Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program begins Tuesday

Earlier this year, you read in the newsletter about the changing USDA nutrition guidelines that are being implemented in the Fargo Public Schools and around the country. In order to support these guidelines, as well as its Wellness Plan and Strategic Plan, the District serves meals and snacks that expose students to healthy eating habits through smart choices. The Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program (FFVP) is one of the mechanisms that support this effort.

The FFVP provides funding through state education departments to eligible elementary schools for servings of fresh fruit or vegetables during the daily morning milk break. This food is in addition to the fruits and vegetables that students may already receive through the District’s breakfast and lunch programs.

Nine elementary schools are participating in the program for the 2012-13 year: McKinley, Madison, Horace Mann, Roosevelt, Jefferson, Clara Barton, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, and Kennedy. (Twelve Fargo buildings took part in the grant program last year. FFVP participation is up among schools statewide, which has caused North Dakota DPI to include more eligible schools that serve free and reduced meals to at least 50 percent of their population.)

Foods being purchased and served in the FFVP include items such as apples, grapes, pears, carrots, and cucumbers. The program also seeks, however, to expose children to fruits and vegetables they would be less likely to find on the dinner table at home, such as star fruit, jicama, mango, grapples, snow peas, yellow carrots, zucchini, purple and green cauliflower, and yellow teardrop tomatoes.

Depending on the density and calories of the item, servings are typically between 1 to 3 ounces. The District works with its nutrition service supplier, Food Services of America, to acquire fruits and vegetables that are in season. This helps reduce costs, and utilizes the resources of locally-grown foods with some types of produce.

This is the third year for the FFVP program. It will begin in the Fargo Public Schools on Tuesday, September 18, and serve produce four times per week until funding runs out in mid-May.

For more information, visit the links above or contact FPS Nutrition Services at 446-1018.

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