Fruits of labour welcomed at Chilliwack schools

When the large boxes of B.C.-grown fruits and vegetables are dropped off at Chilliwack schools, there’s no telling what's inside.

Thirty of Chilliwack’s schools are signed on to the B.C. School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program

Thirty of Chilliwack’s schools are signed on to the B.C. School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program

When the large boxes of B.C.-grown fruits and vegetables are dropped off at Chilliwack schools, there’s no telling what delights are waiting inside.

Sometimes staff will find a sweet fruit, and other times it’s a hearty vegetable, says Bernard elementary principal Janine McCurdy.

But whether they’re Okanagan apples or Fraser Valley blueberries, every box comes with a chance for students to discover something new. Thirty of Chilliwack’s schools are signed on to the B.C. School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program, which just celebrated its tenth year of providing fresh produce to B.C. students.

Bernard elementary and McCurdy’s previous school, Little Mountain elementary, were a few of the earlier schools to sign on to the free program.

She said a large shipment of produce arrives at the schools 13 times a school year, with enough food for all of the students to enjoy.

“Volunteers then come in and distribute it all to the classes, and everybody gets a chance to try something,” McCurdy said. “We’ve tried kiwi, we get cherry tomatoes, carrots, and we’ve even had plums in the past.”

Some of these are foods that students are trying for the very first time.

“I think it opens their eyes to something new, and gives them an opportunity to try it,” she added.

The food is distributed just before recess or lunch, depending on the day, giving the teachers a chance to include a small lesson on nutrition.

“This is a really good program,” McCurdy said.

And more recently, BC Dairy Association has joined the program, too. At Bernard, each of the shipments include enough milk for all their kindergarten to Grade 2 students.

If there are any schools that haven’t signed on, she said the process is simple. Just visit www.aitc.ca/bc and sign up.

The program is provided free to schools, through provincial funding.

“From humble beginnings with only 10 schools, a decade later we’re seeing phenomenal success with nearly 90 per cent of B.C. public and First Nations schools involved in the program,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “By providing children with fresh, delicious fruits, vegetables and milk, we’re helping them develop an appetite for healthy living – a crucial part of our Healthy Families BC prevention strategy and a major priority for the future of our health system.”

The Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority have provided combined funding of $21.5 million to the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation since 2010-11 to support the program. It was created in partnership with the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, and Education and is led by the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing B.C.’s agriculture to students.

“This program works directly with local growers and distributors to bring fresh B.C. produce to the students, right in the classroom. It is great that students are also learning that eating fresh, local produce supports B.C. farmers and the economies of our rural regions,” said Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick.

New this year, the Fresh to You fundraiser was recently introduced in schools. Fresh to You allows families to buy fresh bundles of produce, with 40% of the proceeds going to support the school. This year with the launch of the fundraiser, 60 schools raised a total of $34,382 through the sales of 4,387 bundles packed full of B.C. produce.

Just Posted

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

Vanessa Dueck.
Snapshots of a Chilliwack father from his loving daughter

Father’s Day memories of special moments shared together

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read