Oct 16, 2020
168 New Jersey schools offering fresh fruit and vegetable program

As part of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s continuing efforts to improve nutritional opportunities for school children, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced 168 New Jersey schools are participating in the 2020-2021 school year’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).

The United States Department of Agriculture has allocated $4,691,210 to New Jersey for this school year’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, to provide fresh produce to almost 85,000 students in 14 counties during the school day. The students also will receive nutrition education. It is the third straight year the number of schools participating has increased and the 168 is the highest number of schools in the program since it began in New Jersey in 2008.

The goal of the program is to introduce children to healthy foods, increase their fruit and vegetable consumption, and create improved lifelong dietary habits.

“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program encourages students to try new offerings so they can develop healthy eating patterns that stay with them for a lifetime,” Secretary Fisher said. “This program has generated excitement and enthusiasm during meal times while creating a pathway for better food choices.”

Additional funds will be allocated to schools for connecting their FFVP with the Farm to School Program. The schools must provide Jersey Fresh produce a minimum of two days each month from September to November and from April to June and must verify where the produce was grown. Eighty-one percent of the 168 schools have agreed to link their FFVP and Farm to School Program.

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.

Click here to see which schools are participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2020-2021 school year.

File photo of a Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program poster taken at a New Jersey school.

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