Trenton – Senate President Pro Tempore M. Teresa Ruiz organized a gleaning event held today in partnership with Giamarese Farm, and the New Jersey Farm Bureau. The event yielded over 1,500 pounds of apples, which will be donated to the Newark community.
“Today’s trip to the farm is an opportunity to elevate the conversation about school nutrition,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “We had a firsthand look at the connection between our farming industry and the food on our tables in a way that many have never experienced. Our efforts will help Table to Table, an organization that is committed to hosting free farmers markets and expand access to fresh produce for communities in need.”
The event comes after the announcement of her bill which would eliminate the reduce price meal category by requiring the state to pay the difference between federal allocations and the total cost of reduced price breakfast or lunch. The bill is part of a larger package the Senator will be introducing in the coming months in order to elevate our schools’ nutrition standards.
“My bill package will include higher health standards for school meals and increase the amount of fresh produce served to students. Like every other space in school, the cafeteria is a place to learn and grow. It presents the opportunity to teach children what it means to eat healthy and why it is so important to their mental and physical wellbeing. Not every parent has the means to provide their children with a healthy diet but our schools can and should be partnering with our state’s farms to enforce good eating habits.”
Joining Senator Ruiz was her running mate, Assemblywoman Speight, volunteers from Newark Central High School, the NJ Coalition of Latino Pastors and Ministers and staff.
“It was a pleasure working with Senator Ruiz, I am glad we were able to help facilitate this unique opportunity to connect different parts of the state and show our neighbors in Newark what a diverse ecosystem we have here,” said Pete Furey, Executive Director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau. “I look forward to working with the Senator further on her essential legislation to connect schools with our farmers to increase access to fresh food in schools.”
The New Jersey Agricultural Society and Table to Table will help facilitate the delivery of the produce on Monday. The Agricultural Society works to preserve and enhance agriculture, farming and related activities and businesses in New Jersey through educational, informational and promotional programs. Table to Table is a community-based food rescue program that collects perishable food that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations that serve the hungry in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties.