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California Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Provides background information, grant overview, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program guidelines, how to apply, program policy, resources, compliance, trainings, frequently asked questions, and contacts for current and potential grantees.

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 elementary 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 the 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.

Background and History

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 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).

Program Goals

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 healthy eating habits.

Program Funding

The FFVP funding is contingent upon the USDA and the amount the CDE receives. Therefore, the CDE adjusts the award per student in the first and second allocations for each school year accordingly.

Grant Overview

How Does It Work?

The USDA provides funds to the CDE NSD to administer the program according to federal requirements and the California FFVP Guidelines. The NSD provides reimbursement to selected elementary schools for the cost of operating the FFVP and providing fresh fruits and vegetables to students, free of charge and 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. To receive a grant, the school food authorities (SFA) must apply on behalf of their elementary schools. 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.

Grant Eligibility

To be eligible for the FFVP, an agency must be an 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 elementary 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 elementary school sites
  • Direct-funded charter elementary 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
      or
    • 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
      5-5, 5-6
      6-6
  • 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

Grantees 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. Grantees 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.

Grantees 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

In addition, the SFA must remain in good standing in the operation of all other federal CNPs. Good standing means an SFA cannot be documented as having an open serious deficiency in its operation of the Child and Adult Care Food Program or the Summer Food Service Program and cannot have an active reimbursement hold in the School Nutrition Program related to nonsubmission of or unacceptable corrective action documentation (7 CFR, sections 226.6[c][3][iii], 225.11[c], and 210.24 respectively).

Grant Reimbursement

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.

Grant Recipients

You can access the current and precious school year program grant recipients and funding allocations for the FFVP from the CDE Funding Results web page. After selecting the link, you will need to search by fiscal year and type in FFVP under key words, then search. This will bring up the FFVP Funding Results links for current and precious years. You can also access the FFVP Funding Results links from the CDE Rates, Eligibility Scales, and Funding web page, under the Grants section.

CA FFVP Guidelines

The CDE NSD has developed further guidelines with input from the USDA Western Regional Office to supplement the USDA FFVP: Handbook for SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). These guidelines were created to help school food authorities (SFA) and participating elementary schools implement the FFVP in an effective manner.

The guidelines address 11 main topic areas:

  1. Snack Frequency and Serving Times
  2. Allowable Fruits and Vegetables
  3. Nutrition Education
  4. FFVP Reimbursement Claim Process
  5. FFVP Claim Due Dates
  6. One-time Exception
  7. Personnel Activity Reporting
  8. FFVP Administrative Review Process
  9. Good Standing Status
  10. Grant Appeal Procedures
  11. Final Report

1. Snack Frequency and Serving Times

The purpose of the FFVP is to offer a free fresh fruit or vegetable snack to all students in the participating elementary school.

  • Frequency: Grantees are expected to serve the FFVP snack a minimum of three times per week in a participating school during the school year.

  • Serving Times: Grantees are only allowed to serve the FFVP snack during the school day between the regular hours of school operation (e.g., during mid-morning break, before recess, afternoon nutrition breaks, etc.). Grantees may not operate the FFVP before or after school, or during lunch or breakfast periods.

  • Farmers' Market: Farmers' Market set up is allowed once a year as the FFVP snack service and must be eaten during the school day, outside of other meal times. All fruits and vegetables served during this event must follow the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles, such as washing foods prior to consumption.

2. Allowable Fruits and Vegetables

The following lists include the kinds of fruits and vegetables that can and cannot be purchased with FFVP grant funds and served to students. Most of the items listed are provided in the USDA FFVP: Handbook for SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). However, those items that are bolded have been added for clarification for California grantees.

