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75 Georgia School Districts Win Golden Radish Awards for Farm to School Accomplishments
Atlanta, Ga. (October 30, 2017) – Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture, Education and Public Health, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and Georgia Organics came together at the historic Georgia Railroad Freight Depot to celebrate over 40 percent of Georgia school districts with outstanding farm to school programs. Seventy-five school districts, serving more than one million students in Georgia, are now participating in farm to school. These districts served more than 97 million school meals with local food items during the 2016-17 school year.
The Golden Radish Award publicly recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school, from local food procurement to hosting taste tests and gardening with students. This year, the Golden Radish partners awarded 26 new school districts and welcomed a new partner-UGA Extension. “UGA Extension is so excited to promote healthy eating habits and incorporate Georgia’s great agricultural food products into our school lunchrooms,” said Associate Dean for UGA Extension at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Laura Perry Johnson. “This is a natural partnership that benefits us as well as the school kids who get to enjoy these tasty and nutritious products.”
Districts of all sizes are utilizing farm to school programs to teach academic standards in school gardens, support the local economy through local food purchases for school meals, and fight childhood obesity and other preventable food-related diseases. “Access to fresh, locally grown food is not just important for students’ physical health – it’s part of their academic development as well,” said State Superintendent Richard Woods. “When children eat fresh, healthy meals, they have the fuel they need for a successful day of learning.”
Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black notes that while farm to school efforts support academic achievement, they also help build a strong agricultural economy. “Feed My School For a Week, Georgia Grown Test Kitchen and the Golden Radish Awards are all great ways for school nutrition to support Georgia producers, and we are excited as to what current and future award winners will accomplish as we work toward our 2020 Vision for School Nutrition in Georgia.”
Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D. champions healthy food access for children and supports farm to school efforts. “The vitamins, minerals and health benefits from local fresh fruit and vegetables, not only allow our children to be physically healthy, but research has shown that healthy eating is also key to brain development,” said Commissioner O’Neal. “Here in Georgia, we are leading the nation in identifying ways to increase early brain development, and healthy nutrition is an enormous part of that.”
Georgia Organics founded the state’s first farm to school program in 2007. Since then, communities across the state have embraced the benefits of bringing students and fresh, local food closer together. “It’s astounding that over 40 percent of our school districts are actively involved in The Golden Radish Awards after only four years of establishing the program,” stated Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls. “This is an exciting trajectory given farm to school’s impact on child nutrition, farmer prosperity, rural development, local economies and public health.”
During the 2016-2017 school year, Golden Radish school districts collectively:
- Served over 97 million meals that featured locally grown and raised foods
- Conducted 8,204 taste tests
- Taught 7,263 standards based lessons
- Tended 885 school gardens
- Engaged students in 3,794 hands on cooking activities
- Involved parents and community members in 1,339 farm to school activities
The 2016-17 school year was a record breaking year of farm to school growth in Georgia, and all participants were thrilled to celebrate at the Golden Radish Awards.
The 75 school systems being recognized are:
Tift County Schools
Barrow County School System
- School Nutrition engages students by offering monthly Georgia Grown taste tests. One taste test had students compare locally grown green beans vs canned green beans. They discussed taste, the nutritional benefits of eating fresh foods and how our local economy benefits when we choose to eat Georgia Grown items.
- Teachers incorporated farm to school into the curriculum of all subjects ranging from the history of food during the time of the Boston Tea Party to experimenting with corn during the Thanksgiving season. One class at Statham Elementary covered all subjects with spinach!
- The nutrition department and the County Extension Agent partnered to create a Farm to School Booster Club. Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black was a featured guest speaker.
Carrollton City Schools
- Over 210 taste tests were held during the school year and 101 included locally grown food. Taste tests were offered throughout the school year in the cafeteria, garden, at special school and community events and with student focus groups.
- Farm to school is well integrated in curriculum because of a collaboration by School Nutrition staff, a FoodCorps Service Member, school administration and classroom teachers. Over 60 different farm to school, standards-based lessons were taught, covering everything from: high level economics on the multiplier effect and sustainability through local farming, to working with younger students on hand / eye coordination through preparation of a locally grown healthy snack.
- Partnering with Tanner Hospital and their Eat Healthy Live Well campaign to pilot the use of cooking carts in the elementary school. This project continues this school year and is expected to have a great influence on the tri-county area.
Cherokee County School District
- 4,888,236 meals served included at least one locally produced item! All breakfast and lunch school meals served include locally grown food.
- Teachers used opportunities such as farm field trips, farm-based video lessons, planting sessions in school gardens, and cooking activities to provide integrated agricultural education within the established curriculum throughout the school year.
- Facilitating a thriving community engagement model. As a result of their collaborative nature and partnership with the Cherokee County Farm Bureau, the district’s Farm to School program enjoys support from a broad range of community members including parents, teachers, administrators, farmers, Cooperative Extension, Master Gardeners, the Upper Etowah River Alliance, local churches and faith-based organizations, the Boy Scouts of America, and more.
