For Immediate Release
July 16, 2013
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program promotes healthy eating habits in schools across Illinois
Nearly $5 million awarded to 239 schools for 2013-14 school year
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that 239 schools in Illinois will participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) during the 2013-14 school year. The schools, both public and private, will share equally in more than $4.98 million.
“We are excited to administer this valuable federal program, which teaches our schoolchildren healthier choices by introducing them to more fruits and vegetables,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Research clearly has shown that proper nutrition contributes to learning, and this is an excellent program to boost health and education.”
The complete list of Illinois schools in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program is available on the Illinois State Board of Education’s website at http://www.isbe.net/nutrition/pdf/ffvp-awardees13-14.pdf.
The nationwide program was created to increase the fruit and vegetable consumption among students by providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to students outside of regular school meals. Participating schools can spend $50 to $75 per enrolled student during the school year, with the majority of those funds being spent on fresh produce. All of those receiving FFVP grants already participate in the National School Lunch Program.
A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture released in March 2013 backed up the program’s goals by confirming that students in participating schools are consuming more fruits and vegetables. The report is available at http://www.fns.usda.gov/Ora/menu/Published/CNP/cnp.htm.
“We are encouraged to see these students getting more vitamins, calcium and other nutrients in their diets,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Participating schools are also offering more nutrition education, which will contribute to lifelong healthy habits for our kids.”
FFVP provides all students in participating schools access to a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables at least twice a week. It allows schools to make available the additional produce anytime during the regular school day, except during breakfast and lunch.
The goal is to expose students to lifelong healthy eating habits. For example, schools can incorporate nutrition education into numerous daily classroom activities such as math, health, geography and science, by developing lesson plans involving fruits and vegetables. Some schools have initiated a “Vegetable of the Day” to entice students to try produce they might otherwise not have access to and increase nutrition education efforts.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture first piloted the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in 2002 and it was expanded to include all states for the 2008-09 school year. Each school will be reimbursed on a monthly basis for allowable expenses up to the school’s total awarded amount. The fresh produce purchased under this program cannot be used to replace fruits or vegetables already being served to students at breakfast or lunch.
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