Allowable Items:

  • Whole or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Condiments: lemons, limes, or chili powder can be used as a condiment to be served with vegetables

  • Vegetable dips are allowed if they are low-fat, yogurt-based, or other low-fat or fat-free (nonfat) dips

    • All dip serving sizes cannot exceed 1 to 2 tablespoons (2 ounces)

    • Please note that low-fat or non-fat hummus, peanut butter, and sun butter may be served with vegetables once a month due to the high fat content

  • Fresh vegetables that are cooked must be limited to once a week and served only as part of a nutrition education lesson

Unallowable Items:

  • Processed or preserved fruits and vegetables (i.e., canned, frozen, vacuum-packed, or dried)

  • Fruit leather or jellied fruit

  • Dips for fruit or cottage cheese

  • Fruit or vegetable juice

  • Smoothies

  • Trail mixes or nuts

  • Fruit/vegetable pizza

  • Fruit that has been injected with flavorings

  • Carbonated fruit

  • Most nonfood items, except those allowed under supplies and administrative operational costs

If you have any questions about which fruits and vegetables are allowed to be served in the FFVP, please contact CDE staff for assistance before making any purchases.

3. Nutrition Education

Grantees are expected to provide nutrition education to all students, a minimum of one time per week.

The nutrition education provided can vary in length and content.

  • For example, nutrition education can be as easy as teaching students where the featured fruit or vegetable is grown, and its nutrition/health benefits, etc. In addition, nutrition education may be part of a core curriculum, such as health or science classes.
  • The goal is for nutrition education to be incorporated into the elementary school’s curriculum.
  • Please note that FFVP funds cannot be used to purchase nutrition education materials or promotional items.

4. FFVP Reimbursement Claim Process

The California FFVP reimbursement claim is available in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS). The SFA must submit monthly claims electronically in CNIPS to receive reimbursement. The CDE will not accept paper claim forms. Please refer to the FFVP User Manual for Claiming in CNIPS for specific information on the entire reimbursement claim process and how to enter a claim for payment, found in Resources on the CDE California FFVP web page.

Claim requirements: Monthly FFVP claims should be submitted within 30 days from the end of the previous month (e.g., the November FFVP reimbursement claim submitted by December 30). Similar to the NSLP, FFVP claims will not be paid if they are submitted 60 days or more after the end of the month for which you are claiming reimbursement. Refer to the USDA FFVP: Handbook for SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), December 2010, Page 25; and 7 CFR, Section 210.8 (b)(1). An SFA can request a one-time exception, once every 36 months, to receive payment for a claim submitted after the 60-day deadline. Additional details provided in "One-time Exception" section below.

Grantees must maintain financial records (copies of invoices or purchase orders) for at least three years beyond the grant period for auditing purposes.

Allowable reimbursement expenses for the FFVP grant fall into three categories: (1) fresh fruits and vegetables, (2) operating costs, and (3) administrative costs. The allowable costs under these categories may be different from those in the NSLP.

  1. Fresh fruits and vegetables: California guidelines require the SFA to spend a minimum of 70 percent of the total award on the direct purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. Participating elementary schools must document fruit and vegetable expenses that are directly related to the FFVP.

  2. Operating costs: Participating elementary schools must maintain documentation related to operating expenses for acquiring, delivering, preparing, and serving fruits and vegetables through the FFVP. These operating cost expenses may include:
    • Small supplies (napkins, paper plates, serving bowls, trash bags, etc.)

    • Produce delivery charges

    • Direct labor charges (salaries and fringe benefits for employees who prepare, serve, or deliver fresh fruits and vegetables)
  1. Administrative costs: The USDA has established a maximum that SFAs can spend on administrative costs—up to 10 percent of the grant award. Participating elementary schools must document administrative costs including equipment purchases, leasing, and labor costs that are not directly related to the preparing and serving of fresh fruits and vegetables, but are necessary to administer the program. Participating elementary schools must prorate expenses as needed to ensure that only the FFVP portion of the administrative expense is charged to the FFVP.

Equipment purchases: According to the CA FFVP guidelines, grantees are required to obtain prior approval from the NSD before purchasing the equipment with a cost per unit amount of $300 or more. An SFA must complete an Equipment Justification Form and submit it to the NSD. This form (Form ID SNP 66 FFVP) can be downloaded from CNIPS in the Download Forms section. If the equipment is being shared with another program, equipment purchases must be prorated as appropriate.

Unallowable costs: FFVP funds cannot be used to purchase nutrition education materials, nor can they be used to purchase promotional items or fund activities.

