Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Getting Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Into Your School

Daniel McKenna, a D.C. parent, recently attended a workshop on how schools can participate in the fresh fruit and vegetable snack program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

By Daniel McKenna

This is how free, healthy, daily snacks could be delivered to 24 D.C. elementary schools!

At Maury Elementary School, I attended a workshop for potential participants in the D.C. Public Schools' Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).

The D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) provided an informational workshop for anyone interested in participating in the program for the 2010-2011 school years.

FFVP is administered by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service and locally by OSSE.
In a nutshell, the FFVP provides a free daily snack for selected schools. Only elementary schools qualify and they must already be part of the National School Lunch Program. At a minimum, the school must have 50% of students eligible for free or reduced price meals (although, OSSE is aggressively targeting the 85% to 100% schools in DCPS and DC Charter programs).

Public Charter schools are eligible, and OSSE anticipates that 12 charter schools and 12 DCPS elementary schools will be selected. For the 2009-2010 school year, $1.2 million in funding was available for the program. Ten percent of the budget is available for items such as cooler bags, refrigeration units, and other accouterments. So when all is said and done, we are looking forward to 30 cents per snack.

The responsibility of schools and parents is to put forward a plan to implement the program in the school. Essential components include:1) a site coordinator selected 2) proposed delivery of the snack (classroom, cafeteria, kiosk) 3) timing of the snack (which cannot be during other meals or as the kids leave at the end of the day).

Chartwells-Thompson, the food service provider for D.C. Public Schools, will be doing most of the work for the schools. Chartwells-Thompson will choose the snacks and prepare them for the classrooms. Whitney Bateson, the Chartwells-Thompson nutritionist, indicates that Keany Produce has been selected as the provider of fruits and vegetables for D.C. this year. Ms. Bateson will prepare the "menu" and all items will be shipped two times per week to the schools. The hope is to provide daily snacks for all of the participating schools.

Deadline for submitting applications is May 28th, 2010. Another workshop will be given on April 8, 2010.

Submission and information: Diedre Bell, Program Specialist, Wellness & Nutritional Services, OSSE, 810 First Street, NE, 4th Floor, Washington, DC, 20002. Phone: 202-724-7861 and Fax: 202-724-7656

Editor's note: Kids like fruit much more than vegetables. They like carrots, but many of the vegetable snacks served through this program end up in the trash, as detailed here. Parents would do well to monitor how these produce snacks are being presented to the children, and whether they are actually being eaten.

No comments:

Post a Comment