Giving Kids a Taste of the Garden State

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The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is hoping to give kids a taste of the Garden State for Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week.

“Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week is a celebration of Jersey Fresh produce and an opportunity for us to highlight a lot of the wonderful things that our schools are doing with Jersey Fresh in their programs,” said Rose Tricario, the director of the Division of Food and Nutrition for the NJDA.

The idea is to bring Jersey Fresh produce not just in school cafeterias, but in the classroom to also create a learning experience.

Second generation farmer Eric Buzby, of 200-acre A. T. Buzby Farm, is a proud participant of the program.

“Primarily my involvement with our local schools is going in to speak with them and assisting with the FFA," said Buzby. "We also employ several FFA students on the farm."

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And he believes there are many things kids can learn from the program.

“I feel like agriculture has a lot of opportunities for young people both educationally and as a career,” said Buzby.

Along with bringing farmers in, many schools in the area are taking matters into their own hands with school gardens.

“They’re growing it themselves, they’re involved with the maintenance of the garden and then they get to do different things educationally along with taste tests,” said Tricario.

That’s where the new component, #JerseyTastes comes in.

“The kids get the opportunity to taste something new," said Doug Fisher, secretary for the NJDA. "Find out about what it is that’s growing in the state. Maybe it’s not new to them, maybe it is. Then they get to vote. So it’s a participatory thing.” 

“It’s important for us to teach our children where their food comes from and we want to create a lifelong habit of healthy eating," said Tricario. "We want children to make the healthier choices of fruits and vegetables, especially the locally grown fruits and vegetables."

Schools interested in getting a taste of the Jersey Fresh Farm to School program should reach out to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

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