FoodCorps New Jersey, an organization pursuing improvements in school food and local produce sourcing, toured the Ready Pac Foods Inc. fresh-cut processing facility in Swedesboro, N.J.
Jeff Herdeg, Ready Pac director of foodservice national accounts, and a member of the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program class 9 showed the group the steps involved in bringing fresh produce to school lunch plates.
FoodCorps participants sign up for a year of public service aimed at transforming school food programs. Their efforts include instructing students on health eating and where food is produced; creating and tending school gardens; and sourcing local food for school lunches.
Beth Feehan, director of the New Jersey Farm to School Network, co-hosted the event as did Jennifer Shukaitis of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, according to a news release.
During the tour, Herdeg explained Ready Pac’s fresh produce handling procedures; seasonal patterns of sourcing regionally and domestically; and the labor and equipment needed to produce ready-to-eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
Ready Pac participates in the New Jersey Agricultural Society’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship program.
“Encouraging healthy eating among school children is so much more effective when we can use Ready Pac’s knowledge and experience to illustrate the complete picture through not only consumption, but farming and sourcing as well,” Herdeg said in the release.