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California Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, administered by the California Dept of Education, provides schools with funding to offer students a free fresh fruit or vegetable snack during the school day.

Program Description

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) at the federal level. At the state level, the FFVP is administered by the California Department of Education (CDE), Nutrition Services Division (NSD). 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 and lunch programs, 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. The FFVP is a reimbursement grant program and selected schools receive a year-long grant (June–July) to implement the program. California first participated in the FFVP in July 2008 with 24 pilot schools and the program continues to grow each year.

Program Goals

The goal of the FFVP is to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, and to:

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.

Program History

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 the feasibility and students’ interest.

In 2008, 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 2009 and growing to $150 million by 2012. After fiscal year 2012, annual changes will be made in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.

How Does It Work?

A School Food Authority (SFA) must submit an application to the CDE by the deadline each year to be considered for a grant. The following are considered to be SFAs and are eligible to apply for a FFVP grant:

The State Agency (SA) is required to select elementary schools to participate that have the highest free and reduced price enrollment. Elementary schools who receive a grant are awarded $50.00–$75.00 per student for the school year. The SA identifies the per‐student funding based on total funds allocated to the state and the enrollment of applicant schools.

With these funds, schools purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables to serve free to students as a snack during the school day. Participating school sites must serve the snack outside the normal time frames for the NSLP and School Breakfast Program (SBP). The SFA determines the best method to obtain and serve the additional fresh produce within the program requirements.

The SFAs participating in the FFVP submit monthly reimbursement claim forms, which are reviewed and approved by the SA. The SA reimburses the SFA for the cost of the fresh fruits and vegetables and limited non‐food costs.

The USDA provides funds to the SA to administer the program according to federal requirements.

Program Minimum Requirements

Schools have the flexibility to develop their own implementation plan, choose the type of produce, number of days a week (at least three days per week), and times during the day (outside of NSLP and SBP operation) to provide the free fresh fruit or vegetable snacks to their students. Schools must agree to widely publicize the availability of the program. Schools must follow all food safety requirements and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point guidance. Schools are encouraged to develop partnerships to help implement the program, such as with local universities, extension services, farmer’s markets, and local growers and grocers.

At a minimum, for a school to receive a FFVP grant they must:

Program Reimbursement

The FFVP is a reimbursement grant. Therefore, grantees must expend their own funds and then submit a claim form (monthly) to the SA for reimbursement.

Payment Timeline: Upon receipt of a claim form, 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.

Program Grant Recipients

The following links include current and previous school year (SY) program grant recipients and funding allocations for the FFVP:

USDA Program Resources

FFVP Resources
Nutrition Education Resources
Program Guidelines

Program Contacts

For program questions, please contact Elizabeth Moreno, Nutrition Education Consultant, or Isabelle Le, Program Specialist, by e-mail at or by phone at 800-952-5609.

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Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
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