The Tennessee Department of Education today announced 156 schools will receive funding for the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program (FFVP) for the 2011-12 school year. A total of $3.15 million was provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to purchase, prepare and distribute fresh fruits and vegetables at no charge to students 8th-grade and below. Smyrna Elementary and LaVergne Primary were both chosen to participate in this grant.
“Our schools play a major role in developing active, healthy lifestyles among Tennessee children that ultimately encourages healthier, more engaged students,” Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said. “Enhancing the critical link between health and academics through such school nutrition programs is key in producing well-rounded and productive citizens and investing in our future leaders.”
The grants, made available July 1, allow schools to provide fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables to students during the school day. For example, dried fruits may not be mixed with candy and fruits and vegetables may not be canned, frozen or vacuum packed.The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program operates in selected low-income elementary schools. Schools are selected based on criteria in the law and includes the requirement that each student receives between $50 and $75 worth of fresh produce over the school year.
“The Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program helps support ongoing efforts to encourage healthy habits that can stay with a child through adulthood,” School Nutrition Director Sarah White said. “The earlier we can start teaching students about healthy eating, the better chance they will live a healthy lifestyle.”
The Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). The program plays an important role in combating childhood obesity by helping children learn more healthful eating habits. The FFVP program has been successful in introducing school children to a variety of produce that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to sample.
A list of schools awarded Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Funds is attached. For more information, please visit the Tennessee Department of Education’s School Nutrition website at http://tn.gov/education/support/nutrition.shtml.