ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The New Jersey Department of Agriculture visited Texas Avenue School in Atlantic City to highlight a FoodCorps-led, school-wide cafeteria taste test during the 8th annual Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, Sept. 24-28.
During the week, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture is showcasing schools and farms that are connecting local produce to schools and increasing student consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
“FoodCorps is making an important contribution to the Farm to School program that continues to create enthusiasm for eating fresh fruits and vegetables in schools around the state,” New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “The commitment FoodCorps brings to educating students to have a healthy diet encourages them to make educated choices about what they eat.”
The visit to Texas Avenue School highlighted taste tests of roasted tomatoes donated by Santa Sweets of Cumberland County. Assistance for the tasting was provided by school cafeteria staff and FoodCorps NJ service site AtlantiCare. The tomato is the Jersey Tastes! vegetable of the month in September.
“FoodCorps is doing a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere where our students can test a variety of foods that are good for them,” said Dr. LaKecia Hyman, the principal at Texas Avenue School. “We know that making healthy eating choices enhances a student’s ability to learn. FoodCorps is making a very positive impact on the entire educational process.”
FoodCorps New Jersey is hosted by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Other New Jersey counties with FoodCorps service members are Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, and Salem.
FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect children to real food and help them grow up healthy. FoodCorps places these leaders in limited-resources communities for a year of public service where they conduct hands-on food education, build and tend school gardens, and facilitate getting high-quality local food into public school cafeterias. Serving alongside educators and community leaders, FoodCorps members partner with schools to create a nourishing environment for all students.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is asking everyone to post their Jersey Tastes! events each month on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the #jerseytastes! hashtag. A complete Jersey Tastes! schedule for the year, including resources on how to implement the program, is on the Farm to School website.
Farm to School programs provide hands-on, experiential learning opportunities to help students learn about local agriculture, how food grows and what it means to eat healthy with fresh fruits and vegetables.
To learn more, visit www.farmtoschool.nj.gov.
During the 2017-18 school year, the influence of the Farm to School Program led to 255 schools purchasing some local produce from their main distributor, 223 districts buying local produce directly from farms, 212 districts using a curriculum that ties cafeteria meals to healthy eating education and 114 districts organizing field trips to farms.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture