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Approximately 1 in 5 school-aged kids are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is seen as an important catalyst for change in the efforts to combat childhood obesity by helping students learn healthy eating habits. Hubert's Education Market Experts can help participating schools get their FFVP up and running. From colorful baskets to mobile carts and display fixtures, we have everything you need to build a foundation for a successful program.
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is a grant opportunity that provides children at the elementary level with fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day - at no cost to students. The goal of the program is to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables among school-aged children, educate students about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and expose them to new varieties.
Did you know that 9 out of 10 kids don't eat enough fruits and vegetables?
FFVP reimbursements are similar to other Child Nutrition Programs. Schools are required to submit a monthly claim and are reimbursed for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are served free to children during the school day (outside normal breakfast and lunch hours). Each school decides when, where and how they want to implement the program and what mix of fresh fruits and vegetables they want to offer students. A portion of your FFVP funds can be used to purchase the equipment needed for program implementation.
When it comes to kids tastes, one size does not fit all. The FFVP exposes students to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that they otherwise might not have had the opportunity to sample. It's an effective and creative way to introduce fresh produce as healthy snack options. Providing choices that appeal to all tastes can increase satisfaction and even prompt students to try new things.
The techniques you use to distribute the fruits and vegetables will depend on several factors. You will need to consider grade level, maturity of students, time available to eat, trash disposal and staffing issues. When planning your program, try to create serving areas that will encourage children to enjoy eating their snacks, while lessening your concerns about the potential for messes.
Students are more likely to eat fruit and vegetables that are convenient and easy to eat. When schools slice the produce, students eat up to two-thirds more. Slice the fruits and veggies and watch consumption sour!
Helpful Tip: Sliced fruits and vegetables can be stored in portable coolers to keep them chilled.
Students are far more likely to take fruits and vegetables if they're within easy reach. The idea of the FFVP is to make fresh produce available to students in several locations throughout the school campus during the academic day. Mobile Carts give you the flexibility you need to reach more students and provide easy access to a wide variety of produce options.
Offering fruits and vegetables to children in the classroom helps reduce messes, deal more effectively with disruptive behavior and make the most of learning time. To minimize interruptions to learning, incorporate eating with classroom activities during silent reading or nutrition education (e.g. study the "fruit of the day" in geography, science or math).
Floor stands and countertop fixtures can also be placed in classrooms and hallways to provide students with easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Using bright colored baskets and signage to add interest and visual appeal can double the amount of fruits and vegetables students take.
Sampling exposes students to the smell, texture and flavor of a new fruit or vegetable. Kids need to be exposed to food several times before deciding if they like it. Taste testing new options prior to offering them will increase satisfaction and reduce waste.
Schools utilizing FFVP funds to purchase a piece of equipment that is $250 or greater will need to get approval prior to the purchase (rules and regulations differ from state to state). You will be required to complete and submit an Equipment Justification Form. Equipment is claimed as an Administrative Cost (capped at 10% of grant amount). Equipment purchased with FFVP funds that will be used in other school feeding programs must be prorated among the programs.
Need help implementing your Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program? Speak to one of our education experts today to learn more!
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