Press Release – A package of farm-friendly bills sponsored by Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Parker Space and Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus were advanced today by the General Assembly as the Garden State commemorates Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, September 26 to 30. The four bills will help strengthen New Jersey’s Farm to School program, a model being followed by other states.
“We are the Garden State, and nothing identifies New Jersey more than our farms, orchards and vineyards,” said Dancer (R—Ocean), a longtime member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. “The Farm to School initiative provides a bridge connecting a new generation with our state’s farms, introducing students to the nutritional value of locally sourced, freshly harvested produce.”
“The program benefits New Jersey farmers with new customers and a fresh source of revenue,” said Space (R—Sussex), another member of the agriculture committee. “It benefits school children of all ages, expanding their access to, and taste for, nutritious Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables that taste better than anything shipped here by boxcars or trucks.”
The four bills approved today include:
• A3058, sponsored by Space and Dancer, establishes a Farm to School Coordinating Council to help develop and expand the program to more farms and schools.
• A3059 expands Farm to School to public institutions of higher education. Dancer and Space are the sponsors.
• A3060, introduced by Dancer, Space and Phoebus, encourages schools to use more locally grown food in cafeterias. Under the bill, schools sourcing at least 20 percent of the food served in the cafeteria from farm products grown in the state qualify as New Jersey Farm Fresh Schools.
• A3061, from Space, Dancer and Phoebus, calls on the Department of Agriculture to post on their website recipes, submitted by participating schools. The “electronic cookbook” will include recipes with at least one food item from a Farm to School product.
“When students think of food, we want them to think of items fresh off our farms, not processed and packaged food that has lost its nutritional value,” said Phoebus (R—Sussex). “Farm to School is a critical first-step to a new, healthier, more physically fit generation, and at the same time, it helps ensure the survival of New Jersey’s farms and farmers.”