Last week, more than a dozen Georgia farm to school stakeholders from traveled to Austin, Texas, to join 1,100 others at the seventh National Farm to Cafeteria Conference. The conference spanned all aspects of farm to school, and staff from Georgia Organics and Captain Planet Foundation led workshops on how to are create statewide support for farm to school and farm to preschool, as well as how to sustain school gardens.
In addition to learning from state and national leaders, groups from each state had a chance to get together and think about the future of farm to school in their state and make a newspaper trumpeting their successes. Our group created the Georgia Grown Gazette which declares, “Georgia Leads Nation in Farm to School.” Our state’s biggest accomplishments include, “Student Achievement at All Time High, Linked Directly to Farm to School Activities,” “Legislators Pass Bill to Fund School Purchasing of Locally Grown Products,” “All Areas Served by Food Hubs,” and “Farm to School Efforts Lead Economic Development Across the State.”
The Farm to Cafeteria Conference was invigorating and inspiring. Hundreds of passionate, thoughtful people all over the country are making their children and communities healthier through local food in schools and food and agriculture education. As Alice Waters, our closing speaker, told us, “We really are what we eat and the destiny of our nation depends on how we feed ourselves.” She also declared, “I really believe we can win people over once they taste it.”
I know I’m not the only one who left with dozens of notebook pages filled with ideas, and a reenergized commitment to helping our schools, farmers, and kids connect around good food.
The conference was hosted by the National Farm to School Network, which has a lead in each state who serves as a link between national and local policy and activities. Georgia Organics is the state lead for Georgia. You can see our resources about farm to school here.