Jets tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson visited Summit High School along with New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher on April 14 to celebrate the school's outstanding nutrition programs.
Summit was one of six winners in this year's Eat Right Move More Program, a partnership among the Jets, the Department of Agriculture and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council's Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign, which encourages New Jersey school children to take advantage of healthy foods in their school cafeterias and become more active. This year, schools had to show strong support and use of locally-grown products in their school meal menus, as well as demonstrate efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity among their students.
"Every time I visit a winning school I am impressed with the creativity of the menus," said Ferguson. "I hope Summit's commitment to developing unique menus and leading healthy lifestyles inspires more schools to do the same."
"Summit High School has done a great job of creatively incorporating the state's school nutrition standards into its lunch menu, but they've taken it one step further by also using Jersey Fresh produce in their meals," said Fisher. "We hope this visit with a professional football player who must eat healthy to perform well inspires the students to always keep in mind the importance of good nutrition."
This is the fourth year of the Eat Right, Move More Program, with Ferguson as spokesman. The campaign features posters of Ferguson in every school telling students: "Eating healthy meals helps me play my best. Your school cafeteria has a variety of nutritious foods to keep you going all day long. So let's get up and Eat Right and Move More!"
Jersey Fresh is featured prominently on Summit's lunch menu. Either the Jersey Fresh logo or "NJ" is placed next to menu items featuring locally grown products. The selection on April 14 was tuna salad with tomato, cucumber, carrots and bagel chips. Every day students can get Jersey Fresh salad and fresh fruit.
"We find that the quality of the produce is higher when we can bring in seasonal local produce, as the turnaround time for freshness is faster from field to plate," said Tina Cappello, Summit food service director for Pomptonian Foods, the district's food service company. "Helping New Jersey growers is an added benefit."
Other winners in this school year's Eat Right, Move More contest were Brookside School in Allendale, Elmwood Park Memorial High School in Elmwood Park, Cold Springs School in Gloucester City, Old Turnpike School in Tewksbury, and the grand prize winner, Harrison High School in Harrison.
Ferguson visited Harrison in November, representatives from the school were honored during the Dec. 20 Jets-Falcons game at the Meadowlands, and the school received a $5,000 grant for cafeteria upgrades made possible by the Jets and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council's Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign.
The other winning schools will receive similar visits by Jets players over the next two months.
Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation touch the lives of countless young men and women in the tristate area. Over the past 10 years, the Jets and their charitable foundation have donated or raised more than $10 million to promote youth health, fitness and education, particularly in disadvantaged communities. From fighting childhood obesity through the Generation Jets: Be Lean & Green initiative to launching a football team in an urban high school, urging students to eat right and move more, and supporting the efforts of the Alliance for Lupus Research, the New York Jets invest in programs that make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to the Jets Foundation, which supports their own extensive youth initiatives, the Jets partner with numerous established charitable organizations and participate in causes sponsored by the NFL.
The Department of Agriculture's school nutrition policy is the most comprehensive in the nation and covers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students. The policy limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines, school stores and as part of on-campus fundraisers. More than 673,000 students in both public and private schools participate in the National School Lunch Program administered by the Department of Agriculture.
For more information about the department's school nutrition programs, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/school.html.