State Senator Steve Sweeney, Senator Ray Lesniak and Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro introduced legislation on Monday, Nov. 21 pertaining to school breakfast and other programs initiated by the NJ Department of Agriculture.

This legislation, S-2819, implements the “Nourishing Young Minds Initiative Fund” in the state agriculture department to help pay for child food and nutrition programs.

This bill would establish a non-lapsing revolving fund in the Department of Agriculture to be known as the “Nourishing Young Minds Initiative Fund.” It requires that all monies appropriated annually by the Legislature, (federal and other grants received by the state), and any other monies made available for the purposes of the fund would be deposited in the fund. Monies in the fund may be invested, and interest or other income earned on these investments would be credited to the fund.

These funds would be used by the state Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the New Jersey Department of Education, to provide support and funding to child food and nutrition programs in the state, which would include:

  1. Funding outreach and programmatic support by the state Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, or community-based organizations;
  2. Providing small grants to fund one-time startup or expansion costs of “breakfast after the bell” programs; and
  3. Providing small grants to fund one-time start-up or expansion costs of summer nutrition programs.

Funding would be prioritized for award to districts or schools with the highest number of eligible students and lowest participation in the school breakfast program.