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September 14, 2023   
PO Box 330
Trenton, New Jersey  08625-0330         

Jeff Wolfe
P: (609) 913-6559
C: (609) 433-1785


Department Visits Oliver Street School in Newark

(NEWARK) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture was joined by USDA, state, and local officials today to highlight back to school lunch with a visit to Oliver Street School in Newark to see and learn about the Newark Public School District’s student meal program.

Officials took part in lunch time activities where students were offered a menu that included beef franks, a whole wheat roll, baked beans, corn on the cob, an apple, and fluid milk.

“The Newark Public School District sets an excellent example of how a high-quality school lunch program can work,” NJDA Food and Nutrition Division Director Rose Chamberlain said. “The availability of nutritious meals is essential for students to perform at their highest level in the classroom as well as in extracurricular activities. These meals also create a foundation for healthy dietary habits that can last a lifetime.”

The Newark School Public School District is the largest school district in the state with 69 schools serving more than 22,000 meals in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. The District also participates in the Department of Defense (DOD) Direct Delivery, which brings fresh produce into Newark schools. During the 2022-23 school year the District accepted $3.4 million from USDA Foods, including more than $700,000 in DoD fresh produce.

For the 2023-24 school year the district is participating in the USDA Local Food for Schools grant, with an expected amount of more than $200,000 allocated for the purchase of locally grown food.

“We encourage our students to make healthy choices when they make their lunch selections,” Newark Food Services Interim Director Elayier Pickett said. “It’s important for them to understand that eating foods with high nutritional value can enhance their classroom performance and lead to a healthier lifestyle.”

New Jersey schools follow the nutrition standards set forth by the USDA, which incorporates a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat and fat-free milk options, with limitations on saturated fats, trans-fats, sodium, and calories.

“We applaud New Jersey’s Department of Agriculture and Oliver Street School for providing nutritious meals to their students,” said USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, Dr. Patty Bennett. “The USDA’s school meals programs provide critical nutrition to tens of millions of children every school day. Studies show students’ success in the classroom is connected to their ability to access healthy and nutritious meals.”

The National School Lunch Program serves approximately 30 million children per day across the U.S. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers the program in the Garden State.

To learn more about the state’s school lunch program, visit


To learn more about the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, find us on Facebook at and or Twitter @NJDA and @JerseyFreshNJDA.