May 13, 2005

CRAPO PUSHES FOR SCHOOL FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PROGRAM EXPANSION

Notes program benefits both students and farmers

Washington, DC â?? Efforts to get more fresh fruits and vegetables into public schools gained attention on Capitol Hill this week as a group of Senators, including Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, continued their push to expand the Fruit and Vegetable school program nationwide. Crapo, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and twenty other Senators, in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, Rural Development and Related Agencies, asked appropriators to provide funding in the fiscal year 2006 Agriculture Appropriations bill for the program expansion. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program places domestically-grown fruits and vegetables in schools as healthy snacks while educating students on the importance of eating healthy and preventing diet-related chronic diseases.â??The Fruit and Vegetable program promotes healthy eating habits while benefiting our nationâ??s farmers,â?? Crapo said. â??This program has demonstrated its success and should be expanded to children in every state across the country.â??The program has shown students enjoy increased attention in class, a reduction in consumption of less healthy food, and an increased awareness and preference for a variety of fruits and vegetables. The current program provides $1 million to each of eight states and $1 million for schools on three Indian reservations. With Crapoâ??s proposed expansions, every state would be eligible for funding, with $1 million for each state and additional money allocated for reservations. It was first introduced in 2002 Farm Bill as a pilot program with four participating states and, after its success, was expanded to the current participation.