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Returning the Garden to the Garden State.

January 30, 2010

Jersey Grown

Remember when New Jersey really was the Garden State?  Who hasn’t stopped at a roadside farm stand in the summer for fresh corn, tomatoes and other vegetables?  But unfortunately, many New Jersey farms have disappeared in the past eight years as the Corzine administration cut state support to the Department of Agriculture 13% in the last fiscal year alone.  In fact, they tried to cut the Department of Agriculture entirely in 2008.  On my commute to work I used to drive through several peach orchids and corn fields which have now disappeared.

Happily, this is changing under the Christie administration.  As part of their state-wide review process, administration officials recently met with a group of farmers and agriculture officials to discuss their findings, which can only be good news for our local farmers.  First and foremost, the report recommend the easing of “environmental” restrictions that were born more of the extreme environmental lobby than real love of the environment.  Another recommendation is expanding the sales of “Jersey Fresh” farm products to local schools, which will not only help farmers, but parents who want their children to have a healthy lunch, and tax payers as local purchases are generally less expensive than food shipped from across the country.  Also, the report recommends expanding the “Jersey Fresh” program, which helps market our great New Jersey products locally and nationally.

Finally, in a move I highly approve, the Christie administration seems to be keeping current Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher, a former Democratic Assemblyman, in his post.  As I stated previously, Christie will have to work with Democrats, and keeping Secretary Fisher in place is a great gesture to open dialogue with the Democratic majority in the legislature.

And Secretary Fisher, who stated that “he always felt secure” in his position is on record as saying that he was “very excited” about the report, a comment I can only echo.

And as someone who lived in the Midwest while at Graduate School, I can tell you that nothing beats a Jersey Tomato and fresh New Jersey corn.  It’s great news for our local farmers that the Christie administration sees this as well.

That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.

Marc Fleischner, Berlin Boro

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