RSU 20 participates in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
The Maine Child Nutrition Services has approved $46,950 for six RSU 20 schools to participate in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). Waldo County General Hospital added $15,000 so nine schools could take part in the program.
The participating schools are Edna Drinkwater in Northport, Captain Albert Stevens in Belfast, Ames in Searsmont, Weymouth in Morrill, Kermit Nickerson in Swanville, East Belfast School, Searsport Elementary School, Searsport Middle School and the 4-year-old program at Stockton Springs Elementary School.
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is available in over 167schools throughout Maine this fall with funding from the Farm Bill. This program is an excellent opportunity, along with the breakfast, lunch and afterschool snack program, for the students to meet the suggested daily number of servings of fruits and vegetables for good health.
This program provides fresh fruits and vegetable snacks to students, free of charge, throughout the school day in areas outside the cafeteria. Offering fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to children at school helps to shape healthy eating habits and allow them to enjoy a tasty and fresh snack, which can boost their energy and brain power to support better learning.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can be offered:
- in classrooms as healthy snacks;
- as part of learning activities;
- in “fruit and/or veggie stands” in the hallways; and
- in other creative ways, such as food fairs
A popular activity is the Junior Chef program where students participate in the preparation and delivery of the healthy snack. The program teaches proper food handling skills, food safety, presentation, and customer service, as well as incorporating basic math, social studies, science and language arts.
Teachers, food service staff, other school staff and parents are encouraged to reinforce healthy eating with healthy role modeling and education. Nutrition education is an important part of helping children and adults receive the greatest benefits from the foods they eat.
The USDA's MyPlate (www.myplate.gov) encourages school-age children to eat two to three cups of vegetables a day and one and a half to two cups of fruit a day for good health. Fruits and vegetables don't just taste good, they contribute to better health because they are low in calories and fat and high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
For more information on this program, contact Linda Hartkopf, RSU 20’s 5-2-1-0 School Health Coordinator at 338-3320 ext: 137 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org