Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, open to elementary schools that have 50 percent or more students eligible for free of reduced price meals.
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) exposes school children to new, healthier foods and increases their fruit and vegetable consumption, ultimately leading to lifelong dietary habits.
“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program gives students access to fresh produce, many times from local farmers,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “These nutritious foods can impact the children’s current health, and hopefully will encourage them to eat better when they get older.”
The current school year is the first year New Jersey has participated in the FFVP. The Department provided funding for 33 schools to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students on a regular basis. The federal Farm Bill, which became law in June of 2008, expanded what had been a pilot program in a few states to include all 50 states.
Any eligible schools that participated in the 2008-2009 program may apply again and in order to give more districts an opportunity to participate, only one school per district may apply.
The basic rules of the FFVP are:
- Only fresh fruits and vegetables can be purchased and served to students.
- Serving of the fresh fruits and vegetables may only take place during the academic school day and not during the breakfast or lunch meal periods or during and an after school program.
- The program should be offered throughout the entire school year and offered as many times as possible during the school week.
- The FFVP funds cannot be used to purchase nutrition education materials and promotional activities cannot be fund by the FFVP.
- Schools must attempt to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables.
- The program must be well-publicized and all students must have access to the produce offered.
- Schools must partner with outside organizations to enhance nutrition education.
The deadline to apply for the program is May 8. For the application, visit: www.nj.gov/agriculture/news/hottopics/approved/topics090409a.html.
For more information on the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, visit: www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/fruitandvegetable.html.