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Meet Abbie King: Farm to School Coordinator

Meet Abbie King, our new Farm to Coordinator. Abbie joins Georgia Organics with a wealth of knowledge about Georgia’s food movement, having worked with Georgia Organics, Captain Planet Foundation, Global Growers, and the Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI). Additionally, Abbie is a Registered Dietitian, an important asset as we look to grow healthy kids and healthy communities in Georgia.

As we do for all new employees, we posed a few questions to Abbie:

What was your previous job? I have interned and worked with a variety of health and nutrition related organizations within Atlanta and the metro area, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Grady Memorial Hospital, Captain Planet Foundation, Georgia Department of Public Health Women Infants and Children Program, the YMCA, Global Growers Network, and (my personal favorite) Georgia Organics.

I finished my Master’s in Nutrition Health Sciences at Georgia State University and completed my dietetic internship. Basically, I took a lot of science-based courses, ranging from biochemistry to human metabolism to food science, while completing over 1,200 hours of hands-on dietetic nutrition experience.

Throughout my dietetic internship, I was really drawn to child health and nutrition and realized that if we’re going to prevent this generation from being the first to not outlive their parents we’re going to have to start early. Farm to school is really at the forefront of childhood obesity prevention and treatment- we’re in the classroom getting kids to try new things, in the cafeteria showing them healthy food can be fresh and delicious, and in the garden learning how food is grown.

Who/what inspired you to do the work you are doing for Georgia Organics? When I was growing up, I enjoyed riding horses. Although the barn didn’t have vegetables, there was generally plenty of open space, goats, donkeys, mules, horses, dirt, and trees.

I really got into food (I have to admit) after reading Omnivore’s Dilemma while I was in High School, and several other books that came out around that time. It really changed the way I thought about my participation in this whole mechanized system we’ve created.

I initially pictured myself working at a think tank or consumer advocacy group and completed a public policy undergraduate degree at Georgia Tech. After some thought, and an incredibly fun and eye-opening internship with ALFI in 2012, I decided working more at the grassroots level, building relationships, and having a science-based background in nutrition was what I really wanted, so I started on the path to becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN).

What do you want to accomplish for Georgia’s farmers? A big part of my role as the Farm to School Coordinator is to assist Georgia schools in serving Georgia grown food in their cafeterias (and making sure everyone knows about it!). I’m also excited to connect farmers with schools in their area and enable them to take an active role in changing kids’ perception of health, nutrition, and the environment — whether it be on the farm field trips, farmer visits to schools, or farmer led taste tests.

If you became a DJ, what would your DJ name be? I’ll have to incorporate one of the all-time favorite classroom cooking lesson props and be DJ Saladspinner.

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