(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced the 2018 Jersey Fresh Farm to School Recognition and Award program to find the top school in the state participating in farm to school activities. The program also will recognize schools that work with farmers and the community to ensure students have access to healthy Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables in their school cafeterias and teach about agriculture through growing school gardens.
Applications are now available for the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Recognition and Award program at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F2SRecAward. The deadline to complete and submit the application is June 30. One exemplary school that provides the most meaningful Farm to School overview will be presented with the “Best in New Jersey Farm to School Award” during Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week September 24-28, 2018.
“More schools are continuing to show interest and participate in Farm to School activities and we want to recognize schools that are doing a great job,” Secretary Fisher said. “We encourage schools to incorporate Farm to School into their meal program.”
Hundreds of New Jersey schools are practicing healthy eating habits. In a survey sent to school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program in New Jersey, 255 schools said they purchase some local produce from their main distributor, 223 districts said they purchase local produce directly from farms, 212 districts said they connect curriculum that ties cafeteria meals to healthy eating education and 114 districts said they organize field trips to farms.
Schools that meet the criteria in the application will be acknowledged for their Farm to School efforts by receiving a Jersey Fresh Farm to School promotional materials kit, including a Jersey Fresh Farm to School banner, aprons, pencils, pins, key chains, seasonality charts and media templates to announce this recognition.
Farm to School programs provide hands-on, experiential learning opportunities to help students learn about local agriculture, how food grows and what it means to eat healthy fresh fruits and vegetables.
Farm to School activities can include, but are not exclusive to:
- Nutrition education, including taste tests with produce purchased from local farms
- Harvest meals serving locally sourced products from New Jersey farms
- Farm to School curricular tie-ins that connect the cafeteria to the classroom or school garden
- Visits to or from local farms that teach students how food is grown
- School garden education that ties directly into what is already being taught in the classroom
To learn more, visit www.farmtoschool.nj.gov and search for @farmtoschoolnj on social media.
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.