Disallowed costs: Unless grantees contact the CDE in advance of an issue, items within a claim will be disallowed, and subsequently not paid, for reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Significant concerns about purchases
  • Incomplete claims
  • Claim errors
  • Claim total to date exceeds total allocation amount
  • Total year-to-date administrative expense claim amount exceeds 10 percent of the participating elementary school’s total grant award limit.

5. FFVP Claim Due Dates

The FFVP claim submission due dates are based on the School Nutrition Program (SNP) deadlines to submit claims in CNIPS for reimbursement. All FFVP claims should be submitted within 30 days after the end of the claim month and must be no later than the SNP claim submission deadlines. The SNP claim due dates are posted annually and are available on the CDE SNP Claim Submission Deadlines Web page.
Due Dates for Each Grant Period
Claim Month Claim Submission Date (30 days from end of month that is being claimed) Submission Deadline (60-day)—after which claim cannot be paid

July

August 30

September 29

August

September 30

October 30

September

October 30

November 29

October

November 30

December 30

November

December 30

January 29

December

January 30

March 1

January

March 2

April 1

February

March 30

April 29

March

April 30

May 30

April

May 30

June 29

May

June 30

July 30

June

July 30

August 29

6. One-time Exception

The USDA allows the CDE to grant a one-time exception to an agency once every 36 months for each program type, including the FFVP. The one-time exception is used when an agency submits a claim or modifies a claim after the 60-day submission deadline.

Per Management Bulletin (MB) NSD-CNP-08-2014, the CDE limits the use of the one-time exception to the federal fiscal year in which the claim was late and requires the exception request be submitted to the CDE by December 15 following the applicable federal fiscal year (October 1–September 30). For example, ABC agency does not submit its January claim for reimbursement by April 1 (claim submission deadline). The agency has not submitted a one-time exception request in the past 36 months. If ABC Agency decides to use its one-time exception, it must submit the request to the NSD by December 15. If you need to request a one-time exception, please contact the FFVP team by email at FFVP@cde.ca.gov, for the necessary one-time exception Corrective Action Form.

7. Personnel Activity Reporting

Please note that any personnel expenses charged to the FFVP grant require payroll documentation and personnel activity reporting (PAR). State guidance, the California School Accounting Manual (CSAM, 2019 Edition) (PDF), and federal regulations, Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR) Part 200.430 (x) (4)External link opens in new window or tab., govern payroll documentation. Whether the employee working on the FFVP also works on other federally funded programs will determine the type of time distribution records needed.

Employees who work on a single object code (such as the FFVP only) must maintain a semiannual certification that is:

  • Certifying the employee works solely on that program/cost object

  • Prepared at least semiannually

  • Signed by the employee or supervisor

CSAM Procedure 905 “Documenting Salaries and Wages,” provides an example of a semiannual certification.

Employees who work on multiple cost objectives (such as the FFVP and the NSLP), if not using a substitute system, must maintain PARs that:

  • Reflect an after-the-fact distribution of the actual activity of each employee

  • Account for the total activity each employee is compensated

  • Are prepared at least monthly and coincide with one or more pay periods

  • Are signed by the employee

For information about the cafeteria fund, please visit the CDE Cafeteria Fund Web page or contact the CDE Cafeteria Fund Team by email at SNPCAFEFUNDQUESTIONS@cde.ca.gov.

8. FFVP Administrative Review Process

As a condition of receiving FFVP funds from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, the CDE is federally required to perform reviews of the grantees' FFVP operations. Refer to the USDA FFVP: Handbook for SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), December 2010, page 26).

The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, as amended by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, requires state agencies to adhere to an accountability system that conducts administrative reviews (AR) to evaluate program requirements of the NSLP and SBP, as well as other federal child nutrition programs (CNP), on a three-year cycle.

The FFVP is included in the AR. Therefore, SFAs that are scheduled for an AR will also have a review of the FFVP at one or more participating elementary school sites.

The AR for the FFVP will include: (1) claim validation and (2) an on-site review. The NSD field services staff conducts the on-site review, are responsible for comprehensive AR monitoring, and conducts the off-site claim validation.

The components of the FFVP review are described below.

Claim Validation (off-site):

  • The NSD reviewer will validate one claim for reimbursement for each FFVP elementary school selected for review.

