School Nutrition: New Sponsor Application Timeline

The Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE’s) - Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers school and community nutrition programs for over 700,000 Minnesota children and adults in over 1,000 local schools, child and adult care facilities and summer food program sites. If you want to operate a new School Nutrition Program at your school, you must first:

• Determine student meal service needs: breakfast, lunch, afterschool snacks and/or milk only.
• Determine facility resource needs for meal service.

For program approval for fall operation, the following timeline will keep you on target.

As soon as possible, complete training. At a minimum, schools new to School Nutrition Programs must attend training on meal pattern requirements and approving meal benefits applications. Training must be completed by September 1. View School Nutrition Program training opportunities.
By July 1, contact your local health inspection agency to obtain a facility food service license.
By July 1, request bids for a catering service or cooperative agreement with a neighboring school district to provide school meals if the charter school will not be preparing meals on site. View information on bid proposals and contracted meals.
After selecting a caterer, complete a Contract for Vended Meals to submit with your School Nutrition Program Application.
By July 15, begin required menu certification documentation.
By August 1, submit Menu Certification documentation. Menu Certification documents must be submitted prior to a new sponsor being approved for participation.
By August 1, view the How to Participate Web page for instructions to express interest and receive U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods entitlement.
Prior to the start of school, obtain Food Manager Certification through the Minnesota Department of Health for at least one staff person.