Atlanta, Georgia, June 12, 2017 – Georgia Organics, Forsyth County Board of Education, and Carrollton City Schools Nutrition Program are pleased to announce that they are three of 65 projects spanning 42 states and Puerto Rico receiving support this year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program, an effort to better connect school cafeterias and students with local farmers and ranchers.
Georgia Organics received a $25,000 training grant to develop and disseminate two essential trainings: the 2017 Farm to School Summit and the Farm to School Track at the 2018 Georgia Organics Conference. Forsyth County Board of Education received a $91,106 implementation grant to standardize school gardens to develop a district-wide program that utilizes the garden as an outdoor classroom and expands the Farm to School Program in Forsyth County. Lastly, Carrollton City Schools Nutrition Program, “Eat Healthy, Eat Local, Eat at Carrollton City Schools,” received a $62,625 implementation grant to increase purchases and offerings of local foods through already established distribution channels and expand offerings through additional distributors.
“Increasing the amount of local foods in America’s schools is a win-win for everyone,” Secretary Perdue said. “Our children benefit from the fresh, local food served in their meals at school, and local economies are nourished, as well, when schools buy the food they provide close to home.”
“Nearly one-third of all public school districts in Georgia are now participating in farm to school programs and recognized through the Golden Radish Awards,” said Alice Rolls, Executive Director of Georgia Organics. “Every day, children across our state are getting the opportunity to grow and taste Georgia food in school. I’m excited to see the USDA invest in Georgia farmers and in our children at the same time.”
According to the 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, schools with strong farm to school programs report higher school meal participation, reduced food waste, and increased willingness of the students to try new foods, notably fruits and vegetables. In addition, in school year 2013-2014 alone, schools purchased more than $789 million in local food from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers. Nearly half (47 percent) of these districts plan to purchase even more local foods in future school years.
In addition to school meals, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers several other nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (Commonly known as WIC), and the Summer Food Service Program. Together, these programs comprise America’s nutrition safety net. For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov. Farm to school is one of many ways USDA supports local and regional food systems, and the Local Food Compass Map showcases the federal investments in these efforts