Grantee Blog

A Different Kind of Farm-to-School

To increase access to healthy fruits and vegetables, we teamed up with the Lincoln Annex School and the FoodCorps to organize a pop-up farmers market at the schoolyard in downtown New Brunswick. This was the second school farmers market following the success of the first one we organized at the Lincoln Annex School last year in 2018.

In addition to delicious produce, there were plenty of activities at this farmers market. Ernie, the local farmer from Stillwell Farms, who is the primary vendor of the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market, brought all the farm-fresh produce. The FoodCorps educator organized a taste-testing station with flavor-filled pumpkin bites and seeds; New Brunswick Tomorrow’s Live Well/Vivir Bien representatives and Community Connections staff showcased the local resources and wellness initiatives, such as the Hub City Fresh Healthy Corner Stores, that support healthy eating and active living in the community. Throughout the afternoon, Rutgers students, interns and educators helped with keeping children engaged and challenged through educational games about healthy eating and active living.

A unique side of all these activities was the direct benefit for children and their parents to be able to buy additional fresh produce by using the Market Bucks that they gained through activities at the school and the market. The families were also able to use their SNAP or WIC benefit cards and vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables at the farmers market.

Together with our school and community partners, the Community Connections team is very pleased with having established the school farmers market as a model of partnership to help increase access to healthy foods for children and their families. This model not only increases access to fruits and vegetables, it is also a way of increasing access to and awareness about community resources such as Live Well/Vivir Bien initiative, New Brunswick Community Farmers Market and Hub City Fresh Healthy Corner Stores. See the news article about our first school farmers market here.

About the Grantee

Rutgers The State University of New Jersey

Through its Department of Nutritional Sciences and Cooperative Extension units, Rutgers provides nutrition education, conducts nutrition- and health-related research, builds partnerships, and implements evidence-based strategies to improve the nutrition status, health and well-being of people throughout New Jersey.