  • The SFA will provide supporting cost documentation for the one month claim. The NSD reviewers will compare the total cost claimed for reimbursement against the total cost established by the supporting cost documentation. The NSD reviewer will determine if the elementary school:

    • Uses the majority of funds to purchase fresh produce

    • Reviews and prorates equipment purchase

    • Ensures that labor costs and all other nonfood costs are minimal

    • Plans to charge no more than 10 percent of the total grant to administrative costs

  • The SFA will be in compliance if claimed items are allowable and claim costs can be validated with supporting cost documentation.

On-Site Review:

  • The NSD field reviewer will observe the FFVP operation in each of the selected elementary schools. The reviewer will observe whether the:

    • FFVP is available to all enrolled children

    • FFVP is free of charge

    • School offers the FFVP within the school day, but outside the meal service times of the NSLP and SBP

    • School widely publicizes the FFVP

    • School does not serve products that are unallowable according to the USDA FFVP: Handbook for SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

    • School provides dip for vegetables only and is either low-fat or fat-free (nonfat) and the serving is no larger than 2 tablespoons

    • School does not provide fresh fruits and vegetables to adults except for teachers who are in the classroom with students during the FFVP food service

    • The school offers a cooked vegetable no more than one per week and only when included as part of a nutrition education lesson

    • FFVP food service follows the HACCP principles and applicable sanitation and health standards

  • The SFA will be in compliance if each of the FFVP schools selected for review complies with the guidance listed above.

9. Good Standing Status

To be eligible and receive an FFVP grant, SFAs currently participating in any of the federal CNPs, must be in good standing in the operation of those programs. They must also be in compliance with all related regulations during the application process and anytime during the course of the grant period.

This means that an SFA cannot be documented as having an open serious deficiency in its operation of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) or the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and cannot have an active reimbursement hold in the SNP related to nonsubmission of or unacceptable corrective action documentation (7 CFR, sections 226.6[c][3][iii], 225.11[c], and 210.24 respectively).

If an SFA knowingly submits false information on its grant application or invoices, the CDE may deny or collect the agency’s grant funding.

The following criteria are considered when determining good standing. Any of the factors below may affect your agency’s eligibility to receive grant funding:

  • Open serious deficiencies in the CACFP or SFSP (7 CFR, sections 226.6[c][3][iii] and 225.11[c])

  • SNP reimbursement holds (7 CFR, Section 210.24)

  • Failure to attend mandatory training (CACFP, SFSP, and SNP) (7 CFR, sections 226.16[l][2][viii], 225.7[a], and 210.24)

  • Failure to report or submit required documents (CACFP, Food Distribution Program [FDP], SFSP, and SNP) (7 CFR, sections 226.16[b][2], 240.14[c], and 250.12[c], 225.6[c], 210.15[a])

  • Outstanding account receivables (that are not currently being offset) and have aged beyond 30 calendar days (CACFP, FDP, SFSP, and SNP) (7 CFR, sections 226.14, 225.12, and 210.19[c], State Administrative Manual–Nonemployee Accounts Receivable–Section 8776.6, and MB NSD-FDP-01-2011)

  • Fiscal accountability findings identified during the agency’s last review or audit (CACFP, SFSP, and SNP) (7 CFR, sections 226.6[b][2][vii][A][1], [2], and [3], 225.14[c][1], 210.19[a][1])

  • Administrative capability findings identified during the agency’s last review or audit (CACFP and SFSP) (7 CFR, sections 226.6[b][2][vii][B] and 225.14[c][1])

  • Excess net cash resources (CACFP, SFSP, and SNP) (MB NSD-CACFP-07-2011; FNS 796-2, Rev. 4, page 7, Section [IV][D]; and 7 CFR, sections 226.15[e][13], 210.9[b][2], 210.14[b], and 210.19[a][1])
State Monitoring

A grantee will be notified if there is concern about their good standing status during the course of the grant year. As a result, the CDE reserves the right to remove grantees from the FFVP and disallow them from receiving future FFVP grants if the CDE has documented concerns with the grantee’s good standing status or their ability to implement the FFVP (i.e., grantee is not implementing the FFVP in accordance with the USDA FFVP: Handbook for SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) or the California FFVP Guidelines.

