BC Agriculture in the Classroom
Kildala enjoys taking part in the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program. Read on about the program and how it has expanded to include providing fresh fruits and vegetables to over 400,000 students!
The BC School Fruit & Vegetable Nutritional Program (BCSFVNP) grew from an idea formed in 2004. Similar programs in the USA and the UK were having great success providing students with fresh local fruit and vegetables programs in their schools. Why not try a similar program in BC?
The BC Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Health selected the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation (BCAITC) to implement a pilot program here in BC. As a non-profit organization dedicated to working to bring BC’s agriculture to students, we were a natural choice. Already working closely with schools, producers, suppliers and distributors, we knew all about BC grown produce and were proud supporters of BC farmers.
The Program has grown from an initial launch of ten schools in 2005 to 1,266 BC K-12 public schools and K-12 BC First Nations Schools in the 2011/2012 school year. With the help of our 4,000 volunteers and incredible partners we now provide fresh fruit and vegetable snacks every other week, 13 times in the school year, to nearly 409,000 students. Many of those students are now making fruits and vegetables a part of their regular diet – both at school and at home. They are learning that eating fresh, local products supports our local farmers and the economies of rural regions. They are also learning first hand about the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, while finding out how great they taste. How do we get the product to schools?
What are the Objectives of the Program?
• to increase the consumption of local fruits and vegetables
• to increase the awareness of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables
• to increase the awareness of fruits and vegetables grown in BC
• to increase the awareness of the safe handling practices of fresh fruits and vegetables
Who funds the Program?
The BCSFVNP is a collaborative program from the provincial government’s Healthy Families BC with funding from the BC Ministry of Health. It is administered through the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to “Working to bring BC’s agriculture to our students.” The Foundation is working with local growers and distributors to bring the fresh BC products to students.