Assemblyman John F. McKeon and Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey (both Essex/Morris) joined students, PTA members and school officials to celebrate Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week at Seth Boyden Elementary School's Strawberry Fields garden on Tuesday.
Under a brilliant September sky, McKeon lauded the work done by the school community to bring Strawberry Fields to fruition.
The week helps focus attention on the state’s Farm to School Program, which encourages schools to support local farms by incorporating local produce into school lunch menus.
Did you know that New Jersey is ranked number three out of all 50 states in cranberry production? The audience at the garden did, after McKeon shared the state's ranking in that crop as well as in blueberries (4th), bell peppers (3rd) and tomatoes (7th). New Jersey’s farming industry generates an estimated $1.12 billion in revenue each year.
Beth Feehan, director of the New Jersey Farm to School Network, presented a special citation to McKeon for sponsoring the legislation. Also on hand were Principal Mark Quiles and Lorraine Gibbons, one of the founders of Strawberry Fields, as well as parents Devyani Gupta, Susie Adamson, Maggie Tuohy and Virginia Falconer.
The garden, which was established in 2001, is among the top 20 finalists of the inaugural ‘School Garden of the Year’ award from the New Jersey Farm to School Network and Edible Jersey.