Over the course of the FFVP grant period, grantees are expected to spend 75–100 percent of their total award. Therefore, the CDE will monitor a grantee’s spending pattern throughout the grant period. If there are documented concerns that grantees are under spending, this may detract from a grantee’s good standing status, and may result in an SFA being disallowed from receiving a future FFVP grant.

In addition, the CDE expects all grantees to implement the FFVP when their school begins. If the SFA has any participating FFVP elementary schools that have not implemented the FFVP by October 16 of the grant year, the CDE will amend the second allocation award of the school to zero dollars and remove the school from the FFVP.

10. Grant Appeal Procedures

Applicants that wish to appeal a grant award decision must submit a letter of appeal to the NSD. Appeals are limited to the grounds that the NSD failed to correctly apply the criteria for reviewing the application as specified in the request for applications.

Once applicants are notified that the grant awards are posted, your agency will have 10 calendar days to contact the NSD to request information regarding the reason for your grant denial. The NSD will have 10 calendar days to provide a written response (through e-mail, fax, or certified mail).

If after receiving the NSD’s written response your agency wishes to file an appeal, your agency must send a completed appeal request form. This form is included as part of the FFVP grant application. Submit the form to:

Kim Frinzell, Director
Nutrition Services Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 4503
Sacramento, CA 95814

The completed appeal request must be postmarked no later than 15 calendar days after receipt of the NSD’s initial written response detailing the reason for denying grant funding. Once submitted, the NSD shall acknowledge the receipt of the appeal request within 10 calendar days. All appeals will be based on written record alone.

Written documentation for all appeals must be submitted within 30 calendar days from the receipt date of the NSD’s initial written response detailing the reason for denying grant funding. All documentation must be sent to the address identified above.

The NSD Director or designee will review the appeal documentation from the applicant and the NSD. The applicant will be notified in writing of the NSD’s determination within 60 calendar days from the date the CDE received the appeal request.

The NSD’s initial decision of denying grant funding shall remain in effect during the appeal process.

11. Final Report

The CDE requires all FFVP grantees to complete a final report at the close of the grant period. This report is essential for the CDE to understand how the program is being operated statewide. Upon review of the final reports, the CDE will consider how to further improve the program and share the information with California FFVP grantees and the USDA. The Final Report may include questions about FFVP implementation strategies, nutrition education provided, program barriers, and partnerships or collaborations that assisted with the implementation of the FFVP.

The CDE will provide grantees a final report template in April of each grant period. Grantees must return the final report to the CDE no later than 30 days after the end of the grant period (July 30).

How to Apply for the California FFVP Grant

Request for Application

The CDE FFVP Grant Request for Applications (RFA) is an online application. The grant period is July 1 through June 30 of each school year.

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 elementary school interested in applying for the FFVP grant. This includes current FFVP grantees and new applicants.

Grant Application

You can download the grant application package and instructions from the Search CDE Funding web page. After selecting the link, you will need to type in FFVP under keywords, then search. This will bring up the FFVP RFA links for current and previous years. You can also access the FFVP RFA links from the CDE Rates, Eligibility Scales, and Funding web page under the Grants section.

Grant Eligibility

All eligible SFAs may receive an FFVP grant on behalf of the awarded elementary school sites. Examples of eligible SFAs include school districts, County Offices of Education, charter schools, private schools, or residential child care institutions operating the NSLP.

Information about the FFVP grant eligibility and program requirements is available in the Grant Overview on the CDE California FFVP web page. 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 pageExternal link opens in new window or tab..

Tips for Completing Applications

  1. Gather all of the requested information before you submit your application. 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.

  2. Print a hard copy or PDF of the entire application from the first screen of the application before entering any responses.

  3. Save each application, so you can return to it later. 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.)

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.

