Jackson Road Elementary Principal Sara Jones said the fresh fruits and vegetables outlined in the grant are not part of the school’s lunch menu but instead come as a snack in the classroom, before recess or at the end of the day.
“It’s an extra piece. (The USDA wants) it to be normal practice for kids to have fruits and vegetables,” Jones said.
All fruits and vegetables given out are season-based and come with a brief health lesson, both through the morning announcement and teachers in the classroom. The nutrition specialist at Jackson Road Elementary is trying to offer a different fruit or vegetable item each day within a month, Jones said.
So far, students have responded well to the program.
“The kids are loving it,” Jones said.
She said she was worried when the item of the day was zucchini, but some kept asking for more. Jones added that the school’s adults are pleasantly surprised by the program because grants are usually geared toward students.
Eleven states in the country were involved in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and 54 schools in Georgia were awarded the grant, said Mary Ramsaier, director of nutrition services for Griffin-Spalding County Schools. Ramsaier applied for the grant for Jackson Road Elementary, which was the only school in the school system to receive it.