Schools happy that veggie program will stay

Healthy lifestyles pushed

Whether there will be more local funds, additional funding for the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program shows it has a future.

Gillian Wilson, director of instruction for School District 69 (Qualicum) said there had been rumours the popular program might not be sustained, so Premier Christy Clark’s announcement Tuesday of a $3 million expansion of the provincial program, is welcome news.

All but two schools in the district are part of the program in which every student in the school is provided a fresh fruit and/or vegetable snack two days a week. The first local schools have done it for four years and others have been added in what Wilson describes as an important part of the broad Healthy Schools program which covers emotional and physical health.

School PACs (parent advisory committees) are required to be involved and Wilson said it’s a great way for parents to get into the schools, especially in the older grades, where they get to feel more involved.

The new provincial funding will increase the number of schools in the provincial program from 1,172 to 1,402 schools in September and one-time grants for fridges and equipment.

The program promotes B.C.-grown produce and helps teach students about the produce and nutrition.