( Photo courtesy New Jersey Department of Agriculture )

In New Jersey, 168 schools are participating in the 2020-21 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program — the most schools in the state to join since the program began in 2008.

“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program encourages students to try new offerings so they can develop healthy eating patterns that stay with them for a lifetime,” N.J. Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher said in a news release.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture allocated $4.7 million to New Jersey for the school year to provide fresh produce to almost 85,000 students in 14 counties. The students also will receive nutrition education.

It is the third straight year the number of schools participating has increased, according to the release.

More money will go to schools for connecting the program with the Farm to School Program, a partnership that 81% of participating schools have committed to do.

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