Get Schools Cooking 



A program of Chef Ann Foundation, Get Schools Cooking provides school districts with the operational foundation necessary to transition Food & Nutrition Service Departments from a heat & serve or processed model to one that is rooted in scratch cooking using real ingredients. Through Get Schools Cooking, food service teams are guided through an intensive, three-year program.  

Program Goals: 

  • Provide school districts with individualized technical support to assist in sustainably moving from a highly processed to cook from scratch operation. 
  • Assess barriers and identify recommended actions in five key areas of school food service: Food, Finance, Facilities, Human Resources, and Marketing.
  • Support districts in developing action plans that create the structured framework to achieve their strategic objectives.
  • Provide system improvement grants that support the implementation of recommended actions and next steps.

Key Program Steps: 

Over the course of three-years districts will go through the following process: 
Application and Interview: Each district submits an application that includes detailed information such as meal counts and purchasing records. Districts are interviewed to assess their readiness and ability to participate in the program. 

Workshop: Districts attend a two-day workshop in Boulder, CO, home to one of the best examples of innovative school food service in the country. Sessions review the foundational strategies for successful school food reform and include visits to Boulder Valley School District kitchens and cafeterias to see transformation first-hand. 

On-site Assessment and Report: School food experts observe every aspect of the current operations in action and identify opportunities for improvement in day-to-day activities. Post-visit analysis generates a report of recommendations that is used as a guide for next steps and working with leadership and the community. 

On-site Strategic Planning: This is where it all comes together! Chef Ann Cooper and Chef Beth Collins lead key district leadership and food service team members through a strategy session to review the actions needed to achieve the desired changes based on the result of the on-site assessment. 

Action Planning: Chef Ann Foundation’s team works with the districts to develop a focused action plan that guide districts' operations and evaluative goals. 

Additional On-site Training and Off-site Technical Assistance: Districts are provided additional support to help them address recommendations from their assessment and meet their goals. This will include staff participation in Whole Kid Foundation's Healthy Food Service program that serves as an engaging and interactive training that brings food service staff along for the journey of cooking healthier food, being proud of their work and improving their own wellbeing.

$35,000 Systems Assistance Grant: Districts are given the opportunity to apply for a one-time $35,000 systems assistance grant that is designed to support the identified needs and goals of their program. 

Yearly Evaluations: For two years following the assessment, districts complete evaluations that measure their progress.

Cohort Connections: The 2016, 2017, and 2018 districts are provided with opportunities to learn from each otehr via shared Facebook groups, in-person meetings, and webinars.

Program Eligibility: 

To apply school districts must meet the following criteria:

  • Be firmly committed to working towards a scratch-cooked and fresh whole foods approach to their meal programs. 
  • Demonstrate support for improvement from district leadership.
  • Participate in the National School Lunch Program.  
  • Have a minimum district enrollment of 3,000 students and serve between four and thirty schools.     
  • Run a self-operated food service program.

Previous Program Participants Have:  

  • Introduced new scratch-cooked recipes
  • Installed salad bars
  • Added new vendors to procure local products
  • Eliminated highly processed chicken nuggets and patties
  • Gained significant community support
  • Introduced whole muscle chicken

How to Apply:

The Get Schools Cooking application is currently closed and will reopen in January/February 2021. 

Get Schools Cooking Flyer

Would you like to post information about the Get Schools Cooking grant program? You can download a flyer here.

Salad Bars to Schools

Salad Bars to Schools (SB2S) provides salad bar packages to help school districts expand their commitment to serving fresh fruits and vegetables. Schools use the grants (approx. $3,147 value) to implement salad bars as part of their daily meal programs. As a managing partner of SB2S, CAF helps school districts through the application, fundraising, and fulfillment processes. We also provide planning and implementation resources for Salad Bars here on The Lunch Box.

Who Can Apply

Any district or independent school participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is eligible to apply.

Grant Requirements

To qualify for a Salad Bars to Schools grant, you must offer the salad bar as part of the reimbursable meal served in your district. The 6-foot, five-well salad bar package is appropriate for locations that serve at least 100 reimbursable meals daily.


Project Produce

Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools


To emphasize the cafeteria as the school’s largest classroom by combining increased student exposure to fresh fruits, vegetables, and scratch-cooked recipes with food literacy and peer-to-peer marketing.

Program Goals:

  1. Increase student exposure to fresh fruits, vegetables, and scratch-cooked recipes
  2. Provide food literacy activities such as cooking demos, farmer visits, and nutrition education
  3. Implement a peer-to-peer marketing campaign
  4. Integrate new favorite fruits, vegetables and recipes into the menu cycles


Project Produce, a program of Chef Ann Foundation, provides schools funds to spend on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole ingredients used in scratch-cooked recipes. Food service staff, often with support from other school personnel, host tastings and food literacy events in the cafeteria in order to increase student exposure and acceptability of fresh fruits, vegetables, and new recipes. Favorite fruits, vegetables, and new recipes are incorporated into school meals and are promoted through peer-to-peer marketing strategies. These activities expand kids’ palates and encourage healthy eating habits in school and out. 

Program Requirements:

  • School must participate in the National School Lunch Program and have more than 50% Free and Reduced Meal eligibility.
  • Each grant is for $2,000 and a district may apply for up to five school sites for a total of $10,000.
  • Grant funds must be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to support your planned project. You may also use funds to purchase other food items used in scratch cooked recipe testing.
  • Recipes for testing must include elements of scratch-cooking and credit to the fruit or vegetable component of the meal pattern.
  • Taste tests and recipe testing must take place in the school cafeteria during the school day.
  • Up to 10% of grant funds can be used on supplies that support the nutrition education and food literacy activities such as printouts of nutrition facts or tasting cups. 
  • Schools are encouraged to purchase local produce.
  • Schools must complete a program evaluation at the end of the grant period. This evaluation will require submission of receipts or invoices from all purchases made using grant funds.
  • Funds may not be used to support the cost of reimbursable meals, staff hours, transportation, collateral materials, or other programming costs.
  • A school nutrition director, manager, or supervisor must be the applicant; however, grant coordinators, wellness coordinators, teachers, or others are welcome to assist the school in implementing the project.

​Visit Fruit and Vegetable Education: Case Studies from the Field to see how schools have put their Project Produce grants to use.

Grant Award and Timeline: 

The application window is currently closed. We will update this webpage as soon as we are accepting applications again.



Visit the Salad Bars to Schools site to see where salad bars have been granted across America.

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