What is the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program (FFVP)?
The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) administers FFVP at the federal level. At the State level, the FFVP is administered by the State Agency (OSSE), housed under the Division of Health and Wellness, School Programs Team. Selected schools in the District of Columbia receive reimbursement for fresh fruits and vegetables made available, free of cost, to students during the school day. The FFVP is a competitive enrollment process, which should be applied for annually.
Goals of the FFVP
- Create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices
- Expand the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience
- Increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption
- Make a difference in children’s diets to impact their present and future health.
- Elementary Schools (Schools serving pre-school through fifth grade students)
- Enrolled in the National School Lunch Program
- 50 percent or more children are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals
- Section 19 of the National School Lunch Act requires that schools with the highest free and reduced price enrollment be given priority for participation
- Submit an application for each site interested in participating
Nutrition education is a required component of participating in the FFVP. Providing nutrition education can help reach your school goals of creating a healthier environment. For many children in the District, the fruit and vegetables they are exposed to in school may be the only produce they will see that day. Nutrition education plays a critical role in familiarizing and educating children on the variety of produce available, and their short and long-term health benefits.
Although nutrition education and outreach materials cannot be reimbursed through the FFVP, several local and federal entities are available that can provide non- federal resources. Such entities could include universities, non-profit organizations, grocery stores, and USDA extension services.
Encouraging Variety during the School Day
The FFVP provides the opportunity for schools to purchase fruits and vegetables that are not available locally or are not domestically grown, allowing for a wider variety of fruits and vegetables available for consumption. The FFVP can offer fruits and vegetables in sample sized portions for children to try new produce that they may not have previously seen.
Flexibility within the FFVP
Schools have the flexibility to determine the best serving method, time and location for their FFVP. This allows for ample time for students to engage in the program, class discussion, and education around the various fruits and vegetables available. Parent volunteers can assist on a daily basis with the program and may be a great resource for nutrition education.
In order to ensure that all school personnel involved with FFVP are well informed on the requirements and goals of the Program, FFVP offers a variety of technical assistance and professional development on nutrition education integration, claims reimbursement, service time, and best practices for maximizing the FFVP and the overall wellness environment of each participating school.