BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program celebrates 10 years

More than 1,400 and 523,000 students participate

Students and fifth-generation farmers Troy and Sarah Harker joined Minister Norm Letnick (front)

Students and fifth-generation farmers Troy and Sarah Harker joined Minister Norm Letnick (front)

The start of the new school year marks the 10th anniversary of the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program (BCSFVNP).

The program, run by the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation (BCAITC), started as a pilot in 2005 with 10 public schools and now successfully delivers the program to more than 1,400 public and First Nations schools across the province.

Funded by the BC Ministry of Health under Healthy Families BC, the program delivers fruits and vegetables every other week (13 times during the school year) to over 523,000 students on the program.

Produce for deliveries include: B.C. plums, peaches, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, mini peppers, baby carrots, apples, pears, and B.C. table grapes.

The program encourages students to make healthier eating choices, and become more aware of produce grown in B.C.

“I find the students, over the year, are more willing to try new fruits and vegetables,” said Ms. Gray, a Grade 1-2 teacher at Thornhill Primary in Terrace, B.C.

“With lots of discussion about healthy eating in the class, they realize how important healthy food is to their bodies. Some children are choosing the fruits and vegetables over the more unhealthy snacks they are provided with from home. All the students are very appreciative of the food that is dropped off as a ‘surprise.’ ”

New this year, the Fresh to You fundraiser was recently introduced in schools.

Fresh to You allows families to buy fresh bundles of produce, with 40 per cent of the proceeds going to support the school.

This year, with the launch of the fundraiser, 60 schools raised a total of $34,382 through the sales of 4,387 bundles packed full of B.C. produce.

For more information about the BCSFVNP, watch this documentary video on how the program runs http://vimeo.com/58410360#

To learn more about BCAITC, please visit aitc.ca/bc