Schools participating in the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program will now have the option to receive milk from local dairy farms thanks to $1 million in new provincial funding.
Finance Minister Michael de Jong and Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick made the announcement today at a dairy farm in Abbotsford, where a group of kindergarten children learned about dairy production.
Through a new partnership with the BC Dairy Association, more than 1,400 elementary schools registered for the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program will be offered local milk, free of charge, for children in Kindergarten to Grade two. The program minimizes milk delivery costs because distributors can add local milk to the fruit and vegetable deliveries already being made to schools.
The BC Dairy Association will provide funding to share the cost of the milk program with BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation.
The new funding builds on $3 million the Provincial Health Services Authority is contributing this year to the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, to continue its support for the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program. Including today's announcement, government has provided over $26 million to support the program since 2005.
The BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program provides B.C. grown fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to students in all grades, 13 times per school year. All public and First Nation schools are eligible to apply for the program and currently over 1,400 schools are registered. The program is administered by the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation.
Minister of Finance, Michael de Jong -
"Adding milk to the hugely successful BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program supports our government's goal of increasing healthy eating in our schools. It also means children will receive local milk at no extra cost to their family. I'd like to thank the BC Dairy Association for bringing this unique partnership concept to our attention, and Agriculture in the Classroom for continuing to foster and grow the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program."
Minister of Agriculture, Norm Letnick -
"This program provides a healthy, great tasting link between classrooms and farms and offers students fresh and nutritious food, and lessons about where their meals come from. Buying local foods supports B.C.'s 20,000 farms, most of which are family owned and operated, and promotes diverse and sustainable communities."
Lindsay Babineau, executive director, BC Agriculture in the Classroom -
"We are just so pleased to partner with the BC Dairy Association on this new milk initiative. Children taking part in the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program are developing a positive attitude towards eating fresh B.C. fruits and vegetables. With the addition of milk to the program we can bring a whole new experience to the kindergarten-to-Grade 2 students."
David Eto, executive director & CEO, BC Dairy Association -
"B.C.'s dairy farmers are proud to partner with this innovative and successful program to deliver milk to young students across the province. Together, we will be able to ensure that B.C. children can learn about how dairy, fruits and vegetables play an important role in healthy eating."
BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program
- Since 2005, and including today's announced funding, government has provided over $26 million to the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation to support the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program.
- Since 2005, the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program has expanded from 10 pilot schools to 1,418 schools (including 1,341 public schools and 77 First Nations schools) as of January 2013.
- The objective of the program is to increase students' knowledge of, preference for and consumption of fruits and vegetables, specifically those grown in B.C.
- Eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables improves children's health.
B.C. Dairy Industry
- The B.C. dairy industry contributes over $781.7 million to provincial GDP. Dairy producers alone contribute $132.1 million of this total.
- The industry also supports over 15,500 jobs such as farmers, vets, truck drivers and researchers.
- As of April 2013, there are 516 licensed dairy farms with about 72,000 dairy cows in B.C.
BC Agriculture in the Classroom www.aitc.ca/bc/
BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program http://sfvnp.ca/
BC Dairy Association www.bcdairy.ca/
Ministry of Finance
Executive Director & CEO
BC Dairy Association
BC Agriculture in the Classroom/BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program