What is The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program?
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a federally funded program that provides a variety of fresh produce to elementary schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. In SY20-21, 185 elementary schools in Massachusetts participated in the FFVP Program.
Why is the FFVP Needed?
For families experiencing food insecurity, purchasing fresh produce is often associated with higher costs. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain essential nutrients needed for child growth and development, and cost should not be a determining factor as to whether children can receive fresh produce. By participating in the FFVP program, schools can provide children with access to nutrient dense and fresh produce. Additionally, the FFVP Program prioritizes schools that have many students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
How does the FFVP Program Work?
Remember the phrase, “you don’t know if you like it until you try it?” The FFVP program is designed for children to learn about and taste fresh produce in its original, raw form. The key to the FFVP program is variety – so children are introduced to different fruits and vegetables and can expand their palate. Through taste testing, children can use their five senses and further explore the food they are consuming. All taste testing must be conducted outside of the National School Breakfast and/or Lunch Program. Schools can choose the fresh produce to offer students and how many days per week it is offered.
Application Requirements for Schools
Eligible elementary schools must submit an FFVP application that includes: 1
• The total number of enrolled children
• The percentage of children certified as eligible for free and reduced-price meals
• A certification of support for participation of the FFVP signed by the school food service manager, school principal, and the district superintendent (or equivalent positions, as determined by the school); and
• A program implementation plan, including efforts to integrate the FFVP with other efforts to promote childhood health and nutrition.
To learn more about the FFVP Program and how to enroll, check out the USDA Fact Sheet.