California Fresh Fruit and Vegetable ProgramThe Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), administered by the California Dept of Education (CDE), provides schools with funding to offer students a free fresh fruit or vegetable snack during the school day.
The FFVP is a reimbursement grant program that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers at the federal level. At the state level, the 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 and the National School Lunch Program, 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 FFVP. 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 $12.7 million in School Year (SY) 2016–17 and funded 403 school sites
- 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 SY 2008–2009
- 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
An elementary school is defined as:
- A school that contains one or more grades kindergarten to fourth, and no grade higher than eighth
- A school that contains one or more grades fifth to sixth only
An elementary school includes the following grade spans:
K-K, K-1, K-2, K-3, K-4, K-5, K-6, K-7, K-8
1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8
2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 2-5, 2-6, 2-7, 2-8
3-3, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 3-7, 3-8
4-4, 4-5, 4-6, 4-7
- A school that contains one or more grades kindergarten to fourth, and no grade higher than eighth
- 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 at 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][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:
CDE Program Resources
USDA Program Resources
Nutrition Education Resources
The training modules listed below provide a detailed review of the FFVP grant requirements, school food authority (SFA) and state responsibilities, and the claiming process. You may view the following training videos on the CDE FFVP YouTube Channel .
Module I—FFVP Orientation: Grant Overview
FFVP Orientation: Grant Overview Video includes an overview of the FFVP’s purpose and history, grant implementation guidelines, funding timelines, and program monitoring. Upon completion of this module, participants will have a foundation for understanding the FFVP requirements.
Module II—FFVP Orientation: Fiscal Responsibilities
FFVP Orientation: Fiscal Responsibilities Video includes an overview of FFVP funding and expenditures categories as well as the specific fiscal responsibilities of the SFA and the state agency relating to the FFVP. Upon completion of this module, participants will understand the fiscal responsibilities of schools implementing the FFVP.
Module III—FFVP Claims
FFVP Claiming in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) Video includes an overview of the CNIPS claim entry application and step by step instruction on how to submit, modify, revise, and delete an FFVP claim. Upon completion of this module, participants will understand how to successfully complete and submit their FFVP claims in CNIPS.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can we apply for the grant if we are a small charter school or residential child care institution (RCCI)?
Answer: Yes. However, charter schools must be elementary schools and operate the NSLP. In addition, RCCIs must operate an elementary school during the day and operate the NSLP.
Question: Do we need to serve FFVP snacks three times a week during short school weeks?
Answer: No. You may have fewer offerings during a short week as long as the average weekly offering is three days a week.
Question: Can we offer the FFVP snack every day?
Answer: Yes. In California, the CDE requires schools to offer the FFVP at a minimum of three times a week. However, each grantee implements the program based on a budget that fits their enrollment and award per school site, and may find it possible to offer the snack more frequently.
Question: Are menu production records required?
Answer: No. However, schools must maintain supporting documentation for all the expenses charged to the grant and claimed for reimbursement.
Question: Can we buy equipment and supplies or pay for labor with FFVP funding?
Answer: Yes. Up to 30 percent of the grant award is available for operating costs directly related to FFVP and up to 10 percent of the grant award is allowed for administrative costs. An equipment justification form must be submitted to the CDE for approval prior to purchasing any equipment over $300. Please note: schools claiming labor costs must follow state guidance, the California School Accounting Manual, located on the CDE Definitions, Instructions, and Procedures Web page, and Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 200.430. Additional guidance from the CDE regarding direct and indirect costs, equipment purchases, and payroll documentation is available in Management Bulletin (MB) SNP-06-2014, Documenting Employee Time and Effort in Federal School Nutrition Programs and MB SNP-07-2013 Cafeteria Funds—Allowable Uses.
Question: If we have leftovers from the FFVP and we added the leftovers to the salad bar, would we be able to count the salad as a meal component because we added it to the salad bar?
