BCPS Food and Nutrition Services Department receives USDA Best Practice Award
Students from Nob Hill Elementary taste lemons and limes in April 2013.
From Mary Mulder, and Cathleen Brennan
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Food and Nutrition Services Department is earning a national honor for its efforts to get students excited about eating healthy. It is receiving the 2013 United States Department of Agriculture Best Practice Award in the category of “Increasing Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables.”
The award recognizes the Food and Nutrition Services Department’s Fruit and Vegetable of the Month program, which provides students at all BCPS elementary schools with a free sampling of a fresh fruit or vegetable. The initiative began in March 2012, as a way to expand a federally funded grant program that provides fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to specific elementary schools.
The expanded elementary program is funded by BCPS Food and Nutrition Services. The monthly tastings are in addition to the array of fruits and vegetables served each day in school cafeterias.
“It’s important to get students at a young age excited a-bout eating healthy so they de-velop lifelong positive eating habits. This program allows us to expose more students to fresh fruits and vegetables and allows them to try foods that they may not have access to at home,” said Mary Mulder, Director, Food and Nutrition Services Department.
Since the expanded Fruit and Vegetable of the Month program began, students have sampled blackberries, sweet peppers, kiwi, radishes, blood oranges, broccolini, sugar snap peas, cuties/clementines, cauliflower and more. This school year’s program kicks off this Thursday and Friday, Sept. 19-20, 2013. Students will be enjoying carambola (star fruit).
In addition to the tastings, the Food and Nutrition Services Department provides teachers with curriculum activities centered on the month’s featured item. Costumed veggie ambassadors will also visit schools to promote healthy eating.