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30 Georgia School Districts Honored with the Golden Radish Award

allwinnersWe had a great time this morning at the state capitol honoring some real farm to school heroes from all over Georgia with the Golden Radish Awards. (You may remember them from last year!)

In this second year of the Golden Radish Awards, 30 school districts were honored by Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, State Nutrition Director Nancy Rice and Agriculture Education Coordinator Chip Bridges of the Department of Education, and Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney for their extraordinary work in farm to school.

During the 2013-2014 school year, these farm to school programs:

  • Served local food in school meals over 1,240 times
  • Held 3,864 taste tests of fresh, local food to students
  • Taught nearly 700 garden, food and nutrition lessons to students
  • Tended 255 edible school gardens
  • Hosted 370 hands-on cooking activities with students
  • Incorporated farm to school into 115 staff professional development opportunities
  • 13 schools districts have farm to school incorporated into a district-wide policy or procedure

Read the press release here, and check out our full photo album on Facebook here. A full list of the farm to school highlights from each honored district is below. Take it all in—there’s a lot of great stuff happening in schools all over Georgia.

Atlanta Public Schools, Gold

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 177 times this year. Local items included: romaine lettuce, carrots, strawberries, and apples. All schools also offered locally grown food 2-3 times a week as part of the reimbursable meal plan.
  • There are 53 edible school gardens evenly distributed throughout the district, including one high school garden with a greenhouse on school grounds.
  • Students participated in a total of 3,396 taste tests of 85 different locally grown fruits and vegetables this year, including grapefruit, muscadine, and green bell peppers.

Barrow County School System, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 10 times this year. Each month the color of the locally grown food was highlighted on the menu.
  • Snodon Prep High School has its own garden and uses what’s available in the garden for school lunches. Students were able to taste the lettuce and radishes grown in their very own school garden.

Bibb County School District, Silver

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 40 times this year. Local items included: shrimp, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and peaches.
  • There are 13 edible school gardens which grow items like turnips, cabbage, green beans, and strawberries.
  • Students participated in 20 taste tests of a range of produce including dragon fruit, blood oranges, mango, and fingerling potatoes. Taste tests from items straight from the school gardens occurred regularly.

Bleckley County Schools, Silver

  • A locally grown food item was featured each month in the district. The menus highlighted the farmer or producer of the featured food.
  • Bleckley County Middle School started their first edible school garden this year, and many of the students had already gardened at the elementary level. They contributed many items from the garden to school lunches.
  • Teachers integrated farm to school into their curriculum in over 50 lessons, and many lessons were dedicated solely to working in the garden.

Burke County Public School System, Gold

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 200 times this year. Local items included: wheat flour, strawberries, and blueberries.
  • Students in all five schools in the district participated in 18 taste tests of locally grown food, including wheat flour and whole grain grits.
  • Students were able to take part in 20 hands-on cooking activities.

Carrollton City Schools, Gold

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 180 times this, and clings that read “From a Farm Near You” were uniquely placed in cafeteria serving lines to identify the local items.
  • Two schools in the district have raised garden beds that produced tomatoes, lettuce, collard greens, and radishes.
  • Farm to school was integrated into the curriculum through 20 lessons, including a Podponics class, culinary classes, and math and economics classes.

City Schools of Decatur, Gold

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 32 times, and menus included a fun fact about that month’s produce.
  • Over 75% of schools in the district have edible gardens, including Clairemont Elementary School, Renfroe Middle School, and Decatur High School.
  • Teachers integrated farm to school into their curriculum at least 300 times by incorporating the school garden into lesson plans. Some lessons were provided by The Wylde Center.

Clarke County School District, Gold

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 50 times. Menus were sent out monthly so parents were aware of upcoming local items.
  • All 21 schools in the district have edible gardens.
  • Students participated in 35 taste tests of locally grown food, including kale chips, broccoli, and carrots. All students in the district participated in a taste test of locally grown blueberries in the form of blueberry juice.

Cobb County School District, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 13 times.
  • There are 45 schools with edible gardens in the district, all varying in size and produce.
  • Students participated in 20 hands-on cooking activities using mobile kitchen carts for nutrition education and cooking demonstrations.

Commerce City Schools, Bronze

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 20 times.
  • Commerce Primary School and Commerce Elementary School have edible gardens with nine and six raised beds, respectively.
  • Students participated in four hands-on cooking and food activities this year—600 students even shelled peas that were then served for lunch!

Crisp County School System, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 30 times, including citrus, strawberries, poultry, and kale.
  • All six schools in the district have edible gardens with raised beds.
  • Students interacted with farmers four times during field trips to Calhoun Strawberries, mobile dairy visits, and school farm days.

Decatur County Schools, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 21 times. The Decatur County School Nutrition Program worked with the local produce vendor to determine when produce was in season that then replaced the frozen items on the menu.
  • The district has six schools with their own edible gardens, each with a specific focus such as Hutto Middle School’s greens garden.
  • Teachers at both Hutto Middle School and Bainbridge Middle School incorporated farm to school into their curriculum by combining STEM projects with ideas for local agricultural businesses.

DeKalb County Schools, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 10 times .
  • There are four schools with edible gardens in the district, including Chestnut Charter School and Fernbank Elementary School, which incorporate the garden into the Ecology Club and P.E. program.
  • Students participated in taste tests of local food and items harvested from school gardens.

