Contact: Lynne Richmond
(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus today announced that 25 schools will participate in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program for the 2008-2009 school year.
The fruit and vegetable education program provides fresh and dried fruits and fresh vegetables throughout the school day to teach students the importance of good nutrition and the benefits of including fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet, as well as increasing their consumption of produce.
“This program exposes students to the great taste and nutritional benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, some of which might not be offered at home,” said Secretary Kuperus. “We hope these students will learn to seek out these healthy snacks and incorporate them into their daily diets long after the program ends next June.”
A total of 98 New Jersey schools, within 68 districts applied for the program. Some of the criteria used in making the selections included: a majority of schools needed to have 50 percent or more of the students eligible for free or reduced price meals; schools planned to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables; the program would be well-publicized and all students would have access to the produce offered; and schools planned to partner with outside organizations to enhance nutrition education.
The recently passed federal Farm Bill expands the fruit and vegetable program to all 50 states. The program was initiated as a pilot in 2002 in four states and one Indian Tribal Organization. Legislation in 2004 made the program permanent.
New Jersey’s congressional delegation worked to ensure that the Garden State was included as part of this program.
The participating schools come from 16 different counties in New Jersey. They are:
AlderAvenue Middle School, Egg Harbor Township
OceansideCharter School, Atlantic City
DawesAvenue School, Somers Point
BrownstoneSchool, Saddle Brook
SpringfieldTownship Elementary School
HaleyvilleElementary School, Commercial Township
Our Lady of Help Christians School, East Orange
LincolnAvenue School, Orange
TuscanElementary School, Maplewood
TeamAcademy Charter School, Newark
EvergreenAvenue School, Woodbury
Elysian Charter School, Hoboken
PortMonmouth Road School, Keansburg
DaytopPreparatory School, Mendham
OakStreet School, Lakewood
SouthToms River Elementary School
WilliamB. Cruise Memorial School #11, Passaic
P.W.Carleton School, Penns Grove
QuintonTownship Elementary School
MerriamAvenue School, Newton
LivingstonElementary School, Union Township
PhillipsburgEarly Childhood Learning Center