education and activities and edible gardens. The Illinois Farm to School Network coordinators provide training, connect partners, and share resources about all aspects of farm to school. We are the Illinois Core Partner for the National Farm to School Network.

Resource Highlights:

  • Toolkit and Newsletter: The Illinois Farm to School Network provides a free toolkit chocked full of resources to help build your program and create activities to fit your site, and your community. Sign up for the monthly newsletter to stay informed.
  • Illinois Harvest of the Month: This program celebrates a different in-season, locally grown, or garden food every month. Registered feeding and garden sites receive a promotional calendar of seasonal foods, printable resources, food service recipes and curriculum, as well as, one-on-one program assistance. It's a flexible way to buy, grow and serve healthy foods while teaching students about healthy eating, nutrition, and agriculture.
  • Illinois Great Apple Crunch: This is a one-day, free event on the second Thursday in October. All K-12 schools, early childhood sites, boarding facilities and community programs, along with businesses and organizations across Illinois can join the loudest “Crunch" heard across the Great Lakes! Be sure to register your site.

Contact: Diane Chapeta, Illinois Farm to School Program Manager, diane@sevengenerationsahead.org, (708) 660-9909

Lanter Distributing LLC

Lanter Distributing is a warehouse, distribution, and logistics group with locations in Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas. We have been warehousing and delivering USDA commodities in Illinois for over 40 years.


Midwest Dairy

We represent dairy farmers across the Midwest region, including Illinois. We focus our efforts on sharing insights and developing programs and resources for our retail, health and wellness, school food service and industry partners.

Resource Highlights:

  • Fuel Up to Play 60: The leading in-school health and wellness program empowers students and educators to work together to build healthier schools and create healthy, high achieving students. The program offers a variety of opportunities for adults, students, and schools, both in person and virtually.
  • Discover Undeniably Dairy Education: America's dairy farmers and Discovery Education offer a suite of no-cost virtual learning resources that take middle school students behind-the-scenes of the dairy community. Resources include a virtual field trip, virtual experiences, and STEM bundles.
  • Discover Dairy: Discover Dairy is an engaging, interactive, cross-curricular educational series that meets Common Core standards for Math, Science, and Reading. In addition to STEM activities, schools and classrooms can participate in the Adopt a Cow program, a year-long program where students learn where your food comes from.


  • Robin Brown (northern Illinois counties except Cook County); Manager, Wellness; rbrown@midwestdairy.com; (872) 201-0474
  • Selena King (Cook County and Central and Southern Illinois counties); Manager, Wellness; sking@midwestdairy.com; (773) 967-2787

Pilot Light

Pilot Light is a non-profit organization in Chicago that supports teachers with bringing food education lessons into their classrooms. Pilot Light's K-12 curriculum can be integrated into core-content subjects such as Reading, Writing, and Math, and supports every child with the food education they need to develop healthy relationships with food.

Resource Highlights:

  • The Food Education Center: The Food Education Center is a free, digital food education hub that includes a library of standards-aligned K–12 curriculum for teachers, resources for food advocacy projects in classrooms, and family resources.
  • Family Meal Videos and Lesson Plans:​​  Family Meal lessons and videos are created by chefs, teachers, and Pilot Light staff to accompany the lessons in the Food Education Center. Each Family Meal lesson plan is available for download in English and Spanish, along with the accompanying video. The recipes and videos are designed to support remote learning in Common Core-based Reading, Writing, and Math, along with suggested activities and discussion questions for the whole family. www.foodedu.pilotlightchefs.org/family-resources
  • The Food Education Standards: The Pilot Light Food Education Standards provide evidenced-based standards that can be used across different school and community socio-demographics to provide a holistic framework for defining K-12 food education. The Standards were developed through a thorough process of consensus-building with experts from multiple disciplines across the country, as well as the perspectives of community members and teachers. https://pilotlightchefs.org/how-we-help/our-approach/food-education-standards/

Rise & Shine Illinois

Rise & Shine Illinois is a partnership of Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The campaign was launched in 2012 as a response to a recommendation of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger. Rise & Shine Illinois is a public-private coalition working to end childhood hunger in Illinois ensuring all children get the healthy food they need every day. The goal of Rise & Shine Illinois is to connect students with the meals most critical to their success: Breakfast, After-School, and Summer Meals.

Resource Highlights:

  • Newsletter: Sign up to receive email updates from the Rise and Shine Illinois campaign.
  • Breakfast After the Bell Grant OpportunityPDF Document: Grants will support schools with the purchase of approved equipment, materials, and initiatives facilitating Breakfast After the Bell delivery models in an effort to increase student participation in school breakfast.

Contact: Monique Batteast, Senior Manager of Children's Nutrition Advocacy & Outreach, mbatteast@gcfd.org, (773) 843-2604

St. Louis District Dairy Council

St. Louis District Dairy Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is nutrition education. We are dedicated to promoting dairy foods and providing science-based dairy and nutrition information. On most days you will find us out in the field, working directly with consumers, educators, health professionals, and members of the media in the 131 counties we serve.

Resource Highlights:

Contact: Jill Williams, MPH, RD, Nutrition Educator, jwilliams@stldairycouncil.org, (217) 726-8480

USDA's Office of Community Food Systems

The Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) helps child nutrition program operators incorporate local foods in the National School Lunch Program and its associated programs, as well as the Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program. In addition, OCFS staff works with tribal communities to respond to their desire to better incorporate traditional foods into our meal programs. OCFS accomplishes this through grant making, training and technical assistance and research.

Resource Highlights:

Contact:  Jenna Segal; Midwest Farm to School Regional Lead, USDA-FNS-MWRO; jenna.segal@usda.gov; (312) 886-4613​​​

 2019 Presentations and Materials

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