B.C. is providing $1 million to further support school children's access to fresh B.C.-grown fruit and vegetable snacks in the classroom.
This funding is in addition to a $3-million expansion announced in May 2011, and will help support the expansion of the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program to include more public and First Nations schools across the province. It is expected that an additional 75 schools will join the program by September 2012, and a further 75 schools will join by January 2013, benefitting up to 27,000 more children each year. This would bring the total participating schools to 1,484.
The program will also continue to support schools that wish to purchase fridges and provide salad bars, as ways of offering fresh fruit and vegetables in the school. Additionally, the funding will enable the program to explore new models for increasing children's and families' access to fresh, local fruit and vegetables.
The objective of the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program is to increase students' knowledge of, preference for and consumption of, fruits and vegetables. The program provides B.C.-grown fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to children in all grades and is available to most of B.C.'s public and First Nations schools.
The Program was created in partnership with the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, and Education and is led by the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing B.C.'s agriculture to students.
The BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program promotes B.C.-grown produce, and distributors include the Overwaitea Food Group, Saputo Dairy Products Canada, Dynamex Couriers, Bayview Market and Papason Trucking Ltd.
Minister of Health Michael de Jong -
"Chronic diseases represent a massive burden on the health system, and children and youth are not immune. Since 2005, this program has introduced tens of thousands of B.C. children to a variety of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. By increasing knowledge and consumption of locally grown produce, this program helps develop healthy eating habits that will benefit the health of our youngest citizens in the long term."
Education Minister George Abbott -
"This investment builds on our commitment to offer increased access to fresh fruits and vegetable snacks for students in B.C.'s public and First Nations schools. Studies have shown that children who eat healthy food, including fruits and vegetables, are more attentive and able to focus on their studies. This program is just one of the initiatives in place to support the health and well being of B.C. school children."
Agriculture Minister Don McRae -
"This program works directly with local growers and distributors to bring fresh B.C. products to the students, right in the classroom. It is great that students are also learning that eating fresh, local products supports B.C. farmers and the economies of our rural regions."
Lindsay Babineau, executive director, BC Agriculture in the Classroom -
"Thanks to this program students from across the Province are now learning how important it is to make fruits and vegetables a part of their regular diet - both at school and at home. This additional funding will support the expansion of the program to ensure that we can reach more schools and more children."
- Every year, the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program provides B.C. school kids with 6.3 million servings of fruit and vegetables from 817 growers from right across the province.
- Fruits and vegetables that may be included in the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program include plums, blueberries, apples, tomatoes and carrots.
- Since 2005, the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program has expanded from 10 pilot schools to 1,334 schools, including 1,278 public schools and 56 First Nations schools.
- Every other week more than 433,000 students across all grades receive fresh fruit and vegetable snacks.
Interested in learning more about the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program? Please visit: http://www.aitc.ca/bc/
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)
Ministry of Agriculture