Published 11:00 pm Thursday, September 6, 2012

Students in Mrs. Dawn Scarbrough’s first-grade class and in Mrs. Ruth Qualls’ kindergarten class at Goshen Elementary munched on carrots Thursday afternoon as part of the USDA-funded Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program.

Students get a taste of familiar and odd produce through healthy grant program

Pike County children at both school systems will be munching on fresh fruits and vegetable snacks this year as part of the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Twice a week, foods ranging from the familiar to the slightly odd will be brought into the classroom so that children can see, touch, smell and taste a variety of healthy eating options.

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“We encourage the teachers to participate with the children because the students want to model what the teachers do,” said Brooke Terry who heads up child nutrition for the Pike County School System.

Banks School, Goshen Elementary, Pike County Elementary and Troy Elementary schools participate in the program through Pike County Schools and Troy City Schools.

Pike County schools first tried a pilot program at Pike County Elementary in 2008 and this is the second year both school systems have implemented the program system-wide.

“This year we are getting a bit more involved,” said Joyce Curry, child nutrition program director at Troy City Schools. “We are really excited about it.”

And the program will be furthered by presentations from the Pike County Extension Office and Troy University.

“We want to build on the program and keep talks of nutrition and healthy eating going,” Curry said.

Terry said the fresh fruits and veggies program has been beneficial in introducing school children to a variety of produce they might not otherwise have the opportunity to sample.

From kale, jicama sticks, star fruit and pomegranate to carrots and apples, Pike County students will be sampling the freshest products around.