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 2. The program minimizes milk delivery costs because distributors can add local milk to the fruit and vegetable deliveries already being made to schools.
“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,” said de Jong.
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.
“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,” said Letnick.