Applicant Information

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:

  • Name
  • Address
  • 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 elementary school site applying to receive the FFVP grant. Please allow enough time to collect this information for each elementary school site before beginning the application online. The applicant must provide school site identification information including:

  • Name
  • Address
  • 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:

  1. Total enrollment from October of the previous school year and
    Total number of students eligible for free and reduced price meals

    or

  2. Total enrollment from October of the previous school year and
    Provision 1, 2, or 3 and the most current Provision Base Year

    or

  3. Total enrollment from October of the previous school year and
    Individual School Percentage (ISP) for the Community Eligibility Provision

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 on the CDE California FFVP web page and the USDA FFVP: Handbook for SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

Each site application must describe the elementary 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 elementary 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 Director (or designee)
  • CNIPS Claim Administrator
  • School Principal

Submission

The FFVP grant applications must be completed and submitted online. The CDE will not consider email or hard copy applications as a complete submission.

Once the application is submitted, the CDE will provide a confirmation email to all of the contacts included in the School Support Team Form.

Please visit the FFVP Funding Profile web page for status updates.

Policy Guidance

USDA Proposed Rules for the FFVP: The USDA published Proposed Rules for the FFVPExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) (7 CFR, parts 211 and 235) in February 2012. The USDA has not yet published final regulations; therefore, changes to the FFVP operating requirements may occur once the final regulations are enacted. All California schools that receive an FFVP grant are expected to follow: (1) the California FFVP Guidelines on the CDE California FFVP web page and (2) the USDA FFVP: A Handbook for SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab.(PDF).

USDA FFVP Policy Memos: The FFVP Program Policy Memos can be found on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Documents and Resources web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab..

Resources

General Resources

Resource Description
CDE FFVP Brochure (PDF) The FFVP brochure provides a general overview about the FFVP grant opportunity for schools, FFVP resources, and can be used as a great outreach tool for schools to publicize the FFVP.
FFVP User Manual for Claiming in CNIPS (DOCX) The FFVP User Manual for Claiming in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) provides specific information on the entire reimbursement claim process and how to enter a claim for payment in CNIPS for FFVP.
USDA FFVP Fact SheetExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) The FFVP Fact Sheet provides the goals of the FFVP and encourages healthier school environments by promoting nutrition education.
USDA FFVP Resource Center web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab. The FFVP Resource Center provides resources, webcasts and webinars, sample forms, partners information, and related websites for the FFVP.
USDA FFVP web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab. The USDA FFVP web page provides information about the USDA FFVP, a program fact sheet, and the What’s New and Spotlights sections.
USDA FFVP: A Handbook for SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). The FFVP: A Handbook for Schools is a handbook for the USDA FFVP. It includes program introduction, history, administration, eligibility, procurement, reimbursement, recordkeeping, food safety, and Q&As.

Nutrition Education Resources

Resource Description
CDE California’s Farm to Child Nutrition Programs web page The CDE supports the USDA child nutrition programs (CNP) to incorporate a farm to school program into their existing food service operation by increasing children’s acceptance and consumption of fresh meals and foster a life-long appreciation of where nutritious food comes from.
USDA Team Nutrition web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab. Team Nutrition is an initiative of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to support the CNPs through training and technical assistance for food service, nutrition education for children and their caregivers, and school and community support for healthy eating and physical activity.
USDA Choose MyPlate web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab. MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image—a place setting for a meal. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate, in your cup, or in your bowl.
USDA Community Food Systems web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab. The Office of Community Food Systems (OCFS) helps CNP operators incorporate local foods in the NSLP and its associated programs, as well as the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. In addition, OCFS staff works with tribal communities to respond to their desire to better incorporate traditional foods into our meal programs. OCFS accomplishes this through grant making, training and technical assistance, and research.
CDPH Harvest of the Month web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab. Harvest of the Month features ready-to-go tools and resources that can be used in diverse applications to support healthy eating and daily physical activity. These tools and resources can be used in a variety of settings.
Center for Ecoliteracy California Food for California Kids web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab. California Food for California Kids provides an array of programs, resources, and inspiration for school food service professionals, educators, and school communities. One of its goals is to increase students’ ecological understanding about where their food comes from and how it reaches the table. Free downloadable resources include lessons, guides, recipes, essays, tips, studies, tools, and more.

