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The Baldwin County School District school nutrition department staff and volunteers held their first food box distribution session on June 3. One thousand boxes of fresh produce were given out that day to area families and on June 11, they distributed more than 1,700 boxes of produce.

The Baldwin County School Nutrition Department has been awarded a $229,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) for the 2020-2021 school year. 

The FFVP is a federally-assisted program providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to elementary-aged students in participating schools during the school day. 

According to Susan Nelson, BCSD school nutrition director, the program has been successful in introducing area elementary school children to a variety of produce that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to sample.

“This program has been a great addition to our schools. It helps promote healthy eating and the consumption of fresh fruits and veggies,” she said.

Currently, the BCSD has been awarded the FFVP for Midway Hills Primary, Midway Hills Academy, Lakeview Academy, and Lakeview Primary schools. The program will be led by new FoodCorp Service members, Jenna White and Nicole Blyskal.

“Students will sample more unusual and exotic items, such as passion fruit, dragon fruit, guava, jicama, and more,” Nelson added.

As a requirement for the grant, the fruits and vegetables purchased for the program must be distributed to students outside of the regular breakfast and lunch time. Students will sample the variety of produce as a snack during the school day. BCSD families that participate in ordering meals for elementary virtual learners will also receive samples of these items.

“I am so excited to continue this program because it helps expand children’s knowledge of the benefits fresh fruit and vegetables, and it broadens their perspective on the wide assortment of produce that exists,” said Dr. Noris Price, superintendent of schools.  

“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program helps us open our children’s eyes to key nutrients that fruits and vegetables provide to help nourish their bodies and minds, which in turn will help them focus and reach their full potential in the classroom. It also helps educate our students on how to establish healthy eating habits by introducing them to a variety of fresh fruit and vegetable choices.”

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