The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a reimbursement grant program that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers at the federal level. At the state level, the California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) administers the FFVP and selects schools to receive a year-long grant (July–June) to implement the program. The purpose of this federal assistance program is to provide an additional free fresh fruit or vegetable snack to students during the school day as a supplement to (and not part of) the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and to teach students about good nutrition. The FFVP also encourages grantees to develop partnerships at the state and local level for support in implementing and operating the program.
For questions regarding the content of this Web page, please contact the FFVP team by phone at 800-952-5609 or by e-mail at FFVP@cde.ca.gov.
The FFVP began as the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program, authorized by Congress under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-171) in a limited number of states and schools. The purpose of the pilot was to identify best practices for increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption among students and to determine feasibility and student interest.
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) amended the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act by adding Section 19, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Section 19 authorized the program nationwide to 50 states (as well as the District of Columbia and the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) and provided significant funding increases, beginning with $40 million in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2009 and growing to $150 million by 2012. After FFY 2012, annual changes are made in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.
The goal of the FFVP is to improve healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, and to:
- Expand the fruits and vegetables children experience
- Increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption
- Make a difference in children’s diets to affect their present and future health
The program is seen as an important catalyst for change in efforts to combat childhood obesity and by helping children learn more healthful eating habits.
California first participated in the FFVP in July 2008 with 24 pilot schools and the program continues to grow each year:
- Received $12.2 million in SY 2015-16 and funded 371 school sites
- Received $11.98 million in SY 2014–15 and funded 367 school sites
- Received $11.3 million in SY 2013–14 and funded 367 school sites
- Received $11.2 million in SY 2012–13 and funded 342 school sites
- Received $10.8 million in SY 2011–12 and funded 315 school sites
- Received $7.6 million in SY 2010–11 and funded 209 school sites
- Received $5 million in SY 2009–10 and funded 144 school sites
- Received an additional $2.5 million in October 2008 and funded an additional 107 schools during School Year (SY) 2008–09
- Received $184,101 in July 2008 and funded 24 pilot schools
How Does It Work?
The USDA provides funds to the CDE NSD to administer the program according to federal requirements. The NSD provides reimbursement to selected schools for the cost of making free fresh fruits and vegetables available to students during the school day as long as funds are available. As required by federal law, the selection criteria is based on a school’s percentage of free and reduced-price enrollment with priority given to schools with the highest percentages of free and reduced-price eligible students to the maximum extent practicable. The selected elementary schools receive grant awards of $50–$75 per student for the school year. With these funds, schools purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables to serve free to students as a snack outside of normal meal service.
To be eligible for the FFVP, an agency must be a school food authority (SFA). According to Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), Section 210.2, an SFA is defined as the governing body which is responsible for the administration of one or more schools and has the legal authority to operate the program therein or be otherwise approved by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to operate the program.
The following are considered SFAs and are eligible to apply for an FFVP grant:
- School districts and county offices of education on behalf of their school sites
- Direct-funded charter schools
- Private elementary schools participating in the NSLP if 50 percent or more of their students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals
- Residential child care institutions operating an elementary school during the day and participating in the NSLP
To receive an FFVP grant, a school must meet the following minimum criteria:
- Be an elementary school
- Operate the NSLP
- Have 50 percent or more of the student enrollment eligible for free and reduced-price meals; priority is given to SFAs with the highest percentage
- Provide an implementation plan describing the snack service time and frequency, nutrition education, and collaborative partnerships
- Have documented support of the school food service manager, principal, and district superintendent
- Submit a grant application package by the deadline
- Be in good standing with the operation of all other federal child nutrition programs (CNP)
Grant Program Requirements
Schools have the flexibility to develop their own implementation plan and choose the type of produce, number of days a week, and times during the day to provide the free fresh fruit or vegetable snacks to their students. Schools are also encouraged to develop partnerships to help implement the program, such as with local universities, extension services, farmers markets, and local growers and grocers.
Schools are required to adhere to the following:
- Make free fresh fruits and vegetables available during the school day as a snack to all enrolled children outside of NSLP and SBP operation
- Offer the FFVP snack a minimum of three times per week
- Offer nutrition education at least one time per week as part of the FFVP
- Follow all food safety requirements and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point guidance
- Widely publicize the availability of fresh fruit and vegetable snacks within the school
- Implement the FFVP in accordance with the most recent guidelines by the USDA issued on their Web page: USDA FFVP Handbook for Schools (PDF)
In addition, the SFA must remain in good standing in the operation of all other federal CNPs. Good standing means an SFA is not documented as being seriously deficient in managing any USDA CNP. The SFA cannot have outstanding administrative or program findings that document violations of the requirements of any CNP (7 CFR, sections 211.10(c), 226.6(c)(3)(ii), 225.11(c), and 210.24; and the USDA FFVP Handbook for Schools (PDF), December 2010, pages 4–5).
The FFVP is a reimbursement grant; therefore, grantees must expend their own funds and then submit a claim for reimbursement to the CDE. SFAs participating in the FFVP submit monthly reimbursement claim forms to the NSD for review and approval. The NSD reimburses the SFA for the fresh fruit and vegetable, operational, and administrative costs to implement the program. Upon receipt of a claim, the NSD and the State Controller’s Office (SCO) will process the claim within 45 calendar days. Please note: once the SCO has mailed a reimbursement check, the time frame for a school to receive the payment will vary due to the practices within a specific county.
You can download the grant application package and instructions from the CDE Available Funding Web page.
The following links include current and previous school year program grant recipients and funding allocations for the FFVP:
USDA Program Resources
Nutrition Education Resources
CDE Program Resources
- FFVP California Guidelines (Coming Soon)
- FFVP User Manual for Claiming in CNIPS (Coming Soon)
Content in development.
Frequently Asked Questions
Content in development.