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USDA Fruits and Vegetables in Schools

USDA Fruits and Vegetables in Schools - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Friday that, as authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, USDA will expand assistance to state agencies for schools operating USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in the 2011/2012 school year.

Among the territories, Puerto Rico will get $922,269 of the funding, while Guam will get $44,771 and the U.S. Virgin Islands, $27,167.

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."

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, authorized and funded under Section 19 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and expanded in recent years as a result of the 2008 Farm Bill, operates in selected low-income elementary schools in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. This year, USDA plans to provide $158 million in assistance to state agencies. States then select schools to participate based on criteria in the law, including the requirement that each student receives between $50 and $75 worth of fresh produce over the school year.

USDA Fruits and Vegetables in Schools

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