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New Jersey Department of Agriculture
Service member, Nicole, filming a recipe video for a "Roasted Vegetable Turkey" as part of the Farm to School Program's "Jersey Tastes!" video series.

New Jersey Department of Agriculture

The NJ Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food and Nutrition Services administers a number of programs devoted to improving the quality and provision of food to New Jersey residents, in particular those most in need. The NJDA houses the NJ Farm to School Program & the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program. Both of these Programs directly tie into FoodCorps’ mission of “Together with communities, FoodCorps serves to connect kids to healthy food in school.” Through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program, schools throughout New Jersey can partner with NJ farmers to source more than 100 types of Jersey Fresh produce grown here in the Garden State. Opportunities exist for New Jersey farmers to provide agricultural products to school food service departments throughout the growing season. The object of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias is to improve student nutrition, provide healthy options and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime, as well as support local farmers. Additionally, the Farm to School Program includes schools garden activities, which help teach students where food comes from by growing it themselves. Students benefit by learning the science behind farming and the nutritional values of fresh products and gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the environment. Educators can use school garden programs to teach any subject – math, science, language arts, health and nutrition, art or social studies. Farm to School programs promote and create a sense of community for all involved. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture also has developed a Harvest of the Month program, “Jersey Tastes!”. This program provides schools with monthly activity sheets, recipes, recipes videos and educational videos. The goal of this program is to engage the entire school community in promoting healthy New Jersey produce. The USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a federal grant offered to elementary schools with 50 percent or more students eligible for free or reduced price meals. Each year the New Jersey Department of Agriculture accepts applications from schools interested in participating in this program. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program exposes school children to fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snacks on a routine basis. The goal of the program is to increase children’s consumption of these nutritious foods and to make a difference in children’s diets to impact their present and future health. Schools that are awarded the FFVP grant are encouraged to serve locally grown fruits and vegetables for this program. As a special incentive in New Jersey, schools that agree to serve locally grown Jersey produce receive additional grant money. Schools that receive this funding have more resources to spend per portion on produce, providing them unique purchasing opportunities for locally grown. The FFVP program allows schools to showcase and expose children to the wonderful flavors and varieties of produce available from New Jersey farmers. Our community consists of schools throughout the state of New Jersey. Our Department of Agriculture consists of staff working with schools to ensure they are following state and federal child nutrition program regulations. It is a great place to serve and hope you join us in making a difference in the lives of children by promoting healthy lifestyles and positively impacting their future well-being!

The FoodCorps service member with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture will work closely with the Farm to School and Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program Coordinators on the following activities: create recipe demonstration videos, educational lesson videos, and classroom, garden, and cafeteria based resources for schools throughout New Jersey, all relating to the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and New Jersey’s harvest of the month campaign, Jersey Tastes!; support outreach to New Jersey schools and district food service programs regarding Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, National Farm to School Month, and relevant NJDA sponsored grants and recognition programs; promote and highlight successful Farm to School and FFVP initiatives and champions throughout the state – including districts, schools, school leaders, teachers, students, food service staff, and farmers via social media and newsletters; support the management, re-visioning, and expansion of the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Website; accompany NJDA staff on official site visits and participate in planning and leading official Farm to School an FFVP trainings for school leaders, teachers, an food service staff across the state.

When asking our current FoodCorps Service Member what they love about serving with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture they said the following:

“I love creating healthy recipes and knowing that these may be incorporated into school lunch meals and served at home to families throughout New Jersey. I feel like I am really contributing to improving the eating patterns of children and families by providing them with nutritious recipes with lots of fruits and vegetables!”

Our 1 FoodCorps service member at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture is part of the New Jersey/New York cohort that includes 16 members with 7 sites across 8 communities in New Jersey and New York City. Don’t be fooled by what you may have heard from the haters: New Jersey is a state with a heaping spoonful of love, a dash of attitude, and a heavy sprinkle of everything nature has to offer: gorgeous beaches along the Atlantic Ocean (AKA ‘the shore’), hiking opportunities from the Appalachian Trail in the north to the Pine Barrens in the south, flourishing urban spaces with every kind of cuisine and art form known to planet earth, and rolling farmland stretching for as far as the eye can see. Situated between two major cities – New York and Philadelphia – New Jersey is aptly named the Garden State and home to nearly 10,000 urban and rural farms producing over 100 crops enjoyed nationwide! Connecting New Jersey kids to local agriculture reinforces our agricultural roots, economy, and unites communities with a shared vision of improving child health and wellbeing. Like New Jersey itself, our service sites reflect a broad diversity of culture and geography. Too many New Jersey residents experience health disparities as a result of decades of systemic racism, and service members mainly serve in communities with the highest rates of food insecurity. In partnership with our network of service sites, we strive to positively impact the ways New Jersey children experience food in school by using a variety of action-driven and scientifically-backed farm to school efforts including promoting local procurement and student voice and choice in cafeterias, leading hands-on lessons in classrooms and school gardens, and by supporting our community partners to foster the culture of health that’s right for them within each unique school building we serve across the state.

