Superintendent’s Memo #141-14

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

May 30, 2014

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Application for 2014-2015

Section 19 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) authorizes the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to operate in selected elementary schools.  Virginia will be awarded approximately $3.95 million to be allocated to eligible elementary schools that apply to participate for the 2014-2015 school year.  Eligible elementary schools are those that participate in the National School Lunch Program and have a minimum of 50 percent of enrolled students eligible for free or reduced price meals as reported for October 2013.  Section 19 of the NSLA requires elementary schools with the highest free and reduced price eligibility be given priority for FFVP participation.

The FFVP is intended to:

The Virginia Department of Education, Office of School Nutrition Programs, is now accepting applications from eligible elementary schools for FFVP participation in school year 2014-2015.  Eligible elementary schools are listed in Attachment A to this memo.  Schools will be selected to participate based on their free and reduced price eligibility percentage and a complete, signed application packet.  Any item missing from the packet will cause the application to be rejected.  Schools currently participating in the FFVP for 2013-2014, and new schools in school divisions with one or more other schools participating, will submit an abbreviated application packet.  Schools applying to participate for the first time must submit a more detailed application packet.  Instructions are included in the 2014-2015 application, which is Attachment B to this memo.

Selected elementary schools will receive funds to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to be made available to enrolled students at no charge as a snack during the school day at times other than the meal periods.  Schools selected to participate in the FFVP will be notified before the end of June and will be required to participate in an orientation for the FFVP in July.  The FFVP team for each school must include the division school nutrition director (primary contact) and a project/site manager (cafeteria manager); the support of the school principal and division superintendent is also required and must be documented as part of the FFVP application.

Individual school funding for the FFVP will be allocated based on the school’s October 2013 school nutrition program (SNP) enrollment.  Funding levels will be approximately $60 to $65 per student for the school year based on the total SNP enrollment of all schools selected to participate.  Program funding will be available July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, and will be allocated in two parts: July 1-September 30 and October 1-June 30.  The majority of the funds must be used to purchase fruits and vegetables with no more than 10 percent of funds used for equipment and administrative program costs. Equipment purchases must be made in the first quarter and reimbursement requested no later than September 30.

Currently, schools operating the FFVP in Virginia deliver snacks to classrooms or use a kiosk or special area in the school to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables.  There are many creative ways in which the program has been implemented.  FFVP snacks ideally will be offered daily to all students; however, a minimum of three times per week to all students is a requirement for program participation.

School nutrition directors/supervisors are encouraged to collaborate with school administrators, teachers, and others in the school community to develop a plan for implementing the FFVP in one or more eligible schools for the 2014-2015 school year.  Divisions may apply for several eligible elementary schools to participate; a separate application is required for each school.  Divisions should limit the number of participating schools to those that can be effectively administered by available local staff.

Those interested in applying are strongly encouraged to view the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Web site for the FFVP at:  http://www.fns.usda.gov/ffvp.  The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Handbook for Schools provides detailed information on program requirements.  It is available for download at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/handbook.pdf.

Nonfederal partnerships are essential to a school’s success in fulfilling the requirements of the FFVP, including providing nutrition education to participating students.  Schools are required to develop a plan to establish nonfederal resource partnerships to minimize costs and to assist with nutrition education.  To aid schools in identifying these resources, Examples of Nonfederal Resource Partners and Nutrition Education Partners is provided as Attachment C to this memo.

The FFVP can help further a school’s efforts to reinforce health-promoting practices during the school day.  Resources available to assist schools in assessing and improving the school health environment include the Governor’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Scorecard, found at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/healthyva_scorecard.pdf, and Team Nutrition, found at: www.fns.usda.gov/tn.   In addition, the FFVP can assist a school in implementing a Farm-to-School program by providing an opportunity to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local sources.  More information about Virginia’s Farm-to-School program can be found at: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/marketing/farm.shtml.

Applications for the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program must be received by 4 p.m., Friday, June 20, 2014, via US Mail or courier.  Facsimile copies of the application will not be accepted.  Send the original application to:

Virginia Department of Education
Office of School Nutrition Programs
101 N. 14th Street – 21st Floor
ATTN:  Lynne A. Fellin, Associate Director and FFVP Coordinator
P.O. Box 2120
Richmond, VA 23218-2120

Questions and requests for information about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program may be directed to Lynne A. Fellin, associate director of school nutrition programs, by telephone at (804) 225-2717 or by e-mail at lynne.fellin@doe.virginia.gov, or to the assigned school nutrition programs specialist.

SRS/LAF/idl

Attachments:

  1. FFVP Eligible Elementary Schools with 50% or > Free and Reduced Price Eligibility (PDF)
  2. FFVP School Application for 2014-2015 (Word)
  3. Examples of Nonfederal Resource and Nutrition Education Partners (Word)