The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) awarded 180 elementary schools $4.2 million of a USDA grant to provide students with fresh fruits and vegetables.
The program and funds, made available by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), expand student access to fresh fruits and vegetables in participating elementary schools.
According to an MSDE press release:
‘Fresh fruits and vegetables are an essential part of basic nutrition that every child deserves access to,’ said State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury. ‘This critical federal, state and local partnership enables schools to provide students with healthy food options that help fuel overall student success and achievement.’
The FFVP supports schools with a high percentage of low-income students, who often have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Selected schools provide students with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, at no charge. The FFVP teaches students that fresh produce can be a healthy and delicious snack. Additionally, the Program provides an opportunity for teachers and school administrators to provide experiential nutrition education.
In order to facilitate participation for schools serving non-congregate meals, the MSDE has requested, and been approved for, a statewide waiver. The waiver allows FFVP foods to be provided to parents or guardians when they are picking up meals for their children.