Menu Planning Resources

Louisiana Seasonality Chart


Assessing Production and Seasonality

  • Census of Agriculture From USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) - NASS surveys all .S. farmers every five years and produces county profiles that detail agricultural production in every county. Think about using this data to find out what is produced in your area.
  • The Farm to School Census From USDA's Food and Nutrition Service -The Census surveyed over 18,000 school districts about their farm to school efforts. Think about using this data to find out what districts nearby are sourcing locally.
  • LSU AgCenter Extension - Cooperative Extension agents work in regions and parishes and are experts in many agricultural topics, including local food systems. Most counties have an Extension office and these agents can help connect you with producers in your region.

Seasonal Menu Tools and Examples

  • Current Menus, from Minneapolis Public Schools -These beautiful menus and information-rich promotional pages show that local foods can be incorporated into delicious menus throughout the year, even as far north as Minneapolis.
  • Menus that Move, from the Ohio Department of Education - Seasonal menus that meet USDA's new meal requirements.
  • The Lunchbox, from the Food Family Farming Foundation -Recipes, tips, tools, and tutorials on incorporating healthful foods into school meals.

Integrating Local Foods

  • Pecks to Pounds, from the Maryland Department of Agriculture -Translates the typical farm measurements (pecks, bushels, crates, etc.) to pounds. This chart is useful for both farmers and school food service staff to communicate effectively with each other and enables school food service staff to convert farm measurements into serving sizes.
  • Great Trays™ Toolkit for School Foodservice, from Great Trays™ partnership in Minnesota -A host of menu planning resources including worksheets, sample menus, and recipes.

Menu Planning and Forecasting

  • The Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs, from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service -A guide (updated to reflect the new meal patterns) meant to help SFAs determine how much food to purchase and how to prepare it.
  • Menu Planning Resources, from the Food and Nutrition Service's Healthy Meals Resource System -A compilation of menu planning tools, fact sheets, guides, and more.

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture