August 31, 2010 by wcobserver
Greenland- Students at Greenland Elementary School will be eating a lot more fruits and vegetables thanks to a $14,000 grant that will provide healthy snacks to kids three days a week.
Greenland received the grant from the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, a USDA grant awarded through the Arkansas Department of Education. Mike Lamb, physical education teacher, worked with the school’s food service director, Gina Smith (who has since taken a position in Farmington) and Catherine Koch, UA Cooperative Extension office to apply for the grant last spring.
Lamb said the $14,000 grant will be used to purchase a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for school snacks.
“Its purpose is to get them (students) to eat healthier snacks, get them to rethink the definition of snacks,” said Lamb.
The new snacks will be served to elementary students grades K-4 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays throughout the school year, according to Lamb. He said the grant specifies that the snacks must be served outside of meal times and that only fresh fruit and vegetables can be purchased with the monies.
“It can’t be smoothies. It can’t be dried or prepared,” said Lamb.
Lamb related that he and new Food Services Director, Glenda Anders, attended a workshop in Little Rock after receiving the grant. They have plans to tie the fresh fruits and vegetables program into school-wide learning.
“We want them to understand the health and wellness benefits over snacks of nutritional value,” Lamb said. “As a specialist, this is a way I can support the classroom teachers.”
Lamb hopes to involve members of the community in the program as well; he said he’d like to see people share their knowledge about gardening, for example, with students so they’ll have a better understanding of where food comes from.
Lamb noted that the grant is a one-year grant and would have to be applied for again next year. He said the percentage of students (63 percent) who receive a free and reduced lunches at the school played a large role in the school receiving the grant.
“We’re exposing them to a variety of fresh fruit and veggies. Hopefully, they’ll build a new relationship with those foods.”