Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)
The School District of Palm Beach County had the opportunity for five elementary schools (Belle Glade Elementary, Pahokee Elementary, Gove Elementary, Palmetto Elementary, and West Gate Elementary) to participate in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) during the 2011-2012 school year. This federally assisted program cultivates healthier school environments by providing a fresh fruit or vegetable snack to all students in participating elementary schools during the school day.
Congress authorized the FFVP to begin as a pilot under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The pilot was offered in a limited number of States. The purpose was to identify the best practices for increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption among students. In 2008 the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 established the FFVP as a permanent program under section 19 of the National School Lunch Act. Therefore, all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were eligible to participate.
The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Division administers the FFVP at the national level. In Florida, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness oversees the program’s implementation. Each participating elementary school is eligible to receive $50.00 per student for the entire school year. These funds are pre-determined by the State and are to be used when purchasing the fresh fruit or vegetable snack. The snack must be served outside of the normal time frames for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). Each school district determines the best method to obtain and serve the additional snack. Monthly reimbursement claims are submitted for each school.
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant awarded a total of $165,750 to the five schools that participated. On August 22, 2011 the program started at the five schools. The children, teachers and staff were excited about the opportunity the grant would provide them during the school year.
During the 2011-2012 school year, the School District served a total of approximately 410,000 nutritious fruit and vegetable snacks. During August 2011 and September 2011 snacks were served every day. During the balance of the school year snacks were served three days a week, with the exception of holidays and early release days.
A menu was prepared each month that included a variety of fresh seasonal produce. In addition, the menu highlighted one fresh fruit or vegetable that was offered at least once a week throughout the month. “Nutrition Tidbits” were created to educate the students on the month’s featured snack.
The teachers and administrators at each school incorporated nutritional education within the school day. Many teachers researched information about the fruits and vegetables provided and integrating the information into their reading and vocabulary lesson. Examples of such creative lessons: the teacher used the fruits and vegetables to identify properties of matter, compare and contrast and reinforce scientific observation skills using the 5 senses during the year.