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Daily Newscasts

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: A Foundation for Healthier TN Lifestyles

June 1, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - More than 120 Tennessee elementary schools have been chosen to participate in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program for the 2010-11 school year. The $2 million program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Department of Agriculture as part of the National School Lunch Program. Schools submitted applications to be considered and were selected on factors such as staff commitment, efficient use of resources and innovative promotional efforts.

The director of Tennessee's School Nutrition Program, Sarah White, says that for some students, being exposed to certain exotic fruits is a first-time experience.

"Some of them had never eaten kiwi. We found some last year who had never eaten watermelon, things we take for granted. So, hopefully, by giving it to them in elementary school they'll know to ask their parents for fresh broccoli, for fresh pears, carrots."

White says that on average about 50 dollars will be spent on each student. Those kids will be provided approved fruits and vegetables at no charge during the school day.

"We've found that also for many of the children, since they've never seen a fruit, they'll have tables set up and cut it in two and tell them in advance. The blood orange is a good example, which is my favorite orange; it's that dark red, but children sometimes don't understand the words 'blood orange.'"

Schools with the highest percentage of disadvantaged students were given the highest priority for the program.

Randy O'Brien, Public News Service - TN