ICN’s Executive Director, Dr. Aleshia Hall-Campbell, hosted 32 National Advisory Council members, USDA Headquarters staff, and ex-officio members to the Institute for the 2018 meeting held November 14-15.  The members were welcomed to campus by the University of Mississippi Assistant Vice Chancellor of Research and Sponsored Programs, Melissa Hodge-Penn, followed by recognition of new and retiring members.

Discussions and sessions included:  training needs of districts, ICN’s Strategic Plan, ICN’s new School Nutrition Culinary Institute, potential opportunities, ICN project updates, and USDA updates from USDA headquarters staff in attendance.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the “Landshark Tank” presentations.  In January, the project was presented to staff at ICN, groups were assigned, and each team was challenged to create an innovative project that aligns with one or more of ICN’s Strategic Beacons.  The following projects were proposed by these teams to the NAC members:

Start to Finish is an interactive screen-recorded video that is designed to replace the existing PDF document that serves as the first requirement for all online courses on the eLearning Portal. It addresses the needs of users who are less literate in basic computer functions. The video will eliminate the need to view instructions externally and make the experience easier for users from Start to Finish.

Safety Zone: A Virtual Reality (VR) Experience in Food Safety will provide a food safety virtual experience for child nutrition (CN) professionals. This will help CNPs to identify proper food safety tips and food safety violations in the kitchen. It will also show how to correct food safety violations in the kitchen while using ICN’s resources as a reference, and will strive to empower CNPs to be confident in food safety practices in child nutrition programs.

ICN Multicultural Recipe Resource was created to provide small rural school nutrition programs with a multicultural recipe resource. The plan is to work with a taskforce group to decide on the cultures to be represented, then work with chefs to develop recipes. A nutrient analysis will be conducted on these recipes. After the resource is put together, a prototype will be sent to 38 rural school districts who will provide feedback on its usefulness.

#ICNSPIRE is a social media campaign created to inspire child nutrition professionals to share stories and testimonials of how ICN has impacted their lives and careers. Using #ICNSpire will help ICN gather stories to share and use to promote the resources and opportunities that we have to offer.

The teamwork, effort, and enthusiasm that was put into these projects was clearly displayed during the proposals. Members of NAC and ICN directors provided positive and encouraging feedback. The sky is the limit and we are shooting for the stars when it comes to making ICN better every day for CNPs; for everyone!