INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A grant that provides students with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables has been awarded to two District schools, according to the School District of Indian River County.
The schools are Fellsmere Elementary, which received $33,900, and Indian River Academy, which received $25,900. The grant is part of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which is a national initiative brought by the USDA Department of Food and Nutrition Service along with state agencies.
Elementary schools with the highest free and reduced lunch enrollment are the focus of the program, officials said. The highlight of the program is seeing elementary students taste new and healthy food for the first time.
The FFVP program is highly competitive, statewide and awards schools based on need.
Every year, the Department of Food and Nutrition completes and submits applications for the interested schools. Since the awarded amount to the state changes every year, so does the number of schools that receive funding.
“It is a team effort between the Food and Nutrition Services main office, the cafeteria staff and our produce distributor,” said Elizabeth Alfaro, School District nutrition specialist, in a news release. “We are given the best quality of produce each week and the staff provides the best customer service to the students. None of these would be here without the other.”
The food is bought locally from Robert Erneston Produce; each week, students sample seasonal and local produce. The most popular items have been pineapple spears, fresh kiwis, butternut squash and sugar snap peas.