ELIZABETH, N.J. — New Jersey Department of Agriculture and USDA representatives presented Juan Pablo Duarte – Jose Julian Marti School No. 28 with the Fourth Annual Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program VIP Award.
The award program highlights schools in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program that are doing an exceptional job at promoting fruits and vegetables and healthy lifestyles to their students. Juan Pablo Duarte – Jose Julian Marti School No. 28 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 is one way that schools can encourage their students to learn more about where their food comes from and how it is produced, along with creating healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “The FFVP provides an educational opportunity as well as students getting to enjoy a healthy snack and celebrating the farmers who grow the food. We congratulate the Juan Pablo Duarte – Jose Julian Marti School No. 28 for its exemplary efforts.”
The school offers the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, 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.
“The students have embraced this program and they enjoy being a part of something that they know is good for all of us,” said Carol Garcia, the FFVP Coordinator at Juan Pablo Duarte – Jose Julian Marti School No. 28. “This program has had a positive influence on our school and our students are always excited to see what fruit or vegetable they can have.”
NJDA Food and Nutrition Division Director Rose Tricario presented the school with a trophy. The school will also be able to choose a salad bar, nutrition education resources or a piece of equipment to aid in delivery of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Before the presentation, officials saw the school garden and visited a class where students were learning about the importance of healthy eating habits while eating a healthy snack of blueberries.
The Passaic Gifted and Talented Academy in the Passaic Public School District and George L. Catrambone School in the Long Branch Public School District tied for second place honors in this year’s FFVP VIP award program. The schools will receive trophies and banners with the FFVP logo.
The Department awarded $3,928,905 in grants to 144 schools in 13 counties serving over 73,000 students through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2018-2019 school year. The program provides students with fresh produce as snacks during the school day to teach them about proper nutrition and increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables. Additional funding was given to schools that purchase produce from New Jersey farmers for the program.
— New Jersey Department of Agriculture