We’re happy to have you join us in this pilot phase of the VT School Food Marketing Campaign. We know how hard you work to prepare healthy meals each and every day for your students. We’ve come a long way in recent years in Vermont, but student and public opinion of school meals hasn’t shifted as dramatically as the quality of the meals we’re now serving. That’s where this marketing campaign comes in.
The campaign is designed specifically to help High School and Middle School food service directors, farm to school coordinators and other school food champions to celebrate and promote their meal programs. We hope to inspire students and staff to ask themselves “what’s on your plate today?”, and recognize that school meals are designed for today’s hard-working, creative and busy students to power their day.
We welcome any informal feedback you have about the materials and your experiences at any point this year.
- Display posters prominently.
- Like @Powered by VT School Food on Facebook.
- Include a “Newsletter Blurb” in your next school-wide communication.
- Try out one of the 10 Tips to Increase Participation in School Meals.
- Collect feedback from students, teachers and staff.
Read on to learn more about our various campaign components, tips for using social media, example social media posts, and ideas for soliciting feedback.
Quick Links to our free downloadable materials:
- Logos - white | black | green
- Menu templates editable in Microsoft Word - general | weekly | monthly
- Posters - Science | Snowboarding | Painting | Basketball | Collage
- Web-ready images for social media
- 10 Tips for Increasing Participation in School Meals
Campaign Components: Posters
We developed five 11” x 17” posters which aim to appeal to the diversity of teenage students, and also to recognize that many Vermont teens have a lot on their plates as athletes, artists and academics. The stylized coloring helps to unify the campaign images, and also echoes some of today’s design concepts used widely in social media and other popular programs and applications.
Download posters here - Science | Snowboarding | Painting | Basketball | Collage
Campaign Components: Social Media
Today’s teenagers interact through social media, whether we like it or not. While it’s important to maintain certain boundaries and technology policies, we feel that social media is a powerful tool for communicating with students and their families. We’ve developed sample posts and campaign images for easy sharing.
Download campaign images for social media here:
- Square - Science | Snowboarding | Painting | Collage
- Rectangle - Science | Snowboarding | Painting | Collage
Tips to get the most out of using Social Media with this campaign:
- Social Media is most powerful when cross-promotion happens. When you like, follow, retweet, comment on, and share posts from other people and organizations on social media, they are highly likely to reciprocate.
- Like any local producers, distributors, or partners who participate in your school food program. The more active you are on their pages, the better.
- Follow the accounts of people who are very active on Social Media, such as local journalists. Many of them will start following you.
- Like other relevant pages: @Vermont Harvest of the Month, @Food Connects, @Windham Farm and Food, @Green Mountain Farm-to-School, @Northshire Grows, @School Nutrition Association of Vermont, @Vermont FEED, @Vermont Community Garden Network, @The Center for an Agricultural Economy, @Vital Communities, @Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN), @Vermont Agency of Agriculture, @Vermont Agency of Education, @School Meals That Rock, @Smarter Lunchrooms Movement
- Like @Powered by VT School Food on Facebook.
- Talk to the administrator of your Facebook page(s)--if there is one. Discuss how to coordinate your social media efforts.
- Invite individuals from your target audiences to like your Facebook page and @Powered by VT School Food on Facebook (parents, staff, teachers, food service staff, farmers who sell products to schools, farm to school organizations, students)
- Respect privacy guidelines of your school.
- Post photos of daily specials, items that sell out, and new dishes.
- Engage your audience by asking questions, and by commenting on and liking other relevant post. This will give your posts a much better chance of showing up in other people’s newsfeeds.
- Ask questions that people want to answer. For example: What’s on your plate today?
- Use square-shaped or horizontal images for optimal viewing. (These are all provided for you digitally in the Google Drive folder [LINK] and on Facebook!)
Example posts: (Short and sweet for use on both Facebook and Twitter)(Short and sweet for use on both Facebook and Twitter)
- Powering up with [insert name of a featured dish] – post with photo of dish #PowerUpVT @Powered by VT School Food
- What are you powering up for today? #PowerUpVT @Powered by VT School Food
- What’s on your plate today? #PowerUpVT @Powered by VT School Food
- Which do you prefer: whole fruit or fruit salad? #PowerUpVT @Powered by VT School Food
- You be the judge: Taste and vote which of these two menu items we should add [with photo of two dishes] #PowerUpVT @Powered by VT School Food
Use the hashtag #PowerUpVT to generate buzz around the campaign and to connect with efforts at other schools and organizations around the state.
- A hashtag is a word or phrase (without spaces) that is preceded by the # symbol.
- The hashtags can be placed anywhere in your post, but it’s usually best to put them at the end so they don’t interrupt the flow.
- Other relevant hashtags include: #SchoolFood #GoodSchoolFood #SchoolLunch #SchoolBreakfast #FarmtoSchool
- Use local hashtags that people in your community are likely to find, such as the name of your town or neighborhood, or popular places near you.
Campaign Components: Sample Newsletter Blurbs
Whether your school has a printed or digital newsletter, a TV studio or radio station, there are lots of different ways to get the word out. Work with any supervising faculty or staff to include these messages (and images, if possible) in any school-wide communications.
Also: use student power! Many students in media and communications classes need to write stories, produce videos or other projects for course credit, and are always looking for good content. On the next page are a few examples, but feel free to adapt them to your school’s culture and medium.
Message 1: We are “Powered by Vermont School Food”. [School name] has been selected in a statewide pilot program with the goal to increase school meal participation.
Here’s what we’re doing:
Message 2: What’s on your plate today? We know students are asked to perform a lot each and everyday, from academics to being creative and active, not to mention being social. VT School Food “Powers you up!” Use the hashtag #PowerUpVT and Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PoweredbyVTSchoolFood/
Message 3: We’re Powering Up with VT School Food. Here’s what we are highlighting this week: [Ask food service for input of any new, local or whole food menu items]. #PowerUpVT Like us on Facebook: @Powered by VT School Food
Message 4: What’s on your plate today? XC Ski meet? Chemistry test? Vermont Youth Orchestra practice? Stacking that cord of wood in your driveway? School food is designed to provide the energy you need to make it through the day and thrive. #PowerUpVT Like us on Facebook: @Powered by VT School Food
Campaign Components: Menu Templates
These simple weekly and monthly menu templates are provided for you digitally as Microsoft Word documents, for easy editing and additional branding. Feel free to add your school name, Farm to School logo or Food Service Management Company logo.
Campaign Components: 10 Tips for Increasing Participation in School Meals
This document compiles best practices from various sources, such as the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, VT FEED, The School Nutrition Association and more. Each of the 10 tips are meant to be easily implemented, low-cost or no-cost strategies. Click here to download.
Feedback: Gathering Student Input
You are not required to conduct formal focus groups, but we do expect you to gather input from students informally.
Questions to gather student input at the beginning of the pilot phase:
- What do you think of the posters/ images/ language/ campaign in general?
- Which words and images do you relate to?
- What would you suggest to change?
- How would you share this with your peers? (Facebook? Snapchat? Text?)
- What could be changed or added so that you would share this with peers?
- Would you use social media to vote on menu items?
- What other changes would motivate you to participate in school meals?
Questions to ask at the end:
- Have you seen any changes?
- Has your opinion changed?
- Do you feel that your input makes a difference?
- Any other suggestions?
If you would like to conduct a more formal focus group to gather student input, please refer to the Tips for running a focus group document.