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Newport Students to Receive Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

Students at Newport Primary and Newport Intermediate schools will be receiving fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school year.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, a grant funded and regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides all children in participating schools with a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day.

"The program offers numerous benefits to our students," said Newport Independent Schools Food Service Director Lisa Rizzo. "It exposes them to a wide variety of produce they might not have tasted otherwise. Fresh produce can be expensive, and access is limited to many of our students and families. Two to three times each week, the program will provide a nutritious snack and a better alternative to a high sugar option they might choose on their own."

"We want them to learn the concept of Farm to Table and experience the freshness of local food," Rizzo said. "Ultimately, we hope to increase their acceptance of more fresh produce, especially vegetables and inspire lifelong healthy eating habits.

The distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables takes place in the classroom. Food service staff and teachers will work together to encourage healthy eating by providing samples and incorporating nutrition education. Students will learn about different nutrients and how they can help the body. Our teachers are role models and great motivators. With reinforcement from them, we hope to change and improve our student’s eating behavior.

Other goals of the program include:

  • Creating healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices
  • Expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience
  • Increasing children's fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Making a difference in children's diets to impact their present and future health

The Newport Independent School District is a participant in the Community Eligibility Provision, which qualifies all students to receive free breakfast and lunch daily.  The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is one of five federal feeding programs administered by the district.  The other four include: National School Breakfast, National School Lunch, Child and Adult Care Feeding Program and the Summer Food Service Program.

-Staff report