Fruit and Vegetable Access For Children Act
WASHINGTON – Recently, Maine’s Second District Congressman, Bruce Poliquin, introduced the Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act to allow schools to use the money from USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to purchase all forms of fruits and vegetables –fresh, frozen, canned or dried.
“Maine farmers produce some of the highest quality fruits and vegetables in the country—such as our famous potatoes and wild blueberries. There is no reason why these products shouldn’t be enjoyed and provided to communities and students around the United States,” said Congressman Bruce Poliquin. “By enabling schools to serve fruits and vegetables, in a variety of forms, we are not only increasing the market for Maine’s hardworking farmers to sell their products, but we are teaching children that nutritious foods come in many different sizes, shapes, colors and packages—from frozen blueberries, to canned peas, to fresh peaches and dried apricots.”
According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, there is overwhelming nutritional consensus that Americans should increase consumption of fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, canned and dried). In its various forms, fruit and vegetables are nutritionally similar. The FFVP’s goal is to educate children on the foods they eat. By including “all forms” of fruit and vegetables, we ensure they have a comprehensive education.
“I remember when I was raising my son, nothing mattered more to me than his health and well-being, and I was very mindful of the meals we ate and the food we purchased,” said Congressman Bruce Poliquin. “As a parent, I believe it’s very important for our kids to have the opportunity to eat delicious fruits and vegetables, such as Maine blueberries and strawberries, all school year round.”
Maine has already experienced a successful pilot program in which it purchases frozen fruit and vegetables. Congressman Poliquin would like to expand these options to schools nation-wide by allowing schools to maximize their FFVP program dollars.
Additionally, high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t available year-round in every part of the country, and expanding this program ensures that schools have the options they need to continue to encourage a healthy diet throughout the school year. Additionally, the price for fruit and vegetables increases after the growing season is over. Allowing more food to be frozen and served later will mean that schools can afford nutritionally-equivalent food throughout the year.
Congressman Bruce Poliquin continued, “As a parent, and Maine’s Second District Congressman, I will urge my colleagues to join me in helping our kids have the opportunity to enjoy fruits and vegetables all school year round.”