Clarke County School District
- Facilitating the School Lunch Challenge, where chefs from popular restaurants in Athens compete in a cooking competition, preparing an entree and vegetable side item that follows USDA nutrition requirements. Students vote for their favorite dish and the winning entree and side item are put on the following school year’s menu.
- Hosting an “Aw Shucks Day,” at their Early Learning Center to expose preschoolers to vegetables by letting them shuck their own Georgia Grown ears of corn.
- Expanding the Wellness Policy, thanks to the support of Wellness Champions in each school. Farm to school is highlighted in the policy, where it is noted that: “Nutrition promotion will include participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, farm visits, and experience working in school gardens; The nutrition education program will be linked to school meal programs, school gardens, cafeteria nutrition promotion, after school care programs, and farm-to-school programs.”
Fulton County Schools
- Serving 4,141,291 meals that included local food!
- Promoting local food in the cafeterias by displaying information about the farmers and fun facts to highlight local items during announcements. Cafeteria Managers also visit classrooms to show students the local foods, including where they are from and how they are prepared for meal service.
- Integrating farm to school into standards-based curriculum with lessons on plant life cycles, organic farming, experiential agriculture in school gardens, edible plant part identification, and more!
Jackson County Schools
- Serving 1,316,529 meals that included local food. Every Jackson County School meal served last year included something locally grown!
- Using garden planting and maintenance to integrate farm to school concepts into math, science, language arts, health, and family and consumer science curriculums.
- Bringing an entire school of 350 students to visit the Merk Family Farm for Feed My School for a Week celebrations.
Laurens County Schools
- They served local items every day and served over 1.5 million meals that featured locally grown food!
- All schools have an edible garden, including four schools with greenhouses. Potatoes, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, broccoli, Swiss chard, celery, tomatoes, various herbs, spinach, squash, peppers, onions and flowers for pollination are just a few of the items grown in school gardens.
- Thirty-nine different farmers assisted in bringing agriculture education to students, and eight Laurens County Young Farmer members aided in building, cleaning and planting school gardens.
Sumter County Schools
- Furlow Charter School scholars took an integral role in planning the school gardens. Scholars spent several weeks researching the types of crops appropriate for the region before preparing the soil and planting in their assigned grade level raised beds. The garden was integrated in all aspects of the curriculum resulting in increased student interest in agriculture, the weather, and trying new fruits and vegetables.
- Local community organizations and businesses support the district’s farm to school efforts throughout the year. County Extension Agents assisted scholars in soil testing and weed control, local businesses donated seeds and gardening supplies, and the local Chamber of Commerce supported various activities.
- Scholars in Grades K-10 shucked fresh corn for school lunches during Feed My School for a Week.
Tift County Schools
- The School Nutrition Department purchased a cow from a student and had it processed by a local community partner. The meat provided meals for four days to over 300 students at Omega Elementary School.
- The district supports a 15-acre farm where students learn how to plant, maintain, and glean crops on a larger scale. Students also learn how to extend the life of their harvest at the county’s state of the art canning facility maintained by an FFA instructor.
- Local farmer Len Lastinger taught students how to harvest eggs from the schools laying hens. The corresponding omelette taste test was a big hit!
Atlanta Public Schools
- Forty percent of schools are using gardens as innovative tools for experiential learning and education, such as an aquaponics system at Benjamin Mays High School. USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon learned of APS’s innovations and visited the school.
- Observing Earth Day in every cafeteria in the district by featuring Garden Grown Recipes.
- Hosting an annual Fruit and Veggie Land for Pre-K students to encourage and teach healthy lifestyle habits with games, farm to school education through storytelling, and lessons from local farmers. A Garden Princess and Veggie Man motivate students to try new produce items and increase overall excitement. Partners include: APS Office of Early Learning, Crim Open Campus High School, Freshpoint, Captain Planet Foundation, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, FoodCorps, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Grown, the Humane Society, PCRM, Sodexo-Jackmont, the Turnip Truck, and the University of Georgia Office of Cooperative Extension.
Baldwin County School District
- The district has a variety of edible gardens in every one of their schools. Garden projects range from raised beds to stacked milk crate gardens.
- Georgia Grown wheat is a feature item in cafeterias. Chef James, of Back to the Basics 101, taught cafeteria managers and cooks how to make whole grain rolls from scratch using his Georgia Grown flour. He also worked with the high school culinary department in to prepare whole grain cinnamon rolls.
- All nutrition staff attended a district wide Georgia Department of Education “Shake It Up” training where they learned to incorporate fresh herbs from their school gardens in recipes.
Bartow County School System
- Featuring a Georgia Grown or locally grown product on their menu monthly, and promoting it on the serving line with signage and farm bios
- Utilizing the Aquaponics Lab, Clear Creek Elementary School fifth graders and Gateway students were divided into three teams: fishery technicians, botanists, and engineers. These students were the garden experts and led classes of younger students in STEM activities centered on the aquaponic system.
