Thursday, April 7, 2011

USDA Announces People's Garden School Pilot Program to Promote Garden-Based Learning Opportunities - Washington is Pilot State

People's Gardens Aim to Provide Nutritious, Safe and Healthier Choices for Children and Communities.

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2011 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that Washington State University will develop and run the People's Garden School Pilot Program which will serve an estimated 2,800 students attending 70 elementary schools in Washington, New York, Iowa and Arkansas. The Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth pilot is an innovative strategy to help our nation win the future through improved K-12 education. It explores the impact of school gardens on learning and on changing student consumption patterns so they make healthier food choices.

"School gardens hold great promise for educating our kids about food production and nutrition," said Vilsack. "Learning where food comes from and what fresh food tastes like, and the pride of growing and serving your own fruits and vegetables, are life-changing experiences. Engaging kids in our efforts to end childhood hunger and curb childhood obesity is critical if we are going to succeed."

Full Press Release

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for 2011-12 - Now Accepting Applications

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides all enrolled students in participating elementary schools with a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day. It is an effective and creative way of introducing fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snack options. The FFVP also encourages community partnerships to support the schools when they offer free fruit and vegetables to students during the school day.

For school year 2011-12, the grant application process has now begun. To be eligible to apply, a school must have a reported FRP percentage of at least 50%, based on the published October school data (OSPI Bulletin No. B005-11.) While all schools with a FRP ≥50% may apply for participation, the following provides specific guidance for the 2011-12 school year FFVP:

  • Schools with a FRP ≥84.2% will receive the grant.
  • Schools with a FRP ≥72% < 84.2% are strongly encouraged to apply.
For more information, visit OSPI Child Nutrition. The application is on the right side in the box titled 'Additional Information'

USDA Expands Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Schools Across the Nation

USDA Expands Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Schools Across the Nation

Investment Aims to Improve Nutrition and Provide Economic Opportunities to Producers

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2010 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that, as authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), USDA will expand assistance to state agencies for schools operating USDA's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) in the 2011/2012 school year. The investment is part of the Obama administration's efforts to improve the health of our children by providing access to nutritious meals in schools and also serves as a valuable resource to schools that continue working to improve the health and nutrition of the foods they serve. The assistance will provide free fresh fruit and vegetables to children throughout the school day.

"Improving the health and nutrition of our kids is a national imperative and by providing schools with fresh fruits and vegetables that expand their healthy options, we are helping our kids to have a brighter, healthier future," said Vilsack. "Every time our kids eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable, they are learning healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime."

Full USDA Press Release

Learn more about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in Washington

Washington will receive: $3,244,569

Monday, April 4, 2011

WSFFN Fresh Food In Schools Program

New Program to Help Schools Purchase Washington-Grown Fruits and Vegetables

Washington State Department of Agriculture awarded The Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network $172,000 to help implement its three-year Fresh Food in Schools project. The project will build public awareness and support to increase school district purchasing of Washington’s fruits and vegetables specialty crops.

“We are delighted to be able to work across Washington State to support our farmers feeding our kids! Our Fresh Food in Schools program will help farmers enter the school market and help our kids get better access to Washington grown fruits and vegetables.” says Ellen Gray, Executive Director of The Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network.

Partners supporting the Fresh Food in Schools project include: the Washington State PTA, the Lutheran Public Policy Office of Washington, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, PCC Natural Markets, the Child Obesity Prevention Coalition and WSDA’s Farm to School program.

The WA Sustainable Food & Farming Network is excited to announce the hiring of three regional coordinators for the Fresh Food in Schools Project. If you are a school district, farm or parent/community group interested in starting or supporting a farm to school program in your area, we can help. Our coordinators will provide free hands-on assistance to help increase your school district’s purchases of Washington grown fruits and vegetables. Twenty school districts across the state will be chosen to participate.

For Western WA contact Rita Ordóñez at 360-336-0932

For Central WA contact Joan Qazi at 509 664-6691

For Eastern WA contact Jennifer Hall at 509 993-1189: