Grow Healthy Team Nutrition was launched in 2010 as an elementary school nutrition and wellness initiative made possible by a grant from the USDA to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and implemented by Rutgers Cooperative Extension's Department of Family and Community Health Sciences. Grow Healthy has a three-fold purpose:
- To provide training for foodservice personnel on the most current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the new school meal requirements;
- To provide fun, interactive nutrition education using school gardens as hands-on learning tools and sources of fruit and vegetable tastings for classrooms and cafeterias;
- To provide schools with technical assistance to create and maintain a healthier school environment through effective wellness policies and wellness councils.
Grow Healthy combines gardening with nutrition, physical activity, agriculture, and the benefits of buying locally grown food, into fun, hands-on projects that support NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards. There are nutrition lessons in the classroom, school and family wellness events, food service trainings, and wellness council support – all of which build healthier kids and families too.In 2012, New Jersey received a second Grow Healthy- Team Nutrition Grant from the USDA to continue the wellness and nutrition initiative in select New Jersey elementary schools, and to expand the program to include select childcare and preschool sites in New Jersey.