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Photo of fresh fruit and vegetable program display - Click to enlarge
For Immediate Release: May 3, 2010
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) – More students will be able to sample fresh produce in New Jersey schools next school year, due to an expansion of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced that 101 schools in 17 counties have been chosen to participate in the program for the 2010-2011 school year.  During the current year, 60 schools are operating the program.

“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program allows children to taste produce they might not have tasted before and learn about it and its health benefits,” said Secretary Fisher.  “The program has been extremely successful, the students love it, and many schools are taking every opportunity to purchase the produce they are using for the program from local farmers.”

Increased funding has allowed the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to expand the program so that more school children can benefit next year.  The USDA has allocated $2,530,957 for the 101 schools.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) exposes school children to new, healthier foods and increases their fruit and vegetable consumption, ultimately leading to improved lifelong dietary habits.

The program has grown every year since it began in New Jersey.  During the first school year, 2008-2009, the Department allotted funding for 33 schools to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students on a regular basis. The federal Farm Bill, which became law in June of 2008, expanded what had been a pilot program in a few states to include all 50 states.

Some of the criteria used in making the selections included: schools needed to be elementary schools and have 50 percent or more of their students eligible for free or reduced price meals; schools planned to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables as much as possible; 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.

Click here for a list of the schools that will participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2010-2011 school year.