NEWS

For Immediate Release      
June 8, 2009

Schools Promote Healthy Eating Habits Through Federal Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program


Schools statewide receive a total of $2.2 million to increase fruit & vegetable offerings; More students have access to healthy eating choices

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that 141 schools will participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program during the 2009-10 school year.

"This program greatly increases children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “When students combine healthy eating habits with daily exercise, the results can benefit them for a lifetime."

The 141 schools participating in the federally-funded FFVP will share equally in more than $2.2 million based on each school’s student enrollment numbers. The program requires the same amount, about $50, be allocated for each student in participating schools. Program funding runs through June 30, 2010.

FFVP provides all students in participating schools access to a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day. It allows schools to make available the additional produce anytime during the regular school day, except during breakfast and lunch when the School Lunch and Breakfast Programs are in effect.

The idea is to expose students to lifelong healthy eating habits. For example, schools can incorporate nutrition education into numerous daily classroom activities such as math, health, geography and science, by developing lesson plans involving fruits and vegetables.

According to the Fruits & Vegetables – More Matters, a public health initiative sponsored by Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over half of all elementary students nationwide eat no fruit on any given day and one-quarter of all vegetables eaten by elementary students are French fries. The national initiative encourages children and adults alike to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends children eat at least one-and-half cups of fruits and two-and-a-half cups of vegetables everyday.

The USDA first piloted the program in 2002 and it was expanded to include all states for the 2008-2009 school year. More than 400 schools statewide applied for the 2009-10 grant program. Each school will be reimbursed on a monthly basis for allowable expenses up to the school’s total awarded amount. The fresh produce purchased under this program cannot be used to replace fruits or vegetables already being served to students at breakfast or lunch.

The complete list of 141 schools in the Fresh Fruits & Vegetable Program is below. A map of the selected schools is available online at http://www.isbe.net/nutrition/pdf/fv_awardees.pdf

The complete list of 141 schools in the Fresh Fruits & Vegetable Program is below.