Three bills recently introduced and referred to Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee are being supported by NJSBA. All three support the health and wellness initiatives that the NJSBA Health and Wellness Task Force implemented in its report, which was completed in 2015.

The bills are as follows:

Assembly Bill – A3058 – Establishes Farm-to-School Coordinating Council. This bill would establish the Farm-to-School Coordinating Council in the Department of Agriculture. The council would consist of five members: The secretary of agriculture, or the secretary’s designee; the commissioner of education, or the commissioner’s designee; and three members of the public appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, who have experience working with the New Jersey Farm-to-School Program.

The council would examine all areas of the New Jersey Farm-to-School Program and identify any outstanding issues or problems that need to be resolved and areas in need of improvement. It would focus on the procurement process relating to the purchase of agricultural products by schools from New Jersey farmers, and recommend ways to increase the participation of both farmers and schools in the program and would also make recommendations on ways to promote and increase the use of fresh farm foods at schools throughout the state.

Within one year after its first meeting, the council would prepare and submit a written report to the governor and to the Legislature with its findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Copies of the report would also be provided to the public upon request free of charge, and posted on the Internet websites of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education.

Assembly Bill — A3060 – Allows qualified school to be called “New Jersey Farm Fresh School.” This bill authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to allow a school to use the words “New Jersey Farm Fresh School” in any promotional materials or description of the school upon receiving proof that at least 20 percent of the food served by the school consists of farm products grown and produced in New Jersey.

Assembly Bill — A3061 – Permits school participating in NJ Farm-to-School program to submit recipe for posting on Deptartment of Agriculture website. This bill directs the agriculture department to accept and post on its website recipes submitted to the department by any public or nonpublic school that participates in the New Jersey Farm-to-School Program. The bill requires that all recipes submitted to and accepted by the department must include a food item made from a farm-to-school product. Recipes that are approved by the department must be included in an electronic Farm-to-School Cookbook made available on the department’s website. The department of agriculture is also required to develop procedures necessary to effectuate the purposes of this bill.

All three bills are sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space, Dist. 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren); Assemblyman Adam J. Taliaferro, Dist. 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem); Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer, Dist. 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean); Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Dist. 11 (Monmouth) and Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak, Dist. 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland.)