Friday, May 13, 2011

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Schools Announced

Congratulations to Northwest Elementary, Pasco Elementary, Lacoochee Elementary, and Rodney B. Cox Elementary schools who were awarded a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant provided by the Florida Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Management Division.   The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant will introduce students to a variety of fresh fruit and/or vegetables in the classroom during the 2011-2012 school year.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) authorizes funds for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable for all states.  Participating schools must offer "fresh" fruits and vegetables as a snack to students during the school day separate from their normal school breakfast and lunch times.  The goals of the program are to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expand the variety of fruits and vegetables that students experience, increase students' fruit and vegetable consumption, and make a difference in students’ diets that will impact their present and future health.

Fresh fruits and vegetables will be provided a minimum of three days a week, and students will get a chance to try fruit and vegetable favorites, as well as some "unique" choices that are not normally available as a part of the school breakfast and lunch program. During this past school year, Lacoochee Elementary and Rodney B. Cox Elementary schools participated in the program and students were able to snack on red pepper sticks, Asian pears, edemame, blood oranges, and traditional favorites such as peaches, plums, honeydew, and more.