USDA GRANT ENABLES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS TO HAVE THEIR FRUIT AND VEGETABLES, AND EAT THEM TOO!
Students at 106 North Carolina elementary schools will have more access to fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day next year thanks to a $2.7 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The primary purpose of the grant is to promote healthier food choices by introducing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as daily snacks for students and helping teachers incorporate nutrition education in lesson plans.
This is the seventh consecutive year North Carolina has had the opportunity to participate in the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Elementary schools use the funds to purchase and serve a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to all enrolled students in participating schools. Schools that have previously participated in the program used the funds to provide fruit baskets inside classrooms, kiosks in the hallways, and other innovative approaches to give students the opportunity to grab fresh fruit or vegetable snacks during the school day. Participation in this program also promotes a healthier school environment.
“What better way to reinforce the message of the importance of maintaining a healthy diet than to provide our youngest students with opportunities to put those lessons into action? We hope that the more students are exposed to fresh fruits and vegetables the more times they will choose them over less nutritious snacks,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “We want these healthy habits to extend beyond the school house doors.”
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Child Nutrition Services Section Chief Lynn Harvey agreed with Atkinson adding, “Childhood obesity is a huge concern for not only North Carolina, but for the nation. Anything we can do to teach our children the importance of a healthy diet brings us one step closer to addressing this increasing health concern.”
Schools participating in the program will also make nutrition education a priority so students will learn how fresh fruits and vegetables are a critical part of a healthy diet. This program creates an optimum environment for students to develop healthy snacking habits because it incorporates all the senses – sight, touch, smell, sound and taste.
The NCDPI's Child Nutrition Services Section is partnering with the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health and the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services to implement the program in the following elementary schools for the 2010-11 school year. For more information on the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, please contact the NCDPI Communications Division at 919.807.3450.
USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Participating Schools 2010-11
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.