BALTIMORE - The Maryland State Department of Education has awarded $3,069,100 in federal funds for the 2013-2014 school year to 147 selected Maryland schools.
These funds are made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to encourage healthy eating habits in children by providing fresh fruits and vegetables to participating schools.
The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the Farm Bill) allocated more than $165 million dollars to fund the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in schools nationwide. The current funding level for the FFVP provides reimbursement for fresh fruits and vegetables to a selected number of schools at an allocation rate of $50 per student per school year. The FFVP targets schools with a high percentage of low-income students who are likely to have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
To be eligible for the program, schools must be currently participating in the National School Lunch Program. Every child enrolled in a participating school will be offered fruit and vegetable snacks regardless of income.
The FFVP provides a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day to introduce fresh produce as a healthy snack option for children. This provides an opportunity for teachers to incorporate nutrition lessons with the serving of fresh produce.
A national study by Abt Associates found students participating in the FFVP ate significantly more fruits and vegetables than students in schools without the program. Those schools also were more likely to offer regular nutrition education to students.
The following link has a list of the 147 participating schools in Maryland: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/schoolnutrition/docs/FFVP_Data.htm.
For more information on Maryland's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, contact Sarah Trist of the School and Community Nutrition Programs Branch of MSDE at 410-767-0222 or email@example.com.