The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to encourage and develop healthy eating habits in American school children, will receive an addition $48 million in federal funding. Earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA would allocate $158 million into the program.
Originating as a $6 million part of the 2002 Farm Bill, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program has increased over the last several years, particularly in the 2008 Farm Bill as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to promote healthy eating in the U.S.
The program grants funds to low-income elementary schools and guarantees that each student receives roughly $50 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school year. This program seeks to limit the amount of junk food eaten by school children in order to combat childhood obesity.
Overall the program has met wide accolades from both politicians and agricultural producers. The United Fresh Produce Association, for example, praised Vilsack’s announcement and has been at the forefront of efforts to promote federal funding of fresh food drives in U.S. schools.
The further funding of this program, along with similar USDA programs like Know Your Farmer, demonstrate the commitment by the Obama administration and the USDA to reform American eating habits and promote a healthier lifestyle.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer