COLUMBUS—Georgia Organics honored Erin Croom with the Georgia Organics Barbara Petit Pollinator Award at the 19th Annual Georgia Organics Conference for beginning the Farm to School movement in Georgia.
“The day Erin Croom walked into the Georgia Organics office was the day farm to school started in Georgia,” said Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls, who presented Croom with the award.
Croom began volunteering for Georgia Organics in 2008 and quickly displayed a need to hire her in a full time capacity. In the last two years, Georgia schools have collectively held 8,200 taste tests of fresh, local food, taught nearly 2,400 garden, food, and nutrition lessons, tended 328 school gardens, hosted 1,000 hands-on cooking activities, incorporated Farm to School into 300 staff professional development opportunities, and sustained district-wide policies or procedures into 19 schools districts.
The Barbara Petit Pollinator Award honors an individual or organization for outstanding community leadership in Georgia’s sustainable farming and food movement. The award acknowledges exceptional success in advancing Georgia Organics’ mission by spreading—pollinating—the movement throughout community life, such as the food industry, faith communities, public agencies, schools, and institutions.
The award is named after Barbara Petit, a committed leader, culinary professional, and organizer who served as President of Georgia Organics from 2003-2009. The 19th Annual Georgia Conference was dedicated to Petit, who passed away in 2015.
The award was presented Feb. 27 just before the conference’s climatic event, the Farmers Feast, a meal prepared by the state’s best chefs featuring organically raised meats and produce from Georgia and the Southeast.