The 2022 Jersey Fresh Farm to School Recognition and Award program wants to find the top school in the state participating in farm-to-school activities, according to a news release from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
The program also recognizes schools that work with farmers and the community to ensure students have access to healthy Jersey fresh fruits and vegetables in their school cafeterias and teach about agriculture through growing school gardens.
Schools that meet the criteria in the application will be acknowledged for their Farm to School efforts by receiving a Jersey Fresh Farm to School kit, including a Jersey Fresh Farm to School banner, aprons, pencils, seasonality charts, Jersey Tastes flyers and media templates to announce their recognition.
“We’ve witnessed some amazing Farm to School programs with more than 200 schools having participated,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “Our goal is to encourage students to make healthier food choices, learn about New Jersey agriculture, develop an appreciation for where their food comes from and how to incorporate it in their daily lives.”
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 healthfully with a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Farm to School activities can include, but are not exclusive to:
- Nutrition education, including taste tests with produce purchased from local farms.
- Harvest meals serving locally sourced products from New Jersey farms.
- Farm to School curricular tie-ins that connect the cafeteria to the classroom or school garden.
- Visits to or from local farms that teach students how food is grown.
- School garden education that ties directly into what is already being taught in the classroom.
The deadline to complete and submit the application is July 31. One exemplary school will be honored with this year’s “Best in New Jersey Farm to School Award” during Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, Sept. 26-30.