A student wearing a navy blue polo shirt holds up two green grapes and smiles for the camera. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program makes fruit and veggie snacks more accessible during the school day.
A student samples some fresh green grapes in the Bronx, New York. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program makes fruit and veggie snacks more accessible during the school day. Photo by Kelly Campbell.

What is the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program?

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides all children in participating schools with a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables as a snack. The program is particularly beneficial for children who depend on schools for their daily nutrition. It is an effective and creative way of introducing fresh fruits and vegetables, and creates opportunities for kids to try nutritious foods they otherwise may never taste.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has authored legislation that will allow more students in more schools to participate in this program. FoodCorps supports the expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and is working with policy partners and members of Congress to include such an expansion in the upcoming Farm Bill

Here are three important things to know about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program:

A bounty of nutritional benefits:

Fresh fruits and vegetables are powerhouses of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are crucial for supporting proper growth and development in children. When students have easy access to these nutritious options at school, they are more likely to consume them regularly, adding more of these important nutrients into their diets. 

Additionally, introducing students to a diverse range of fruits and vegetables early on helps them develop a preference for these wholesome choices. As they explore different flavors and textures, they become more receptive to trying new foods. By incorporating these fresh choices into their daily meals, students learn to love the nutritious options available at school.

A holistic approach to nutrition education:

Providing students with nutrition education goes hand in hand with offering fresh produce. When kids understand the importance of making nutritious choices, they can make more informed decisions about their food.

Nutrition education complements the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program by encouraging students to try different varieties of food, understand new textures and tastes, and identify the most nourishing options available to them. Equipped with this knowledge, students can take charge of their wellbeing and build a solid foundation for a positive relationship with food.

Improving food security:

For some students, a school’s meal program may be their primary source of nutritious food. By offering a variety of nutrient-dense snacks through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, schools can contribute significantly to reducing food and nutrition insecurity among students and their families. The availability of wholesome options ensures that students receive more of the nourishment they need to thrive academically and physically, regardless of their economic circumstances.

The bottom line:

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program can significantly impact students’ lives. It sets them on a path of developing nutritious eating habits, which can boost their overall health and their academic experience. This program helps schools leave a lasting impact on students, offering them the knowledge and skills to nourish themselves and their communities.

Stay tuned for updates on how you can help support the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.