Our full New Jersey/New York Cohort meets regularly throughout the year for state-based trainings with local leaders, growers and organizers to set our service members up for success for their 1-2 years of service. During the first month of service, members research and present on the place-based histories and current context of the communities we serve; are introduced to a wide variety of food justice and farm to school stakeholders at the state and local levels; practice active learning by planning and leading culturally relevant classroom lessons, garden activities and taste tests with their fellow service members before entering their schools; spend ample time cooking and sharing meals together, learning from each other, and building community as a cohort (AKA ‘cohort bonding’), and orienting themselves at their sites throughout August prior to the first day of school in September – all of which is necessary to serve our communities intentionally, respectfully and from a Community Assets Based Approach. Additionally, our service members participate in a wide variety of national, state, and site-based professional development and networking opportunities throughout the year that are necessary for our New Jersey/New York service members to advance in their chosen careers following their 1-2 years of service.

Preferred Qualifications

  • An understanding of the diversity of cultures represented by the residents of New Jersey
  • The ability to work independently
  • Interest and knowledge in school food, recipe development, and school gardens
  • Be flexible will result in a successful service term
  • Dietetics, Nutrition, Communications and/or Art majors — or folks with related skills — would be a good fit for this role, but are not required!
  • Report regularly to our offices in Trenton with occasional travel to schools throughout the state
  • Passion for eating and promoting the consumption of fruits and vegetables!

Preferred Skills

  • A strong organizational and communication skills
  • A strong sense of equity as it applies to food systems and education
  • Approach service with humility, empathy and patience.
  • A willingness to learn and adapt quickly
  • An open mind
  • Asking questions when support is needed
  • Knowledge of USDA nutrition guidelines and/or recipe development Agriculture/food systems in New Jersey Cooking
  • Gardening and nutrition principles
  • Graphic design (Canva)
  • Video production and editing experience (iMovie or similar software)

The NJ Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food and Nutrition Services administers a number of programs devoted to improving the quality and provision of food to New Jersey residents, in particular those most in need. The NJDA houses the NJ Farm to School Program & the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program. Both of these Programs directly tie into FoodCorps’ mission of “Together with communities, FoodCorps serves to connect kids to healthy food in school.” Through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program, schools throughout New Jersey can partner with NJ farmers to source more than 100 types of Jersey Fresh produce grown here in the Garden State. Opportunities exist for New Jersey farmers to provide agricultural products to school food service departments throughout the growing season. The object of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias is to improve student nutrition, provide healthy options and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime, as well as support local farmers. Additionally, the Farm to School Program includes schools garden activities, which help teach students where food comes from by growing it themselves. Students benefit by learning the science behind farming and the nutritional values of fresh products and gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the environment. Educators can use school garden programs to teach any subject – math, science, language arts, health and nutrition, art or social studies. Farm to School programs promote and create a sense of community for all involved. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture also has developed a Harvest of the Month program, “Jersey Tastes!”. This program provides schools with monthly activity sheets, recipes, recipes videos and educational videos. The goal of this program is to engage the entire school community in promoting healthy New Jersey produce. The USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) is a federal grant offered to elementary schools with 50 percent or more students eligible for free or reduced price meals. Each year the New Jersey Department of Agriculture accepts applications from schools interested in participating in this program. The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program exposes school children to fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snacks on a routine basis. The goal of the program is to increase children’s consumption of these nutritious foods and to make a difference in children’s diets to impact their present and future health. Schools that are awarded the FFVP grant are encouraged to serve locally grown fruits and vegetables for this program. As a special incentive in New Jersey, schools that agree to serve locally grown Jersey produce receive additional grant money. Schools that receive this funding have more resources to spend per portion on produce, providing them unique purchasing opportunities for locally grown. The FFVP program allows schools to showcase and expose children to the wonderful flavors and varieties of produce available from New Jersey farmers. Our community consists of schools throughout the state of New Jersey. Our Department of Agriculture consists of staff working with schools to ensure they are following state and federal child nutrition program regulations. It is a great place to serve and hope you join us in making a difference in the lives of children by promoting healthy lifestyles and positively impacting their future well-being!

