Maine farmers produce some of the highest quality fruits and vegetables in the country—such as our famous potatoes and blueberries. There is no reason why these products shouldn’t be enjoyed and provided to communities and students around the United States.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) annual Dietary Guidelines for Americans, there is overwhelming consensus among dietitians that Americans need to greatly increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables. This is especially of concern for our children.
That’s why I authored and introduced the Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act.
This bipartisan bill will allow Maine’s schools to use the money from the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to purchase all forms of locally grown fruits and vegetables—fresh, frozen, canned or dried—for students’ meals. This bipartisan bill will encourage our schools to buy healthy, local, Maine-grown foods for our kids.
The FFVP ensures school children in Maine and across the country receive nutritious snacks while learning about the nutritional benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.
By enabling schools to serve fruits and vegetables, in a variety of forms, we are teaching children that nutritious foods come in many different sizes, shapes, colors and packages—from frozen blueberries, to canned peas, to fresh peaches and dried apricots.
When I was raising my son, nothing mattered more to me than his health and well-being, and I was very mindful of the meals we ate and the food we purchased. As a parent, I believe it’s very important for our kids to have the opportunity to eat delicious fruits and vegetables, such as Maine blueberries and strawberries, all school year round.
Additionally, this initiative would allow schools to use their money more efficiently. High-quality fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t available year-round in every part of the country, and strengthening this program ensures that schools have the options they need to continue to encourage a healthy diet throughout the school year.
I ’m proud that this bipartisan bill will give schools more flexibility in their FFVP funds to provide for smarter and healthier food choices for our children. As a parent, and Maine’s Second District Congressman, I will urge my colleagues to join me in helping our kids have the opportunity to enjoy fruits and vegetables all school year round.