Balboa High School Wins Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Project Grant

Balboa High School students have received a $60,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Education, to do an innovative program to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by their classmates.

The Balboa project proposal was based on a pilot done by Balboa seniors in the Wilderness Arts and Literacy Collaborative (WALC) small learning community in 2007-08. The students were able to get extra fresh fruit delivered to school twice a week along with the regular cafeteria delivery, and they themselves took responsibility for going to the cafeteria at 7:30 am, dividing their fruit into four baskets and carrying it to their 4 WALC classrooms, where the teachers made it available to WALC seniors throughout the day free of charge.

The results of the project showed that most WALC students substantially increased their intake of fruit (which was the goal) and it built demand for making free fruit available to other classes. The grant from the USDA and CDE allows this program to expand in 2008-09 to include every student in the school; the fruit will be available in English classrooms (because English is the one class that every student, in every grade, must take.) Fruit will also be available in health education classes, the Balboa Teen Clinic, and other WALC classrooms.

The program will continue to be directed primarily by students on the Balboa Student Nutrition Committee, a group formed several years ago, and which has over time successfully brought a pilot Point of Sale swipe card system, a highly successful Grab n Go breakfast program, and a wildly popular salad bar to the school. The 2008-09 seniors leading this group call themselves "The Fruity Girls", and urge their peers to snack on the classroom fruit with their rallying cry of "Fruitify Yourself!" Other student groups including JROTC, Peer Resources, and health education classes have also volunteered to help with implementation. The fruit has been available in classrooms since mid September, and the school will provide additional nutrition education, hold two school wide fruit tasting events, and bring students together with nutrition and health professionals to learn more about making wise food choices.

A school wide rally is planned for noon on October 23rd in the quad at Balboa. The Fruity Girls will be giving away hundreds of apples, grapes, and other seasonal locally grown and organic fruit, and there will be nutrition-themed games and activities with prizes for students. Health professionals from UCSF and California Pacific Medical Center will be among those staffing the activities, with prizes supporting nutrition education provided by the Feeling Good Project, Nutrition Services at the SF Department of Public Health.

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Page last updated Tuesday June 21, 2011