Funding for healthy diets

Government announced an additional $1 million to support the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program.

Health Minister Mike de Jong speaks to kindergarten students about fruit and vegetables.

Health Minister Mike de Jong speaks to kindergarten students about fruit and vegetables.

Health Minister Michael de Jong and Agriculture Minister Don McRae were among the dignitaries at the Windset Farms greenhouse on Downes Road on Wednesday afternoon for a government funding announcement.

Joined by the kindergarden class from Prince Charles Elementary, with each student wearing a paper crown featuring a variety of fruits and vegetables, they announced an additional $1 million to support the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program.

The funding is an addition to the $3-million expansion announced in May 2011, for the program that provides fresh produce for school children.

With the additional funds another 75 schools will join the program by September, and a further 75 are expected by January 2012. This will bring the total number of participating schools to 1,484. It is used to purchases fridges, stock salad bars and to increase children’s access to fresh, local fruit in other ways.

“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,” said de Jong, who is also the MLA for Abbotsford West, in a press release.

The program takes the produce from 817 growers across the province, and gets it into the diet of B.C. school kids in 6.3 million servings per year.