Proposed bill would expand USDA produce program to include all forms of fruits and veggies

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-MD) recently introduced legislation that would allow schools to use funds from the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to purchase all forms of fruits and vegetables, instead of limiting them to fresh produce only. 

“Maine farmers produce some of the highest quality fruits and vegetables in the country—such as our famous potatoes and wild blueberries,” Poliquin said. “There is no reason why these products shouldn’t be enjoyed and provided to communities and students around the United States.”

If signed into law, Poliquin’s Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act would allow for the purchase of   frozen, canned or dried produce as well.

“By enabling schools to serve fruits and vegetables, in a variety of forms, we are not only increasing the market for Maine’s hardworking farmers to sell their products, but 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,” Poliquin said.

The FFVP provides free fresh fruits and vegetables to students in participating elementary schools. The goal of the program is to improve children’s overall diet and create healthier eating habits.