The BC School Fruit & Vegetable Nutritional Program (BCSFVNP) grew from an idea formed in 2004. Similar programs in the USA and the UK were having great success providing students with fresh local fruit and vegetable programs in their schools. Why not try a similar program in BC?
The BC Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Health selected the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation (BCAITC) to implement a pilot program here in BC. As a non-profit organization dedicated to working to bring BC’s agriculture to students, we were a natural choice. Already working closely with schools, producers, suppliers and distributors, we knew all about BC grown produce and were proud supporters of BC farmers.
The Program has grown from an initial launch of 10 schools in 2005 to 1,464 BC K-12 public schools and K-12 BC First Nations schools in the 2015/2016 school year. With the help of our 1,241 volunteers and incredible partners we now provide fresh fruit and vegetable snacks every other week, 13 times in the school year, to over 549,000 students. Many of those students are now making fruits and vegetables a part of their regular diet – both at school and at home. They are learning that eating fresh, local products supports our local farmers and the economies of rural regions. They are also learning first hand about the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, while finding out how great they taste.
Eating fruits and vegetables is essential for good health. Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that we should all eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Many children eat much less. In fact, research shows that only 1 out of 4 children eat this daily requirement.
Our snacks are served during class time, so a teacher can use this opportunity to engage students in discussion about fruits and vegetables and healthy eating habits. Many children will be trying a food for the first time and will love how good these snacks taste and make them feel. These are the building blocks towards a lifetime of healthy eating.
The BCSFVNP is a collaborative program from the provincial government’s Healthy Families BC with funding from the BC Ministry of Health. It is administered through the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to “Working to bring BC’s agriculture to our students.” The Foundation works with local growers and distributors to bring the fresh BC products to students.
Want to learn more?
View our short BCSFVNP video to learn more about the Program and find out how schools throughout the province are helping students to make the connection between the health of their bodies and the health of local agriculture.
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