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Local Foods in the CACFP with Questions & Answers

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose : Policy, Beneficial Information

To : Child and Adult Care Food Program Sponsors

Attention : Authorized Representative and Program Contact

Number : CACFP-09-2015

Date : June 2015

Reference : U.S Department of Agriculture Policy Memorandum CACFP 11-2015, Food and Nutrition Services Instruction 796-2, Revision 4, Financial Management—Child and Adult Care Food Program

Subject : Local Foods in the Child and Adult Care Food Program with Questions and Answers

This Management Bulletin (MB) provides guidance on incorporating local foods and agricultural-based curriculum in early childhood education and child care settings. The MB also clarifies policies in MB CACFP-09-2014: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Instruction 796-2, Revision 4, Financial Management in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), regarding local food production and procurement. For Questions and Answers related to this MB, please refer to the USDA Local Foods in the CACFP Web page at .


The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to expand the intent of the CACFP to:

Provide aid to child and adult care sponsors and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons . . .(Title 42, U.S. Code 1766[a][1][A][ii]).

Section 243 of the HHFKA established a Farm to School Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase the availability of local foods in schools and institutions. The USDA is continuing to provide grants and technical assistance to implement Farm to School programs to improve access of local foods in the child nutrition programs, including the CACFP.

Incorporating local food and agricultural education into the CACFP can play an important role in creating and promoting a healthy learning environment. There is a well-established and growing public interest in supporting local and regional food systems by purchasing local foods and incorporating agricultural-based curriculum and activities into early childhood education and care. Program administrators and partners are encouraged to include local food as a means to enhance the quality of meals in CACFP operations.

FNS Instruction 796-2, Revision 4, now categorizes allowable costs associated with growing food for use in the CACFP, either as part of the meal service or for activities related to nutrition education to food service staff. These costs may include seeds, fertilizer, labor, plot rental, etc.

Agencies are subject to CACFP procurement guidelines as outlined in Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations , Section 226.22 and therefore must conduct all procurements in accordance with Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, sections 200.317–326. Agencies must follow these procurement standards regardless of the dollar amount, meal served, or purchasing frequency. All agencies are encouraged to purchase in a way that promotes open and fair competition.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact your CACFP specialist. A contact list of CACFP specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System, Form ID CACFP 01. You can also contact Kayla Christensen, Community Nutrition Programs Administration Office Technician, by phone at 916-324-6153 or by e-mail at to be directed to your CACFP specialist.

Questions:  Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Esta institución es un proveedor que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.