British Columbia today expanded its school fruit and vegetable snack program to 164 schools, providing B.C.-grown fruit and vegetables as occasional snacks for up to 57,000 students.
The program, which started as a pilot in 2006 with 10 schools and expanded in January to 51, is delivered by the B.C. Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation working with the Overwaitea Food Group through Save-On, Cooper’s, Overwaitea and PriceSmart grocery stores.
Under the program, students at the selected schools will receive snacks of fresh B.C. fruit and vegetables twice a week, every other week, for a period of 18 weeks each school year. Produce served includes apples, pears, plums, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, baby carrots and mini-cucumbers.
The program is funded by ActNow BC, a cross-ministry health and wellness initiative, through the provincial ministries of agriculture, education and health.
“Our program evaluation, undertaken by the University of Victoria, shows clearly that this program is teaching children about nutrition and locally grown produce, as well as increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables,” said Gordon Hogg, minister for ActNow BC, in a release.