 

Compliance

The CDE monitors the FFVP compliance during the Administrative Review (AR). ARs occur approximately every three years. The CDE provides technical assistance when the standards are not met. There will be an off-site assessment (OAT) and an on-site review. Please see the following AR guidance:

  • AR OAT Guidance:
    Sponsors are required to fill out the OAT prior to the on-site review. To download the OAT guidance in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS)External link opens in new window or tab., select School Nutrition Programs (SNP), applications, downloadable forms, and Form ID SNP 58 AR. For FFVP, refer to page 26.
  • AR Guidance Chart:  
    Once the OAT is completed, the AR reviewer conducts an on-site review to validate the information submitted in the OAT and to observe the operation of programs at the school food authority and in selected schools. Prior to the on-site AR, the state reviewer sends sponsors the Administrative Review Guidance Chart, so sponsors can prepare all required documents for the on-site AR. To download the guidance chart in CNIPS, select SNP, applications, downloadable forms, and Form ID SNP 42. For FFVP, refer to page 26.
  • USDA AR Manual 2018–19:  
    USDA Food and Nutrition Service provides general guidance to state agencies on the areas of review. For complete transparency and to download the AR Manual in CNIPS, select SNP, applications, downloadable forms, and Form ID MANUAL AR. For FFVP, refer to pages 212–216.

For more information regarding ARs, you can visit the CDE SNP AR web page.

Online Trainings

Currently, there are three CDE FFVP training videos that you may view on the YouTube ChannelExternal link opens in new window or tab.. Below are the descriptions and topics that will be covered in the trainings, such as: the FFVP grant requirements, the roles and responsibilities of the school food authorities (SFA) operating the FFVP and the CDE, and the claiming process.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. FFVP Orientation: Claiming in CNIPS

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

1. Can we apply for the grant if we are a small charter school or residential child care institution (RCCI)?

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.

2. Do we need to serve FFVP snacks three times a week during short school weeks?

No. You may have fewer offerings during a short week as long as the average weekly offering is three days a week.

3. Can we offer the FFVP snack every day?

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.

4. Are menu production records required?

No. However, schools must maintain supporting documentation for all the expenses charged to the grant and claimed for reimbursement.

5. Can we buy equipment and supplies or pay for labor with FFVP funding?

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.

6. 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?

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 ManualExternal link opens in new window or tab. (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.

7. Can we purchase and serve precut and packaged fresh fruits and vegetables from a vendor?

Yes. Schools are encouraged to partner with local farmers as well as provide a variety of fruits and vegetables.

8. Do we track participation in FFVP?

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.

9. Can processed fruit or vegetables be served once per week?

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.

10. Do teachers need to teach a nutrition lesson daily or weekly if we offer it five days a week?

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.

11. Can we offer the FFVP snack in the classroom as part of our nutrition education or health curriculum?

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.

12. Can schools bid FFVP, NSLP, and SBP produce purchases together?

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.

13. Can we purchase and serve exotic fruits?

Yes. You can purchase and serve exotic fruits in the FFVP. Remember to follow the procurement and Buy American requirements and make sure to keep documentation for all purchases. Exotic fruits are often very costly, so you will need to monitor expenditures so as not to exceed budget. Some of the exotic fruits are not readily available for student use at home, but the education and exposure is valuable. To offset high cost items, select a variety of local seasonal options. Remember the intent of the FFVP is to encourage students to consume more fruits and vegetables on the meal program and at home.

14. Does the nutrition education flyer posted on the FFVP cart meet the nutrition education requirement?

Nutrition education is expected to be delivered to all students a minimum of one time per week. The nutrition education flyer posted on the FFVP cart during the FFVP service might not be read or noticed by all students. Thus, the information on your flyer also needs to be shared with the students in other ways.

Contacts

For general questions and program issues, contact the CDE FFVP Team by phone at 800-952-5609 or by email at FFVP@cde.ca.gov.

For questions about submitting monthly claims or equipment justification forms, contact the CDE claims representatives by email at FFVPClaim@cde.ca.gov.

For questions about the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) or technical difficulties, contact the CNIPS help desk by phone at 800-952-5609, Option 6, or by email at CNIPS@cde.ca.gov.

Follow @CDENutrition on Twitter.

 

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, March 06, 2020
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