Answer: No. Leftovers that cannot be easily used in the FFVP can be added to the meal program line as “extra food” only to avoid waste. According to the 2014–15 USDA Offer vs. Serve Manual (PDF),“extra food” cannot be used to fulfill a meal component and must be accounted for in the weekly dietary specifications (calories, saturated fat, and sodium) to ensure compliance with the USDA New Meal Pattern.
Question: Can we purchase and serve precut and packaged fresh fruits and vegetables from a vendor?
Answer: Yes. Schools are encouraged to partner with local farmers as well as provide a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Question: Do we track participation in FFVP?
Answer: No. The FFVP must be offered to all enrolled students at the school, but a grantee does not need to count the students who take the snack. However, schools are required to track how many days per week and days per month the FFVP is offered at each school site. This information is part of the claim.
Question: Can processed fruit or vegetables be served once per week?
Answer: No. Processed fruit and vegetables are not allowed. A fresh vegetable can be cooked and served once a week as part of the FFVP if it is paired with a nutrition lesson.
Question: Do teachers need to teach a nutrition lesson daily or weekly if we offer it five days a week?
Answer: No. Nutrition education only needs to occur one time per week even if you offer the snack five days per week. However, we encourage sharing nutrition information with each snack offering. Links to free sources of nutrition education are available on the CDE FFVP Resources Web page.
Question: Can we offer the FFVP snack in the classroom as part of our nutrition education or health curriculum?
Answer: Yes. California requires schools to provide nutrition education at least once a week as part of the FFVP. The type of nutrition education is flexible and it is up to the school site to decide how detailed the nutrition activity or lessons may be.
Question: Can schools bid FFVP, NSLP, and SBP produce purchases together?
Answer: Yes. However, schools must be able to document which items are purchased for the FFVP because the funding for FFVP is separate from the meal programs.
How to Apply
How to Apply for the California FFVP Grant
Request for Application Timeline
The California Department of Education (CDE) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) Grant Request for Applications (RFA) is an online application.
The CDE releases the FFVP Grant RFA on the CDE Available Funding Web page in the spring of each school year, if funding is available.
All eligible School Food Authorities (SFA) must submit a separate online application for each school interested in applying for the 2018–19 FFVP Grant. This includes current FFVP grantees (2017–18) and new applicants.
The application for grant period July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 is due no later than March 15, 2018, at 4 p.m. Pacific time.
At that time, the online application will close and applications will no longer be accepted.
The CDE will not consider e-mail or hard copy applications as a complete submission.
Please review the FFVP Funding Profile Web page for status updates.
All eligible SFAs may receive an FFVP grant on behalf of the awarded school sites. Examples of eligible SFAs include school districts, County Offices of Education, charter schools, private schools, or residential child care institutions operating the National School Lunch Program.
Information about the FFVP grant eligibility and program requirements is available on the CDE FFVP Web page Grant Overview tab. Applicants that do not meet the FFVP grant eligibility and program requirements will not be awarded and should not apply.
General Assurances and Certifications
General assurances and certifications are requirements for applicants and grantees as a condition of receiving funds. Applicants do not need to sign and return the general assurances and certification with the application; instead, they must download them and keep on file to be available for compliance reviews, complaint investigations, or audits.
Applicants that participate in the consolidated application should already have a copy of the general assurances and certifications on file and do not need to keep a separate copy. The general assurances and certifications can be accessed on the CDE Funding Forms Web page.
Applicants and grantees, if funded, as a condition of receiving funds must agree to comply with the federal Uniform Administrative Requirements. For more information, visit the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 200, Web page .
The CDE will use the SFA and school identification information provided in the application to verify that all of the grant criteria is met. Applicants must provide the SFA’s:
- Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) identification number
- Vendor number
- County number
This information can be verified in the CDE CNIPS.
