Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series
What They Do: School Food and Wellness Group (SFWG) operates as a full-service child nutrition consulting firm, specializing in providing comprehensive professional services for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the Afterschool (Supper) Program. Their focus is on ensuring that schools offer healthy, nutritious meals to students while operating according to the federal and state guidelines set forth by the USDA and State Agencies.
How They Do It: SFWG supports more than 300 schools across the U.S. in adhering to nutrition program guidelines. Their core support services include:
- Compliance: From helping schools become their own School Food Authority (SFA) to ensuring that they manage the program effectively, SFWG provides the necessary administrative support and tools needed to comply with the federal meal program.
- Audit Support: They proactively address issues and challenges through mock audits to ensure that SFAs have successful and finding-free administrative reviews.
- Procurement: Their team works in partnership with school administrators to conduct a procurement-needs assessment, and they write strategic Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to ensure thoughtful and responsive bids from qualified vendors.
- Self-Prep Support: They develop customized solutions to help schools transition to preparing meals on site when possible while also improving the overall quality of their meal program through strategic and local procurement.
- Special Projects: In addition to compliance support services, their team also provides specialized project support, including staff training and development, menu planning, kitchen design, equipment procurement, grant application and management, strategic meal program assessment, and much more.
Through this multi-pronged approach to the Child Nutrition Program, the SFWG team can develop
Mission: SFWG’s mission revolves around simplifying the National School Lunch Program to ensure SFAs remain compliant so that no child goes hungry and every child receives a healthy, nutritious meal. They work to support school districts, charters, and after-school programs in providing adequate nutrition to students by being the experts in all things related to the Child Nutrition Program.
Latest Project/Campaign: SFWG’s latest projects focus on helping schools move from purchased meal programs into self-prepared, cooked-on-site models in order gain more control over various aspects of their program, including:
- Quality Control: Managing the meal program in-house can lead to improved quality control over ingredients and meal preparation. By moving to self-prep, schools can ensure that meals are nutritious, fresh, and appealing to students.
- Local Sourcing: Procuring fresh products locally when possible in order to support the local community and reduce the amount of processed foods served in school meals.
- Customization and Flexibility: In a self-prep model, schools can tailor their menus to meet the specific needs and preferences of their students. This flexibility can also be helpful when making menu changes to accommodate dietary restrictions and/or cultural food preferences.
- Cost Control and Savings: A self-prep program allows the school to have more control over their costs and, if managed effectively, a self-prep model can generate revenue, which can then be reinvested in the school’s nutritional program to continue making improvements.
By continuing to keep abreast of the ever-changing landscape of the Child Nutrition Program, SFWG aims to expand their influence and reach more schools in order to increase student access to healthy food options no matter where the school is located.
Major Funding: N/A
Annual Budget: Not disclosed
Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: SFWG’s team is comprised of individuals who are passionate about education and nutrition. They work across multiple locations in the U.S., bringing diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise–from nutritionists and educators to athletes and advocates–to the table. This varied perspective enriches their approach to advocating for nutritious school meals.
- Location: Main office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with team members spread across California, Chicago, Indiana, North Carolina, and New York.
- Number of Staff: 14
- Number of Volunteers: N/A
- Areas Served: Serving over 300 schools across the U.S.
- Year Started: 2015
- Founder: Emily Chatelain
- Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.sfwgroup.org/