The annual Leadership in School Nutrition (LISN) Awards help advance the producer-funded New Look of School Milk (NLSM) program. The awards, sponsored by the dairy checkoff and Dairy Field magazine, recognize and promote partnerships between individual dairy processors and schools.

This year’s LISN grand prize winners were Union City School District of Union City, N.J., and Farmland Dairies of Wallington, N.J. Each organization received $5,000 to be used toward future school nutrition efforts.

Since the single-serve plastic packaging, provided by Farmland Dairies, was implemented in the Union City’s 14 schools, milk consumption has risen to an estimated 1.5 million bottles per year and has become a regular part of the breakfast and lunch offerings. Equally significant, school meal participation among students has increased by 20 percent, which generates additional revenue for school foodservice programs.

Two other school districts and dairy processors were recognized for their partnerships. Second place LISN winners were Brownsville Independent School District of Brownsville, Texas, and Borden Milk Products LP of Austin, Texas. The school district installed new upright milk coolers that highlight the milk packaging and feature the Elsie the Cow mascot. Each organization received $2,000.

Third place winners were Arlington Heights School District 25 of Arlington Heights, Ill., and Kemps Dairy of Chicago. By using local sports heroes, heavily promoting flavor updates and working with Kemps to provide 8-ounc, colorful packaging, the district raised milk sales by 9 percent and consumption by 13 percent. Each organization received $1,000.

To date, more than 9,200 schools nationwide participate in the checkoff-funded NLSM program, reaching more than 5 million students with single-serve milk on the school meal line. For more information, visit: www.nutritionexplorations.org or www.dairycheckoff.com.

Dairy Management Inc.