What is FFVP and Why Do I Want to Know About It?

August 30th, 2011 | By Marjie No Comments

in collaboration with Laura Fair, school nutrition director for Madison County Schools
If your children come home from school this year talking about FFVP, don’t start checking their text messages for a new abbreviation. FFVP stands for Fresh Fruits & Veggies Program, and it’s a national program designed to steer schoolchildren toward healthier, fresher foods, both at school and home.
The FFVP is designed to encourage school children to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. It is part of an national effort to improve the health of our country’s children.

In 2004, the FFVP was piloted in four states, and within a short time additional states were added to the pilot program. By 2008, the Farm Bill permanently authorized FFVP in all 50 states. During the Fall of 2008, the program began in Georgia with 25 schools participating. Hull Sanford Elementary is now in its third year of the program, and this fall 146 Georgia schools will be participating.

In order to be selected (and funded) for the FFVP, interested schools must submit an application and have 50% or more students qualified for free or reduced price meals. Each school’s application must describe how the school will benefit from the program; how it will be operated; what type of nutrition education will be implemented; and how the fruits and vegetables will be distributed within the school.

Funding for each school is between $50 – 75 per year per student enrolled. With the funding, each school must do the following:

  • serve a snack daily
  • serve only fresh fruits or vegetables (not canned, frozen or dehydrated)
  • serve raw fruits or vegetables (not cooked, unless cooking enhances palatability)
  • serve at least one veggie per week
  • be sure that the foods are consumed at the school

CASE STUDY – Hull Sanford Elementary School (HSES)
Receive approximately $29,400 received for use during the 2011-12 school year
Introduce children to variety of fruits & veggies
Use common items, but mix with lesser known fruits and veggies
Use new or lesser known fruits/veggies at least four times per month
Display items to be served at the top of the serving line
Use table toppers (Plexiglass frames) with info sheets placed around cafeteria
Provide word matches, crossword puzzles, info sheets, etc., for staff to use with students to discuss the snack for the day
Provide school nutrition manager visits to classrooms periodically to talk about the specific snack for that day

Teacher 1 – Students in my classroom love the fruits and vegetables. It allows them a small break to stretch, get their snack, and often times try something new to eat. I believe this helps with students that have attention issues to have a time to get up, eat something, and feel refreshed.

Teacher 2 – The right food is like putting premium gasoline in the car. It helps the body run smoothly for more energy in the day.

Teacher 3 – When we have snacks, all the children are calmer and more focused. Especially with late lunch, we count on the snack to help our students make it until lunchtime.

Sometimes it just takes an introduction to a new food for a child to say, “I like it!” The FFVP helps schools do just that … introduce a healthy new food to our school children.

For more information about FFVP, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/ffvp/. And ask your school nutrition director if your school has applied for the program!

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