The FoodCorps service member with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture will work closely with the Farm to School and Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program Coordinators on the following activities: create recipe demonstration videos, educational lesson videos, and classroom, garden, and cafeteria based resources for schools throughout New Jersey, all relating to the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and New Jersey’s harvest of the month campaign, Jersey Tastes!; support outreach to New Jersey schools and district food service programs regarding Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week, National Farm to School Month, and relevant NJDA sponsored grants and recognition programs; promote and highlight successful Farm to School and FFVP initiatives and champions throughout the state – including districts, schools, school leaders, teachers, students, food service staff, and farmers via social media and newsletters; support the management, re-visioning, and expansion of the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Website; accompany NJDA staff on official site visits and participate in planning and leading official Farm to School an FFVP trainings for school leaders, teachers, an food service staff across the state.

When asking our current FoodCorps Service Member what they love about serving with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture they said the following:

“I love creating healthy recipes and knowing that these may be incorporated into school lunch meals and served at home to families throughout New Jersey. I feel like I am really contributing to improving the eating patterns of children and families by providing them with nutritious recipes with lots of fruits and vegetables!”

Our 1 FoodCorps service member at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture is part of the New Jersey/New York cohort that includes 16 members with 7 sites across 8 communities in New Jersey and New York City. Don’t be fooled by what you may have heard from the haters: New Jersey is a state with a heaping spoonful of love, a dash of attitude, and a heavy sprinkle of everything nature has to offer: gorgeous beaches along the Atlantic Ocean (AKA ‘the shore’), hiking opportunities from the Appalachian Trail in the north to the Pine Barrens in the south, flourishing urban spaces with every kind of cuisine and art form known to planet earth, and rolling farmland stretching for as far as the eye can see. Situated between two major cities – New York and Philadelphia – New Jersey is aptly named the Garden State and home to nearly 10,000 urban and rural farms producing over 100 crops enjoyed nationwide! Connecting New Jersey kids to local agriculture reinforces our agricultural roots, economy, and unites communities with a shared vision of improving child health and wellbeing. Like New Jersey itself, our service sites reflect a broad diversity of culture and geography. Too many New Jersey residents experience health disparities as a result of decades of systemic racism, and service members mainly serve in communities with the highest rates of food insecurity. In partnership with our network of service sites, we strive to positively impact the ways New Jersey children experience food in school by using a variety of action-driven and scientifically-backed farm to school efforts including promoting local procurement and student voice and choice in cafeterias, leading hands-on lessons in classrooms and school gardens, and by supporting our community partners to foster the culture of health that’s right for them within each unique school building we serve across the state.

Our full New Jersey/New York Cohort meets regularly throughout the year for state-based trainings with local leaders, growers and organizers to set our service members up for success for their 1-2 years of service. During the first month of service, members research and present on the place-based histories and current context of the communities we serve; are introduced to a wide variety of food justice and farm to school stakeholders at the state and local levels; practice active learning by planning and leading culturally relevant classroom lessons, garden activities and taste tests with their fellow service members before entering their schools; spend ample time cooking and sharing meals together, learning from each other, and building community as a cohort (AKA ‘cohort bonding’), and orienting themselves at their sites throughout August prior to the first day of school in September – all of which is necessary to serve our communities intentionally, respectfully and from a Community Assets Based Approach. Additionally, our service members participate in a wide variety of national, state, and site-based professional development and networking opportunities throughout the year that are necessary for our New Jersey/New York service members to advance in their chosen careers following their 1-2 years of service.

Preferred Qualifications

  • An understanding of the diversity of cultures represented by the residents of New Jersey
  • The ability to work independently
  • Interest and knowledge in school food, recipe development, and school gardens
  • Be flexible will result in a successful service term
  • Dietetics, Nutrition, Communications and/or Art majors — or folks with related skills — would be a good fit for this role, but are not required!
  • Report regularly to our offices in Trenton with occasional travel to schools throughout the state
  • Passion for eating and promoting the consumption of fruits and vegetables!

Preferred Skills

  • A strong organizational and communication skills
  • A strong sense of equity as it applies to food systems and education
  • Approach service with humility, empathy and patience.
  • A willingness to learn and adapt quickly
  • An open mind
  • Asking questions when support is needed
  • Knowledge of USDA nutrition guidelines and/or recipe development Agriculture/food systems in New Jersey Cooking
  • Gardening and nutrition principles
  • Graphic design (Canva)
  • Video production and editing experience (iMovie or similar software)