January 28, 2005

Crapo Leads Effort To Expand School Fruit And Vegetable Program

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin are asking President George W. Bush to increase funding for a program that places domestically-grown fruits and vegetables in schools as healthy snacks. This program benefits both students and produce farmers. Crapo enlisted the support of Senator Larry Craig and a bipartisan list of Senators in the letter to the President requesting that the Administration include funding in the fiscal year 2006 budget to expand the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.â??Under current funding levels, the Fruit and Vegetable Program can only serve a small fraction of our nationâ??s children in a limited number of schools in eight states,â?? the letter says. â??While we recognize that the current fiscal situation would make it difficult to expand the program to all children and schools, we do believe that a substantial investment in the program for fiscal year 2006 is vital to the health of our nationâ??s children.â??â??This program has helped address concerns about childhood obesity and nutrition by encouraging our students to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables,â?? said Crapo. â??An additional benefit is the increased market for our fruit and vegetable growers.â??â??The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is a very effective way to raise awareness and consumption of two vital food groups that are sometimes ignored, especially by children,â?? Craig said. â??The program results in more children consuming more fruits and vegetables, helping their health and Idaho's farmers."The program was first authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill as a pilot program in 25 schools in four states and seven tribal schools. The program has been considered largely successful in decreasing the risk of obesity, increasing attention in class, reducing consumption of less healthy food, increasing student awareness of a variety of fruits and vegetables and helping feed hungry children. Crapo worked with Senator Harkin to introduce legislation in the 108th Congress to extend and expand the program. The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill, signed into law last year, incorporated similar legislation that extended the program to four additional states and additional tribal schools.# # #