In celebration of New Jersey Farm to School Week, September 20-24, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher recently announced 202 New Jersey schools are participating in the 2021-2022 school year’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), the highest number since the program began in 2008.
FFVP will be offered in 16 counties, including new additions Gloucester and Somerset, during the school day. Overall, there are 36 new schools in the program which provides fresh produce to over 100,000 students.
“The growth of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program helps ensure Jersey Fresh produce is finding its way to more and more schools highlighting what we grow in the Garden State,” Secretary Fisher said. “This program aids districts in continuing to offer healthy choices to students so they can incorporate better habits that can have a positive impact throughout their lives.”
Many of New Jersey’s FFVP schools have started their program during this Farm to School Week. Schools are featuring “Jersey Tastes” activities, recipes and serving the harvest of the month, the Jersey tomato, along with a variety of Jersey Fresh produce as snacks for students. Find out more about the “Jersey Tastes” program at bit.ly/3nKG5HY.
Eighty-four percent of the 202 schools have agreed to link their FFVP and Farm to School Program and additional funds have been allocated for those schools. The schools must provide Jersey Fresh produce a minimum of six days from September to November and from April to June and must verify where the produce was grown.
The United States Department of Agriculture has allocated nearly $5.5 million to New Jersey for this school year’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The goal of the program is to introduce children to healthy foods, increase their fruit and vegetable consumption, and create improved eating patterns.
Some of the criteria used in selecting the schools to participate in FFVP include 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; all students having access to the produce offered; and plans to partner with outside organizations to enhance nutrition education.
Learn more about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program at bit.ly/2ZqD5q5 and the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program at bit.ly/3kDo1xz.
Bridgeton schools participating in the program are:
Broad Street School,
Buckshutem Road School,
Cherry Street School,
Foster Early Childhood Center,
Indian Avenue School,
Quarter Mile Lane School, and
West Avenue School.
Millville schools participating in FFVP:
R.M. Bacon School,
Silver Run School, and
In Vineland, two schools are participating:
Dallago Early Childhood Center, and
Gloria M. Sabater School.
Commercial Township School in Commercial Township is also participating in the FFVP.