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Taliaferro, Houghtaling & Andrzejczak Bill to Promote & Increase Use of Jersey Fresh Products in New Jersey Schools Advanced by Senate Committee

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Adam Taliaferro, Eric Houghtaling and Bob Andrzejczak to help promote the New Jersey Farm to School Program, and encourage the use of more locally grown foods in the meals prepared in schools, colleges and universities in the state was advanced Thursday by the Senate Education Committee.
The bill was approved by the Assembly in September.
“Eating healthy does not come naturally to many young people,” said Taliaferro (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “Creating more opportunities to highlight and expand on the success of the New Jersey Farm to School program not only helps advance the Jersey Fresh brand and the concept of buying locally, but instills the importance of making healthier food choices to students.”
“The New Jersey Farm to School program provides hands-on opportunities to help students learn about local agriculture, how food grows and what it means to eat healthy,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “Teaching our young people about the benefits of eating locally grown foods by partnering with our schools can help young people develop healthier eating habits, instill a sense of pride in New Jersey’s agricultural richness and support the state’s farmers who make it all happen.”
“The more schools that participate in the Farm to School Program, the better it is for our students and the state’s agricultural industry,” said Andrzejczak (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “Encouraging more partnerships between the program and our schools, colleges and universities can introduce students to healthier foods grown locally and further promote the Jersey Fresh brand.”
The bill (A-3058) would establish the Farm to School Coordinating Council in the state Department of Agriculture.
The council would examine all areas of the New Jersey Farm to School Program and identify any outstanding issues or problems that need to be resolved and areas in need of improvement. The council would also focus on the procurement process relating to the purchase of agricultural products by schools from New Jersey farmers, and recommend ways to increase the participation of both farmers and schools in the program. The council would also make recommendations on ways to promote and increase the use of fresh farm foods at schools throughout the state.
The council, within one year after its first meeting, would prepare and submit a written report to the governor and to the Legislature with its findings, conclusions, and recommendations.