East Orange STEM Academy High School Among Schools Recognized for Connecting Students with Local Produce

NEWARK, NJ -– The New Jersey Department of Agriculture presented Philip’s Academy Charter School in Newark with the “Best in New Jersey Farm to School Award” on the school’s rooftop garden. The presentation kicked off the celebration of the 9th annual Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week being held September 23-27.

“Philip’s Academy’s emphasis on food education throughout the school is the reason the school was this year’s winner,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “From growing produce in the rooftop garden, the classroom teaching kitchen, a weekly farmers market for school families and a partnership with AeroFarms, the Philip’s Academy EcoSpaces program exemplifies the spirit of this award.”

Sign Up for East Orange/Orange Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

New Jersey schools that entered the Farm to School Recognition Program for the current school year were required to show evidence of working with farmers and the community to ensure students have access to healthy fruits and vegetables in their school cafeterias and classrooms. This year, each school that applied shared information about school garden activities as well as a commitment to taste tests of fresh fruits and vegetables either in the cafeteria or in the classroom.

Joining Philip’s Academy Charter School as Farm to School Recognition Program Schools are:

Absegami High School, Galloway

Bridgeton High School, Bridgeton

Broad Street School, Bridgeton

Donald M. Payne Sr. School of Technology, Newark

East Amwell Township Elementary School, East Amwell

East Orange STEM Academy High School, East Orange     

Essex County West Caldwell Tech, West Caldwell

Field Street Elementary School, Penns Grove

Gloria M. Sabater Elementary, Vineland

Hamburg Elementary School, Hamburg

Cherry Street School, Bridgeton

JC Shaner School, Mays Landing

Juan Pablo Duarte-Jose Julian Marti School #28, Elizabeth

Mount Vernon Elementary School, Newark

National Park Elementary School, National Park

Unity Charter School, Morristown    

Schools received Jersey Fresh Farm to School promotional materials kits including a Jersey Fresh Farm to School banner, aprons, taste test stickers, Jersey Tastes posters and seasonality charts.

Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week was designated as the last week of each September by a law signed in 2010. During this week, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture showcases schools that connect with New Jersey farmers to purchase local produce for school meals to increase student consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.  

Farm to School activities can include, but are not exclusive to: 

Nutrition education, including taste tests with produce purchased from local farms;

Harvest meals serving locally sourced products from New Jersey farms;

Farm to School curricular tie-ins that connect the cafeteria to the classroom or school garden;

Visits to or from local farms that teach students how food is grown; and

School garden education that ties directly into what is already being taught in the classroom.

The influence of the Farm to School Program led to more than 250 schools purchasing local produce from their main distributor, more than 200 districts buying local produce directly from farms and using a curriculum that ties cafeteria meals to healthy eating education and more than 100 districts organizing field trips to farms.

To learn more, visit www.farmtoschool.nj.gov.