IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jeff Wolfe P: (609) 633-2954
June 20, 2017 www.nj.gov/agriculture
PO Box 330
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0330
C: (609) 433-1785
Contact: Jeff Wolfe P: (609) 633-2954
(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Food and Nutrition has been named a recipient of a $90,945 Support Service grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program, an effort to better connect school cafeterias and students with local farmers, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher announced today..
“We look forward to expanding even further in to all our Child Nutrition Programs, Farm to School, Farm to Summer and Farm to Preschool, and supporting efforts across the entire state,” Secretary Fisher said. “More and more schools are sourcing local products and are including school garden education within their curriculum. Our Farm to School Program is here to promote those who participate and to encourage more schools to sign on to this movement.”
The grant will be used by the NJDA’s Division of Food and Nutrition to provide funding to FoodCorps service sites for taste tests and school garden start up or expansion at approximately 30 schools. The Division will also host the Second Farm to School Summit - a statewide event to bring farmers, produce distributors/brokers, food service management companies, self-operated programs, vendors, school business officials, administrators, educators and school boards together for networking and sharing on the benefits and best practices of farm to school, farm to summer and farm to pre-school.
“The Farm To School Program is a great way to help schools partner with NJ farmers to source more than 100 types of Jersey Fresh produce grown here in the Garden State,” said NJDA Division of Food and Nutrition Director Rose Tricario. “The program also plays an important role in providing healthy options and educating students on how food is grown.”
For more information on Farm to School in New Jersey, visit: www.farmtoschool.nj.gov.
According to the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, schools with strong farm to school programs report higher school meal participation, reduced food waste, and increased willingness of the students to try new foods, notably fruits and vegetables. In addition, in school year 2013-2014 alone, U.S. schools purchased more than $789 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers.
“Increasing the amount of local foods in America’s schools is a win-win for everyone,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “Our children benefit from the fresh, local food served in their meals at school, and local economies are nourished, as well, when schools buy the food they provide close to home.”
Nearly half (47 percent) of these districts plan to purchase even more local foods in future school years. The USDA Farm to School grants are for 65 projects spanning 42 states and Puerto Rico this year.
For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov.
To learn more about the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NJDeptofAgriculture and www.facebook.com/JerseyFreshOfficial or Twitter @NJDA1 and @JerseyFreshNJDA.