Dougherty County School System, Bronze

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 8 times. Local items included: produce such as cabbage, spinach, collards and herbs like cilantro, rosemary, and oregano.
  • The district has created four teaching gardens and reestablished an existing garden. All new gardens consist of seven raised beds built by farm to school leaders, staff, students, and parents.
  • Farm to school was incorporated into the curriculum 10 times through classroom lessons for kindergarten through fifth grade.

Forsyth County Schools, Bronze

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 90 times. Sharon Elementary School featured one item a month along with monthly taste tests.
  • Sharon Elementary School and Cumming Elementary School both have edible gardens. Sharon Elementary’s garden includes a range of vegetables and herbs while Cumming Elementary has 32 raised beds.
  • Teachers in the district integrated farm to school in the curriculum 10 times by focusing lessons on Georgia agriculture and farming.

Fulton County Schools, Silver

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 52 times along with farmer biographies and facts on the featured item.
  • There are edible gardens in 31 of the district’s schools, and they feature raised beds, greenhouses, and orchards.
  • Students participated in 204 taste tests, including a district-wide tasting event of locally grown kale and apples.

Grady County Schools, Bronze

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals eight times. Southside Elementary School participated in the Feed My School Georgia Grown program, in which every lunch for a week had Georgia Grown products.
  • Students participated in four taste tests of local food straight from their own garden, including radishes which they also learned how to properly cut.
  • Teachers at Southside Elementary School integrated farm to school into the curriculum for five lessons during the Feed My School week. Each classroom had Georgia Grown study session.

Gwinnett County Schools, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 36 times, and schools were provided with kid-friendly recipes highlighting local items each month.
  • There are 11 schools in the district with edible gardens, and they range from small herb gardens to larger vegetable gardens.
  • Students participated in 10 taste tests this year through a sample of local items offered to everyone in the cafeteria.

Habersham County Schools, Gold

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 34 times. All schools purchased local produce at least weekly.
  • There are four schools in the district with edible gardens, including Wilbanks Middle School, which has its own fruit orchard.
  • Teachers incorporated farm to school into their curriculum through 14 lessons, including four specifically in agriculture education.

Hall County Schools, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 10 times. A weekly Georgia Grown fruit or vegetable was highlighted.
  • Students participated in 15 taste tests. Second graders from different elementary schools took field trips to the garden located at the central office, where they tasted seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  • Students took part in 15 hands-on cooking activities at the central office, where they rotated through education and nutrition stations with seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Jackson County Schools, Gold

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 32 times. There were one or two local items on the menu each month, as well as a Georgia Grown Menu Day every month.
  • All 12 schools in the district have their own edible gardens which feature container gardens, raised beds, and greenhouses.
  • Students participated in 20 hands-on food activities throughout the year, including South Jackson Elementary School’s cooking carts, which allow children to prepare in class what they harvested from the garden.

Laurens County Schools, Gold

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 37 times by utilizing the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to provide Georgia Grown produce such as collards, butternut squash, and heirloom apples.
  • Five schools in the district have edible gardens which grow produce like turnips, lettuce, potatoes, and cabbage.
  • Teachers integrated farm to school in 35 lessons. Students in all third grade science classes planted, grew, and harvested a cabbage.

Madison County School District, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals six times. Colbert Elementary School participated in the Feed My School for a Week program, which featured almost 100% Georgia Grown items during one week.
  • Students participated in four taste tests during Feed My School for a Week. Each grade level was able to sample blueberries, peaches, and pecans.
  • Students interacted with farmers three times. Students at Colbert Elementary School visited Brush Creek Beef Farm and participated in Farm to School Day at Madison High School.

Marietta City Schools, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals at least 10 times, and a Georgia Grown product was featured each month.
  • The district created an edible garden through a partnership between Marietta Center for Advanced Academics and Kennesaw State University. KSU students helped Marietta City Schools students build a sustainable garden.
  • Students participated in two hands-on cooking activities during a cancer prevention event cohosted by the University of Georgia. Presenters prepared healthy meals and recipes for parents.

Newton County Schools, Honorary

  • The district featured local food 10 times in school meals.
  • Local food was promoted by displaying colorful nutrition flyers during the week when locally grown produce is served.

Peach County Schools, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 12 times. Supplemental newsletters to parents profiled farmers, and the cafeteria featured informative posters.
  • Teachers integrated farm to school into the curriculum three times using the featured item of the week as a learning tool in math and science classes.
  • Students interacted with farmers three times. They met the owner of Lane’s Southern Orchard and visited nearby Strawberry Farms.

Rabun County Schools, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 20 times.
  • Local food was promoted through informational posters in the cafeteria and the school website.

Richmond County School System, Honorary

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals three times. Local items included: strawberries, collard greens, and romaine lettuce.
  • The district has five edible gardens where students grow items like cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, herbs, and tomatoes.
  • Teachers incorporated food to school into the curriculum with five lessons using math, science, reading, and writing.

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Bronze

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 53 times. Local items included: strawberries, cabbage, and carrots.
  • The district has 13 edible gardens that grow a range of items including peas, broccoli, tomatoes, yellow squash, mustard greens, and herbs.
  • Students participated in 17 taste tests. The majority took place in May during National Nutrition Month, when students learned how to prepare vegetables in various ways.

Tift County, Bronze

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 10 times as part of the district’s three-week menu rotation to promote farm to school each month.
  • There are three schools in the district with edible raised bed gardens. Items grown include bell peppers, cucumbers, peanuts, and corn.
  • Teachers incorporated farm to school into eight lessons.

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