TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher has encouraged the support of Farm to School initiatives through the Farm to School and School Garden Fund tax check-off and the Farm to School Donor Program.
“These are two unique ways that people can get involved in helping school students understand where their food comes from and increase consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers,” said Secretary Fisher. “In 2018, through these generous contributions, we were able to award nine deserving schools with a total of $10,000 in grants from these funds.”
The Farm to School and School Garden Fund check-off can be found on Line 64, number 19, on the 2018 New Jersey State income tax form. The fund was established to allow taxpayers to donate a portion of their tax refund and contribute to help establish school gardens and purchase equipment and educational materials to promote students’ consumption of local produce.
The Farm to School Donor program encourages direct contributions from public and private sources to help fund the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program works to connect schools with New Jersey farmers to source more than 100 types of Jersey Fresh produce grown in the Garden State. Opportunities exist for New Jersey farmers to provide agricultural products to school food service departments throughout the growing season. Serving more local produce in school cafeterias not only supports local farmers but helps improve student nutrition, provide healthy options and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime.
The Farm to School Program includes school garden activities, which teach students where food comes from and connects directly with the classroom. Students benefit by learning the science behind farming and the nutritional values of fresh produce, gaining a greater understanding and appreciation of the environment. Educators can use school garden programs to teach any subject — math, science, language arts, health and nutrition, art or social studies. Farm to School Programs promote and create a sense of community for all involved.
For more information about the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program, visit www.farmtoschool.nj.gov.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture