Haderlein Elementary began participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Aug. 30 this school year.

Haderlein Elementary began participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Aug. 30 this school year.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) has been a nationwide program since 2008 and includes selected elementary schools in the United States and other countries.

It provides all children in participating schools with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Every Tuesday and Thursday students are given a 3-ounce sample of a different fresh fruit or vegetable, including kiwi, star fruit, rutabaga, and kohlrabi. Teachers are allowed to consume the fruit and vegetables to lead by example.

The goal of FFVP is to create a healthier school environment by providing healthier food choices and expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables students consume.

To be selected for FFVP, a school must be an elementary school, represent the highest percentage of students certified for free and reduced price benefits, participate in the National School Lunch Program, and complete an annual application for the FFVP.

USD 248 Dietician Mary Twarog became aware of the program through a monthly update by the Kansas State Department of Education and submitted an application to involve RVH in May. She received an affirmative reply in July.

Regarding the program, Mrs. Twarog said, “The children have received it really well. We have seen an increase in children eating more fruits and vegetables at lunch and believe it is a worthwhile program.”

Second grader Roxy Stimatze said, “I like trying new things I haven’t tried before, like the avocado and pineapple.”

“I like trying new stuff, like the avocado,” added second grader Cassie Murphy.

The program will end in May 2012, and Mrs. Twarog will re-apply next year.

Principal Tom Stegman said, “Since the beginning of the program, Haderlein staff have noticed that children are attempting to eat new fruits and vegetables. Our goal is to create healthy children with healthy eating habits.”