News

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2011

Schools statewide receive a total of $4.7 million to increase fruit and vegetable offerings; More students have access to healthy eating choices

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that 215 schools in Illinois will participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) during the 2011-12 school year. The public and private schools will share equally in more than $4.7 million, up from last year’s grant amount of $3.3 million that served 186 schools.

“Thanks to these federal funds, more children will have access to a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day as well as lesson plans that underscore their importance,” said Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Improved access means it’s more likely that children will make smart choices that fuel their brains and bodies. It’s another tool as we try to reverse the tide of childhood obesity.”

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program requires participating schools to allocate between $50 to $75 per enrolled student with the majority of those funds being spent on fresh produce. Program funding runs through June 30, 2012.

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 goal 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. Some schools have initiated a “Vegetable of the Day,” to entice students to try produce they might otherwise not have access to and increase nutrition education efforts.

The USDA first piloted the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in 2002 and it was expanded to include all states for the 2008-09 school year. Nearly 370 schools statewide applied for the 2011-12 grant. 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 215 schools in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program as well as a map of the selected schools is online at: http://www.isbe.net/nutrition/htmls/ffv_program_awards1112.htm.

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