Garden State on Your Plate, a farm to school project, brings fresh produce and products grown by local farmers into school cafeterias at lunchtime, where local chefs prepare simple recipes for tastings and for nutrition education.

The project began with a $30,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the 2010-11 school year. Subsequently, under the direction of Fran McManus, coordinator, co-founder of PSGC and a board member, we adapted the program to suit a more hands-on approach for K-5 at-risk students attending the YMCA-based Princeton Young Achievers program.

In 2014, the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative was invited to talk with the Community and Regional Affairs department at Princeton University, and in short order, we were provided $12,000 to resume the program for the school year – and expand it to all four schools.

Largely as a result of efforts and outreach by Fran McManus, the program enjoys wide and deep support throughout the community. Partners beyond Princeton Public Schools include, but aren’t limited to, the Arts Council of Princeton, Becky Graham, bent spoon artisan ice cream, C. Todd Reichart, Cherry Grove Farm, Gennaro Porcaro, Gloria Nilson & Co. Real Estate, greendesign, jammin’ crepes, JaZams, Jennifer Cohan/Savory PR, Jess Atkins/Stylebook App, Labyrinth Books, McCaffrey’s Food Markets, Nassau Inn, Nassau Street Seafood, Nutri-Serve Food Management, Olsson’s Fine Foods, Palmer Square, Princeton Day School, Princeton Family YMCA, Princeton Farmers’ Market, Princeton Soup & Sandwich, Princeton Tour Company, Savory Spice, small world coffee, The Costume Scene, Whole Earth Center and YourTownTube.