The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a federally assisted program providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to students in participating elementary schools during the school day at times other than breakfast, lunch, or after school snack.
Administered at the state level by Child Nutrition & Food Distribution programs – the same agency that administers the National School Lunch Program – the FFVP began in 2004. Legislation in 2008 expanded the program to schools not previously authorized to participate in the program.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has very defined criteria for schools eligible for this program. Section 19 of the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) requires that schools with the highest free and reduced price enrollment be given priority for participation. This is the key selection criterion, which ensures that the program benefits low-income children. This criterion cannot be waived to give all schools in the state an equal chance to participate in the program.
The FFVP, as directed under Section 19 of the NSLA as well as some specific FFVP guidelines (see the FFVP Handbook), is geared toward elementary schools with the highest proportion of free and reduced price enrollment, especially those at 50 percent and higher. Total enrollment of all schools selected in the state must result in a per-student allocation of $50 to $75. A total of $1,885,250 has been allocated to 181 schools for the 2014-2015 school year, providing fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to 37,705 students.
The goal of the FFVP is to improve children’s overall diet and create healthier eating habits to impact their present and future health. The FFVP will help schools create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience, and increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.
The program runs from July 1 to June 30 each year. Applications to participate in the program must be completed yearly. Applications for the 2015-2016 school year will be available around late March.
For more information about the FFVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office toll free at 888-338-3663 or locally at 701-328-2294.