W.O. Parmer receives USDA grant

Published 12:22 pm Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thanks to a $36,108 grant from the USDA, W.O. Parmer students will receive an afternoon snack provided by the school once a week during the 2011-2012 school year. The snack will consist of either a fresh fruit or a fresh vegetable and is part of the initiative by USDA to offer schools a wider variety of fresh produce than would be available through normal USDA purchases.

W.O. Parmer Elementary School is trying something fresh.

Fresh produce that is.

Thanks to a $36,108 grant from the USDA, W.O. Parmer students will receive an afternoon snack provided by the school once a week during the 2011-2012 school year. The snack will consist of either a fresh fruit or a fresh vegetable and is part of the initiative by USDA to offer schools a wider variety of fresh produce than would be available through normal USDA purchases.

“This is really all about exposure,” W.O. Parmer Elementary School Principal Catherine Tanner said. “We want the kids to have the chance to try something that maybe they would never try otherwise.”

Cantaloupe, watermelon, pears, pomegranate, kiwi, pineapple, tangelo, asparagus, spinach, celery sticks, mushrooms, zucchini and cauliflower are some of the fruits and vegetables that will be featured in the weekly snacks, which are being supplied by Four Seasons Produce.

Along with providing a healthy snack, the school will also give a lesson in nutrition. W. O. Parmer teachers will be working with a nutritionist from the Butler County Extension Office to develop lesson plans to accompany each fruit and vegetable.

“We’re lucky to be a part of this program,” Tanner said. “Not only are our kids being exposed to different fruits and vegetables, but they are also learning about the different benefits this foods offer.”

The school is currently looking for vendors to supply the fresh produce. School officials are hoping to purchase at least some of the fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers.