A record high 210 New Jersey schools are participating in the 2022-23 school year’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher made the announcement as part of the State Department of Agriculture’s continuing efforts to improve nutritional opportunities for students.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture allocated $5,580,688 to New Jersey for this year’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to provide fresh produce to approximately 100,000 students in 54 districts throughout 16 counties during the school day.

The FFVP program has grown significantly from just 33 schools in 2008.

The goal of the program is simple: to introduce children to healthy foods, increase their fruit and veggie consumption, and encourage them to make improved lifelong dietary habits.

Celebrate a Jersey Fresh weekend
(Chris Swendeman/Townsquare Media)

Some of the criteria used in selecting schools to participate in the program include elementary schools with 50% or more of their students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, schools that planned to purchase locally grown fruits and veggies as much as possible, all students having access to the produce offered, and plans to partner with outside organizations to enhance nutritional education.

The schools must provide Jersey Fresh produce a minimum of two days each month from September to November and again from April to June, and must verify where the produce was grown.

“FFVP creates enthusiasm in schools and benefits farmers around the state as local produce is often featured during meals,” Fisher said.

To see which schools are participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for this academic year, visit here.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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