(TRENTON) – More students will get to know
the true meaning of “Jersey Fresh” the
next two school years, thanks to a federal grant secured
by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s
Division of Food and Nutrition.
The $200,000 Nutrition Training Grant through the United States Department
of Agriculture will fund four programs over two years designed to make
fresh fruits and vegetables a more regular part of students’ diets.
New Jersey was among 21 states to get the grants, which were announced
July 26 by the USDA.
The grants will supplement the Department’s on-going efforts as
part of the McGreevey administration’s “Healthy Choices,
Healthy Kids” initiative, which includes nutrition information
and exercise and seeks to make school lunch and breakfast menus more
“These are the kinds of programs that can make a difference in children
making smart choices when it comes to selecting produce over less-nutritious
foods,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. “We’ve
also included components that educate their parents, which means the healthy
choices won’t stop when they exit the school doors at the end of the day.”
NJDA Division of Food and Nutrition Director Kathy Kuser said programs
to be funded include:
- School food service managers will be trained to incorporate more fruits
and vegetables into their meals and a la carte offerings. Tactics for
marketing and promoting these products will be addressed to achieve the
goal of students eating more of these healthy foods.
- Pilot schools will be funded to promote and expose children to more
fruits and vegetables, providing exposure in school meal programs to
different types of produce. This expanded knowledge and hands-on experience
is expected to lead to children consuming greater quantities of fruits
- Mini-grants to 10 elementary schools (chosen through competitive applications)
to provide after-school nutrition education programs for both students
and their parents.
- Meetings with school business administrators to work on raising schools’ nutrition
The NJDA Division of Food and Nutrition oversees the USDA free- and reduced-price
lunch and breakfast programs for schools throughout New Jersey, and is
involved in numerous activities designed to create a healthier diet for
“These Team Nutrition grants provide schools with an additional resource
to promote the importance of exercise and good nutrition,” USDA Secretary
Ann M. Veneman said.
“With the assistance of this grant, we will be able to bring healthy eating
to even more young people, which is vitally important in an age where good nutrition
has taken on added significance,” added Secretary Kuperus. “It’s
a bonus that as we teach students and their families about healthier eating,
they will be more likely to buy Jersey Fresh produce, creating more demand for
the delicious, nutritious products our farmers grow.”