Press Release: MSDE To Award More Than $3 Million To Maryland Schools To Provide Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
For Immediate Release
Contact: William Reinhard, 410-767-0486, Erin Kennedy, 410-767-0495
Baltimore, MD (July 31, 2014)
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has received $3,329,153 in federal funds which will be awarded to selected Maryland elementary schools to encourage students to develop healthy eating habits early in life. The funds, made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students enrolled in participating schools statewide. This year, MSDE is pleased to provide funds to 151 schools. A list of participating schools can be found at http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/programs/schoolnutrition/docs/FFVP_Data.htm
The Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, allocated over $150 million dollars to fund the FFVP in schools nationwide. The FFVP provides participating students with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day. The Program is designed to teach students that fresh produce can be a healthy and delicious snack option. Additionally, the FFVP provides an opportunity for experiential nutrition education.
The FFVP targets schools with a high percentage of low-income students, due to low-income communities’ reduced access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Every child enrolled in a participating school is offered the fruit and vegetable snacks at no charge, regardless of income.
The Program is viewed as a catalyst for change, by teaching students to accept and enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The produce served through the Program often includes fruits and vegetables not always available to children living in low-income communities, including squash, mangos, mushrooms, berries, and asparagus.
A national study of the Program by Abt Associates found that students participating in FFVP consumed significantly more fruits and vegetables than students did in similar schools without the Program. Schools participating in the Program were also more likely to offer regular nutrition education to students.
For more information on Maryland’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, please contact Erin Kennedy, Coordinator of Select Education Initiatives & Effectiveness, Office of School and Community Nutrition Programs, MSDE at 410-767-0495 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maryland State Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are equal opportunity providers and employers.
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