July 16, 2015
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Millions in Grants to Provide Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to Students
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced 371 elementary schools will share $12.2 million in federal grants to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students in low-income areas.
"Nearly three out of every five students in California are at greater risk of not having access to enough nutritious foods outside of school, which could hurt their ability to concentrate and learn," said Torlakson. "This program takes a bite out of this kind of food insecurity, providing students with the healthy food they need to succeed in careers and college."
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a federal grant designed to teach students about good nutrition. Eligible applicants for the grant include elementary schools where half the student population is low-income and the school participates in the National School Lunch Program. The schools must make fresh fruits and vegetables available during the day to all students outside of the school breakfast and lunch programs. Schools must widely publicize the availability of the program at school and may partner with other groups to support their efforts. FFVP also supports the local economy as schools purchase fresh produce from local farmers.
Many schools have already launched several successful programs funded by FFVP grants. Lodi Unified School District (USD) started a special whole-school "Farmer's Market" experience for its students. Teachers at San Francisco USD train some students to be "Snack Ambassadors" to teach other pupils about nutrition as the teachers distribute fruit and vegetable snacks in the classroom. Pajaro Valley USD offers a fruit and vegetable mix on a cart for students to easily grab and enjoy during recess.
Out of 625 schools that applied for the FFVP, 371 were selected, demonstrating that there is significant interest in the program. The list of schools receiving the grants is located on the California Department of Education's Funding Results: Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Web page.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100