For Immediate Release: May 10, 2011
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – As part of an effort to improve the health of children by providing access to nutritious meals in schools, New Jersey has received funding to expand the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2011-2012 school year.
New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced that 143 schools in 16 counties have been chosen to participate in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded program for the next school year, which provides students with fresh produce during the school day. Presently, 101 schools are participating in the program for the current school year.
“This has been a very successful program – the students love the fresh fruits and vegetables and many schools are sourcing the produce from our local farmers,” said Secretary Fisher. “We hope this program will continue to grow to give more children the opportunity to increase their consumption of fresh produce and gain the many health benefits of eating these foods.”
The 2008 Farm Bill authorized the increased spending for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The USDA plans to provide $158 million to the programs nationwide. New Jersey’s allocation is expected to be $3,756.315, a 48.4 percent increase over the funding for the program last year when 101 schools received $2,530,957.
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program exposes school children to healthy foods and increases their fruit and vegetable consumption, ultimately leading to improved lifelong dietary habits.
Some of the criteria used in making the selections included: elementary schools with 50 percent or more of their students eligible for free or reduced price meals; schools that planned to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables as much as possible; the program would be well-publicized and all students would have access to the produce offered; and schools that planned to partner with outside organizations to enhance nutrition education.
Click here for the list of schools that will participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2011-2012 school year.