Meet Kimberly Della Donna, our new Director of Farm to School. Kimberly has returned to Georgia after gaining a wealth of experience in the field during her time in New England. Here, Kimberly tells us a bit more about her experience and plans for Georgia’s farm to school movement.
What was your previous job?
Before moving back to Atlanta in January, I worked in Rhode Island as the Farm to Cafeteria Director. Together with a chef team and wellness coordinators, we piloted the USDA improved nutrition standards for school meals for three years before the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act was signed into law in 2012. I had the unique responsibility of nurturing purchasing relationships between local farmers, nutrition service directors and their distributors, while creating educational programming to build demand for local and sustainably produced foods in schools.
As the Rhode Island state lead for the National Farm to School Network, I worked closely with my counterparts in the other New England states. We shared and implemented best practices to promote a culture of Farm to School throughout our region. I also served on the leadership team of Farm to Institution New England (FINE), working to mobilize the buying power of New England institutions to transform the regional food system.
Who/what inspired you to do the work you are doing for Georgia Organics?
I have such crazy love for good food that I’m helpless to do anything else but this work. I am blessed with an Italian mom who fed our family fresh, homemade, home-grown everything. Growing up, I learned the value and taste of real food while instinctively understanding that food is love. My training as a chef and nutritionist guide my work to help others develop a preference for healthy, seasonal and locally grown foods.
What do you want to accomplish for Georgia’s farmers?
As the Farm to School Director and Co-Chair of the Georgia Farm to School Alliance, my role is to encourage Georgia school districts to purchase, serve and educate students about local foods. Farm to school activities teach students not only the impact of their choice on their own personal health, but how that choice affects their community and environment. Farm to school activities teach our future consumers the real value of food, and with that knowledge comes a deep respect for the work of farmers and producers.
If you became a DJ, what would your DJ name be?
As a culinary nutritionist, I’ve got to have a vegetable name, and since I’m getting funkier as I age, I’ll go with DJ Kimchi.