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NJ Department of Agriculture announces record for schools in Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Students Benefit From Connection between NJ Farms and Schools

NEW JERSEY – As part of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s continuing efforts to improve nutritional opportunities for school children, New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Joseph Atchison III,  today announced that a record-high 222 New Jersey schools are participating in the 2023-2024 school year’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).

The United States Department of Agriculture has allocated $5,930,389 to New Jersey for this school year’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, to provide fresh produce to over 105,000 students in 57 districts throughout 16 counties during the school day. The students also receive nutrition education.

Eighty percent of the 222 schools have agreed to link their FFVP to the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program. The FFVP program has grown from 33 schools in 2008 to the high of 222 schools for the 2023-2024 school year.

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

“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program encourages students to taste new offerings and to develop healthy eating habits that benefit them for a lifetime.” Assistant Secretary Atchison said. “FFVP creates enthusiasm in schools and benefits farmers around the state as New Jersey produce is often featured for their FFVP snack.”

Additional funds have been allocated to schools for connecting their FFVP with the Farm to School Program. The schools must provide Jersey Fresh produce a minimum of 12 days per school year and must verify where the produce was grown.

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 plan 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.

To view which schools are participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2023-2024 school year, click here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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