A cornerstone of good health is diet, and a cornerstone of a healthful diet is adequate intakes of fruits and vegetables. Research shows that children do not meet the recommendations for fruit intake daily (averaging just 1.3 of the 2 fruit servings recommended per day). Cottonwood 4-H Club members created a plan to introduce fruit as a snack at Woodland Montessori School in order to increase awareness of the healthy benefits and increase the amount of fruit eaten.
How has 4-H helped?
A 4-H civic engagement grant was used for the purchase and delivery of fresh, local produce, kitchen utensils to prepare the fruit and supplies for a Youth Service Day Event bringing a "smoothie bike" to the school. Once the vendor and supplies were selected, weekly deliveries of local fruit were made to the school. 4-H members delivered the fruit to the classrooms for students to snack on throughout the week. Presentations were given to teach their classmates how to wash fruit and prepare it using a variety of utensils. A culminating Youth Service Day activity included reading storybooks about fruit to preschoolers and elementary students, leading a fun fruit activity for preschoolers, and helping classmates prepare fruit smoothies on a smoothie bike.
It’s important for kids to have fruit, usually they don’t, and when they do, they feel good.”
Fruit deliveries began in February and continued through May. The Cottonwood 4-H youth team developed and conducted evaluations. The 65 students served in first through sixth grade reported that they liked having the fruit in the classroom during the previous four months, and that they thought it increased how much fruit they ate. The evaluations (completed by 53 of the students) show that the number of students snacking on fruit during the school day increased from eight students before the intervention to 26 two months into the intervention and 23 during the last week, a 186% increase.