Cecil Creek Farm Wins Farmer Recognition Award
(EAST GREENWICH) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today recognized Cecil Creek Farm in Gloucester County as the winning farm for the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Farmer Recognition Award. The presentation took place during the celebration of the 9th annual Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week being held September 23-27.
The program is an opportunity for farmers to promote their Farm to School efforts and to help feature their Jersey Fresh produce in local school meals.
“Cecil Creek and the many other farms that are active in the Farm to School Program allow the opportunity for schools and their students and staff to experience the farm life,” Secretary Fisher said. “The Farmer Recognition Award is a way to highlight farmers who can teach about how food is grown and the importance of having fresh fruits and vegetables as a regular part of a diet.”
Cecil Creek Farm features a robust environmental education program and the farm also engages students with on the farm and in the school field trips and day camps in the summer. Cecil Creek once had a school assembly with chickens. Frank Ferrucci, co-owner and farmer at Cecil Creek, also assisted a local school with starting a school garden by helping break ground on the project and providing plants and expertise.
“Our primary mission is to educate the next generation about the process of growing healthy food and the importance of making good nutritional choices,” Cecil Creek Farm co-owner Rose Moffa said. “It’s an honor to win the award and we plan to continue making Farm to School an integral part of what we do at Cecil Creek.”
Cecil Creek Farm was started in 2014 and has 42 acres featuring a wide range of certified organic produce and has a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for sale in its market.
Celebrating Jersey Tastes!
Also highlighted during the visit was the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Jersey Tastes! program, which celebrates a different fruit or vegetable each month.
Tomatoes the Jersey Tastes! featured produce for September.
All in attendance at Cecil Creek took a bite of a Red Deuce tomato grown at the farm.
In addition to the award given to Cecil Creek Farm, six farms across the state are being recognized for their efforts and have received a Farm to School materials kit which includes a Jersey Fresh Farm to School banner, hats, seasonality charts, and Jersey Tastes! posters.
Other Jersey Fresh Farm to School Farmer Recognition Program farms included:
- Cherry Valley Cooperative Farm: current USDA co-grantee working with preschool and local school district to introduce Farm to School activities at schools and on-the-farm.
- Robbinsville Hydroponic Farm: a municipally owned hydroponic educational farm offering educational opportunities for schools, community groups and service projects.
- Coombs Barnyard: Spring through Fall farm field trips as well as summer camp activities.
- Honey and Sweets Farm Stand: participates in school assemblies to highlight fall crops like apples and provides produce for classroom taste tests.
- The Barn at Gravity Hill: farm-based education programming serving local schools and community-based organizations.
Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week was designated as the last week of each September by a law signed in 2010. During this week, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture showcases the connection between farmers and the schools that purchase local produce from New Jersey farmers for school meals to increase student consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Farm to School activities can include, but are not exclusive to:
- Nutrition education, including taste tests with produce purchased from local farms;
- Harvest meals serving locally sourced products from New Jersey farms;
- Farm to School curricular tie-ins that connect the cafeteria to the classroom or school garden;
- Visits to or from local farms that teach students how food is grown; and
- School garden education that ties directly into what is already being taught in the classroom.
The influence of the Farm to School Program led to more than 250 schools purchasing local produce from their main distributor, more than 200 districts buying local produce directly from farms and using a curriculum that ties cafeteria meals to healthy eating education and more than 100 districts organizing field trips to farms.
To learn more, visit www.farmtoschool.nj.gov or https://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/news/press/2019/approved/press190924.html.