More than 100 Idaho schools have been selected to receive a federal grant to give kids more fresh fruits and vegetables. The grants are meant to provide healthy snacks outside of the school lunch and breakfast program.
Ten Boise schools will get money. Two Meridian Schools were selected. Caldwell’s Van Buren Elementary received the largest amount in Idaho, $35,615.93. But it can’t spend the money on just carrots and apples. Schools are supposed to use the grant to introduce kids to foods they might not be familiar with. Van Buren was part of the program when it was piloted a couple of years ago but didn’t get a grant last year. Principal Melissa Langan says they introduced kids to fruits they’d never heard of like mini coconuts you can eat like grapes. She says it was a great teaching tool.
“This a great chance to share with our children that not only do we have community in our classrooms, and in our building and in our neighborhood but we also are interconnected with our local farmers that are just right down the road from us and we’re also connected to farmers in other countries.”
Langan says eating a mango for example, and talking about its journey from Ecuador to Caldwell is a much better way to teach than just pointing to a map. She says being part of this program is important because many of the students at her school are from families that can't afford a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only did her students eat exotic things, she says many of the kids had never had common items, like cherry tomatoes. Van Buren will use the grant money to give all students an afternoon snack starting this fall.