Congress has appropriated funds for a limited expansion in all states of the “Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program” (FFVP). This is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program which offers free fresh and dried fruits and fresh vegetables to students during the school day. For SY 2008-2009, participation in this program is limited to only 25 elementary schools in Arkansas.
The selection of these 25 elementary schools will be based on applications submitted by schools and evaluated using criteria required by federal regulations. This grant is for the period July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. For School Year 2008–2009, the level of funds provided to any one school will depend on the demographics of the schools selected to participate in the program.
The Arkansas Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Handbook for Schools has more information related to the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and is Attachment A to this Memo.
To be considered for this program, complete and return Attachment B–Arkansas Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Application–SY 2008-09 postmarked by April 18, 2008 to:
Sheila Brown, MSE, RD, LD
Child Nutrition Unit, Arkansas Department of Education
2020 West 3rd Street, Suite 404
Little Rock, AR 72205
ELIGIBILITY FOR PROGRAM
The federal criteria for selection of the 25 schools requires that the majority of schools have at least 50% of the students eligible for free or reduced price meals and gives priority to schools that have at least one non-federal partnership to support the program. Arkansas will use the number of students eligible for free and reduced priced meals as of October 1, 2007. All schools concerned with the nutritional well-being of students are encouraged to submit an application. Please keep in mind that schools may be selected with less than 50% free/reduced price eligible children if the implementation plan is innovative and shows commitment. In the application narrative, please give details about any partnerships that would provide non-federal resources for the acquisition, handling, promotion or distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables or other support that contributes to the purposes of the program.
USE OF FUNDS
Funds are to be used primarily to purchase, prepare and distribute fresh and dried fruits and fresh vegetables that will be made available AT NO CHARGE TO ALL STUDENTS in the school. The program should be structured so that maximum benefits go to children.
EXPECTATIONS OF PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS
Because USDA is required to submit interim and final Reports to Congress, schools will be expected to cooperate in any evaluation and be able to provide information about participation, purchases, costs and other information. A district’s Child Nutrition Agreement will be amended to reflect if any schools in the district are selected to participate in the program.
USDA is seeking a diverse blend of schools for the program–urban, rural and suburban, as well as large and small. USDA is also seeking a variety of implementation strategies, use of nutrition education and promotional activities, and the support and commitment provided by school food service, school administration, teachers, and possibly outside organizations, such as Produce for Better Health. The degree to which an application demonstrates a high likelihood of success will improve the chance of selection. The selection criteria are listed on the application narrative. It is the intent of the Child Nutrition Unit (CNU), Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) to select schools from the entire state. No more than 5 applications should be submitted by any school district.
HOW TO APPLY
1) Review the “Arkansas FFVP Handbook”–Amended for Arkansas from USDA Handbook–Attachment A
2) Complete an “Arkansas Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Application–SY 2008-09” for each elementary school applying for the program–Attachment B
3) Review the “AR FFVP Application Scoring Criteria Form”–Attachment C
4) Use the “Sample Letter of Support” as needed to gather letters from partners–Attachment D
Each application narrative submitted should be specific to the school. The responses to questions should be school specific, address the selection criteria, grades served, resources available, how the faculty and staff will work together to implement the grant, etc. Remember to include any information about partnerships schools may have that would support the program with non-federal funds. Do not write one generic proposal for the district and submit with individual school applications. The staffing information and signature sheet (page 7) of the application must also be completed. Applications must be completed and postmarked by April 18, 2008.
Incomplete applications will not be funded.
For any questions, please contact Sheila Brown, FFVP Grant Manager, at 501-324-9502.
Please consider taking part in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program as another way to help students develop lifelong healthful eating habits.
There will be a Distance Education training workshop to assist applicants on April 3, 2008, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Refer to ADE Informational Commissioner’s Memo FIN-08-070 in reference to this training. Sites, times, and additional information concerning this training are detailed in FIN-08-070.