skip to main content skip to main navigation
FFVP - Click to enlarge

December 19, 2023
PO Box 330
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0330       

Jeff Wolfe
P: (609) 633-2954
C: (609) 433-1785


Sonia Sotomayor School No. 21 Receives VIP Award

(PASSAIC) – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and USDA representatives presented Sonia Sotomayor School No. 21 of Passaic Public Schools with the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program VIP Award today. 

The award highlights schools in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) that are doing an exceptional job at promoting fruits and vegetables and healthy lifestyles to their students. The school was selected for the first-place prize for providing a comprehensive program integrating the entire school community in program and wellness activities.

“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program provides an opportunity for schools to encourage healthy eating habits,” NJDA Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Joe Atchison III said. “When students start to learn about where their food comes from and how it is grown, it helps them understand eating fresh fruits and vegetables regularly offers a lifetime of benefits. Congratulations to the staff and students at Sonia Sotomayor School No. 21 for operating an outstanding program.”

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is a federally funded initiative that offers grants to schools to provide fresh produce as snacks to students in schools where 50 percent or more of the students receive free or reduced-price meals. A record-high 222 New Jersey schools are participating in the 2023-2024 school year’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

“Educating students and families on how to build healthy habits is our mission.” said Sonia Sotomayor Principal Tiffany Crockett. “Our goal is to positively influence and shape students and their families to live a healthy life. We embrace this opportunity to enrich students and their families cognitively and physically.”

Assistant Secretary Atchison presented the school with a trophy. Students have been served Jersey Fresh throughout the year as FFVP snacks. These include peaches, apples, tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, green peppers, and spinach when they are in-season.

Sonia Sotomayor School No. 21’s FFVP also features the student government conducting a food drive to promote healthy living, sharing FFVP with teachers, who then share the information with parents on the school’s digital communications platform, school garden activities, having discussions with district food services to implement changes on the breakfast and lunch menus, and giving parents the opportunity to sign up for nutrition classes sponsored by Rutgers University.

“Congratulations to the students and staff of Sonia Sotomayor School No. 21 for winning this year’s NJDA Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program VIP award,”  USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Dr. Patty Bennett said. “The Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program aims to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables students are offered, increasing students’ fruit and vegetable consumption, and positively impacting students’ present and future health. Providing fresh fruits and vegetables helps to keep students healthy, while also providing an opportunity to teach them about health, and how to make smart and nutritious food choices.”

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 since 2008.


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