The SFA must submit a RFA online for each school site applying to receive the FFVP grant. Please allow enough time to collect this information for each school site before beginning the application online. The applicant must provide school site identification information including:
- County District School (CDS) code
- CNIPS site number
- Vendor number or charter number
- Grade levels
CDS codes are 14 digits long and, for this application, must be submitted without hyphens or spaces. For example: 12345678901234. You may search for or verify the CDS Code for this site on the CDE California School Directory Web page.
The school site identification information also includes:
- Total enrollment from October 2017
- Total number of students eligible for free and reduced price meals
- Provision 1,2, 3, or Community Eligibility Provision percentage
School site identification information is available in the CDE CNIPS. If you do not have access to the CNIPS please contact your district school nutrition program operator or claim administrator.
School Site Implementation Plan
All sites must agree to meet the requirements of the California FFVP Guidelines and USDA FFVP: Handbook for Schools . Before submitting the implementation plan, please read the USDA FFVP: A Handbook for Schools and the California FFVP Guidelines.
Each site application must describe the school’s implementation plan including:
- Who will participate in the preparation, distribution, and service of the FFVP snack to students
- Location where students will receive the FFVP snack
- Frequency per week of the FFVP snack offerings
- Time of the FFVP snack offerings (must be during the school day and outside of meal program time)
- Method of FFVP snack delivery to students
- How staff will provide nutrition education at least once per week, including the method, frequency, and curricula or general content for nutrition education
- What school site partnership activities (current or planned) will assist the school to implement the FFVP, including organizations that will help with fruit and vegetable acquisition, handling, promotion, and distribution; nutrition education; or other activities that contribute to the goals of the FFVP
School Grant Team Support Form
To qualify for a grant, the USDA requires that each school must have the documented support of the district superintendent, school principal, and school food service manager or director. In addition, each grant team support form must identify the primary grant contact and the CNIPS claim administrator.
By completing the application, each member of the grant team is signifying that they agree to the general assurances and certifications (including drug-free workplace, lobbying, debarment, and suspension), and terms of this program for all site applications identified with this SFA. The school support team includes:
- School Superintendent (or designee)
- Food Service Manager (or Director)
- CNIPS Claims Administrator
- School Principal
Once the application is submitted, the CDE will provide a confirmation e-mail to all of the contacts included in the School Support Team Form.
Tips for Completing Applications
Gather all of the requested information before you submit your application.
Print a hard copy or PDF of the entire application from the first screen of the application before entering any responses.
For ease of editing and formatting, draft your answers to the questions in a Word document and then cut and paste them into the online application.
Save each application, so you can return to it later. The CDE will provide two options to save and return to the saved application. You can:
- Save the unique URL to the online application as a bookmark or add to Favorites in your Web browser. (We recommend that you save the link by school site, if you are submitting more than one application.)
- Provide your e-mail address and the CDE will e-mail you the unique URL to return to the saved application.
Before you submit the application online, print, and review the application for completion, grammar, and accuracy.
Print and save a hard copy of your responses for your records. You will not have access to your completed application after it is submitted.
How to Apply for the California FFVP Grant Webinar
Learn how to complete the CDE Request for Applications for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program online for the 2018–19 school year.
Date: Thursday, February 8, 2018
Time: 9:30–10:30 a.m.
Registration: Preregistration is not required for this Webinar. Prior to the event, participants will access the How to Apply for the California FFVP Grant Webinar Web page and use the following information to login:
Event number: 665 065 063
Event password: 147755
Attendees will be provided a call in number with special identification after login and will need to call in using a phone in order to listen to the Webinar.
The NSD currently offers Webinars using the Cisco WebEx service. Please test your computer’s compatibility to make sure it is ready to use WebEx prior to attending a Webinar session by visiting the WebEx Join a Test Meeting Web page . If you experience issues joining the meeting, contact WebEx support by phone at 866-229-3239.
For further assistance, please contact the CDE FFVP Team by e-mail at FFVP@cde.ca.gov.