HARRISBURG, PA — Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff recognized National Agriculture Day by presenting a vending machine that offers quality “Pennsylvania Preferred” products to the Cumberland Valley High School (Mechanicsburg).
The Pennsylvania Preferred program helps consumers identify and purchase products grown and/or processed and packaged in Pennsylvania. Currently, the program has nearly 1,500 licensed participants.
The Pennsylvania Preferred Healthy Vending Initiative was launched last fall in response to demands from parents, teachers and students for food alternatives that would be perceived as more wholesome. The program helps schools obtain vending equipment and matches schools with local vendors.
The initiative was designed to help schools that are implementing wellness policies as part of the Department of Education’s nutrition guidelines for beverages served outside the National School Lunch Program, as well as the Guidelines for Nutritional Standards for Competitive Foods in Pennsylvania Schools.
The Department of Agriculture plans to expand the Pennsylvania Preferred Healthy Vending Initiative to other school districts by continuing partnerships with the Fruit Industry Task Force and other farm-interest groups, nonprofit organizations and Pennsylvania Preferred companies.
The machine at Cumberland Valley High School is stocked with local Pennsylvania Preferred products. The milk is from Swiss Premium in Lebanon County, 100% grape juice from Welch’s in Erie County, apple slices from Appeeling Fruit in Berks County, fresh apples from Rice Fruit Co. and fruit sauces from Knouse Foods Cooperative and Mott’s, all in Adams County. For more information on the healthy vending initiative, contact Frank Jurbala in the Bureau of Market Development at (717) 787-6041. To learn more about the program, visit papreferred.com.