Support Fruits and Vegetables in Schools!
What kids eat has a big impact on their health. That’s why it’s so important that our schools provide our children with the healthiest foods — including at snack time!
Right now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reviewing its Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which offers healthy fruits and veggies to 3 million children in low-income neighborhoods each year. The USDA needs to hear from you — and there are only a few days left to act!
Tell USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack that you support the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Tell him you support improvements to the program to help it reach even more students!
I am writing to show my support of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and your effort to standardize it so that more children will benefit. Having a program that teaches students about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables by allowing them to try the produce helps educate them about nutrition and helps kids’ lead healthier lives.
As you finalize your proposal, I ask that you include the following requirements:
1. States conduct outreach to schools serving the highest percentage of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals;
2. State agencies provide schools with the training and technical assistance necessary to operate the program efficiently;
3. Schools implement the program five days per week;
4. Schools incorporate nutrition education into the program; and
5. Schools use only fresh, fresh-cut, and nutritionally equivalent fruits and vegetables in the program.
To ensure that schools can reach the goal of serving nutritious snacks as part of this program, it is also important that your agency allow them to use a portion of their total funding for non-food costs—such as the purchase or lease of kitchen equipment.
This program can and does help improve students’ dietary intake, which in turn reduces their risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious chronic diseases. Healthier children do better in school and we all benefit.