Farm to School For The New Year
The new school year is fast approaching and in-person learning is back in the Paterson Public School District (PPSD). The Paterson School Food Service Department is expected to see many changes due to schools reopening. Last year, in the midst of the pandemic lockdown, the district’s Food Service Department was tasked with delivering meals to students and families across the district. This was not an easy feat. 30,000 students relied on the district for breakfast and lunch while schools remained closed. With innovative thinking, hardworking food service staff and dedication, the district was able to successfully provide students with daily meals as well as run health initiatives such as the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables program (FFVP). The FFVP initiative is a federally funded program that subsidizes the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables for K-12 students served at school during non-meal times. With in-person classes suspended due to COVID-19, the program shifted its approach by incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into the grab-and-go school meals being offered at its distribution sites. This year, with schools reopening, the FFVP will be returning to directly serving students in schools.
My name is Bella and I am a graduate of Occidental College where I earned my degree in Urban and Environmental Policy with an emphasis on Food Justice. My educational background and experience surrounding food systems led me to join FoodCorps- a program that serves to connect kids to healthy food in school. I am a part of FoodCorps first School Nutrition pilot program where I will be serving at United Way Passaic County. I will be working to support the district’s Food Service Department and garden initiatives – working closely with the district on programs such as FFVP. In my role with United Way Passaic County, I will support local procurement efforts and help build school wide cultures of health by building strong, collaborative relationships with teachers, families, and school administrators. As the first School Nutrition service member, I am excited to be a part of the United Way of Passaic team and work to bring healthy and organic foods to the community of Paterson.
About the Grantee
United Way of Passaic County has been serving the community for around 80 years. Their mission is to improve the lives of people in Passaic County by mobilizing the caring power of our community.