- 1,817,556 school meals included locally grown items.
Bleckley County Schools
- At Bleckley High School, the Family and Consumer Science class maintains a garden and the FFA student organization and agriculture classes have a garden and keep chickens for the Poultry Judging Team.
- Local farmers work in close collaboration with Bleckley County Schools including Ginger Butts, a wheat farmer from Back to the Basics 101. She demonstrated to classes the stages of wheat production allowing each student to work with the wheat berry from stalk and then grinding it into flour.
- At the high school students participated in cooking activities throughout the year, including creating spinach recipes and conducting a taste test for Leaf it Spinach Day during October Farm to School Month.
Burke County Public Schools
- Increased their spending on local goods by nearly $22,000 this fiscal year, for a total of almost $73,000 that went directly to their local farmers, benefiting their local community and economy.
- In an effort to increase purchase and consumption of fresh produce by low income families while increasing profit for farmers, the School Nutrition Department worked with Georgia Organics to create an eight week pop-up market– where Early Head Start families were able to purchase locally grown food using vouchers or cash. The market proved so successful, it is back for the season and foreseeable future!
- During Feed My School for a Week, students visited farmers’ stations to learn what grows in their community. Activities with farmers included petting goats, grinding corn into meal with a small mill, observing beehives, fruits and vegetable identification, learning about aquaponics and more! They also had a “Dress Like a Farmer Day,” where students ate a locally grown lunch with local farmers.
- During National Nutrition Month, they engaged high school students with social media using #veggiesrlit, a photo booth, and Harvest Bright branded prizes. The students had a blast, and are still active on social media, sharing, liking and commenting on the photo booth posts!
City Schools of Decatur
- Offering farm to school education that includes job skills training. Three students from Decatur High School applied for and were awarded the Decatur Farm to School Summer Internships. Students spend the summer working at local farms and urban gardens, in Decatur’s most popular Farm to Fork restaurants and at the Decatur Farmers Market.
- Providing professional learning days where all of the School Nutrition staff participate in farm to school trainings such as the Humane Society’s Food Forward and culinary skills with local chefs.
- Partnering with the Wylde Center and a Georgia State University Nutrition student to offer district wide taste tests of vegetables grown in school gardens by the students, teachers and School Nutrition staff.
Cobb County School District
- Featuring locally grown food in school meals on 144 school days totally nearly nine million meals with a local food item.
- Highlighting a Georgia Grown item on the menu every month. Promotion throughout the cafeteria includes serving line tags and window clings that draw attention to the items and bulletin boards with information on the featured item and the local farm where it was grown.
- Engaging students in hands-on cooking and food activities with the use of mobile kitchen carts and fresh produce from school gardens.
Columbia County School Nutrition
- They featured at least one Georgia Grown item every day for breakfast and lunch, serving local food 360 times! The menu has a Georgia Grown section that highlights all Georgia Grown foods.
- Students went on field trips to Steed’s Dairy for dairy education, Guroski’s Strawberry Farm to learn about the growing process of a strawberry, and Sunny Day Farm to conduct research on honeybees and pollination, how pumpkins grow, and how to care for farm animals.
- They presented farm to school trainings to all 31 principals in their district on the updated Wellness Policy, which includes farm to school in nutrition education. Each principal trained their school staff on the Wellness Policy and Nutrition Managers also received training on Farm to School and how to carry out the initiative.
Dougherty County School System
- Serving local food every day of the school year for a total of 2,388,204 local meals!
- Coordinating and implementing three new teaching gardens this school year in addition to maximizing use of established gardens. They grew scallions, collards, romaine lettuce, kale, radishes and spinach which was all harvested and integrated into the school menu.
- Inviting farmers to schools on fourteen occasions to teach students how vegetables grow, the importance of eating healthy, and other interactive lessons.
Effingham County School System
- Serving local food every day of the school year, including produce sourced from student gardens, Heritage Organic Farm, Better Fresh Farm and Moore Farms.
- During Farm Jam, parents and students decorated a parade float with produce grown by students with information about the item and which class grew it. The parade won 3rd place overall.
- Offering trainings led by local farmer Grant Anderson from Better Fresh Farms about the growing, preparation and proper ordering of hydroponic lettuce, that resulted in a purchasing arrangement that benefits all.
Elbert County School District
- They conducted 20 taste tests throughout the school year all with items harvested from the school garden including radishes, green beans, and basil.
- They have a Work Based Learning Class that engages students in farm to school work in school gardens, teaching farm to school curriculum and overseeing “Devil’s Dirt.”, the new venture partnership venture of School Nutrition and Elbert County Comprehensive High School Agriculture classes, Environmental Sciences classes, audio/visual classes and FFA. Devil’s Dirt is compost made from cafeteria scraps, which will be used in all the school gardens. Excess compost will be sold to community members as a fundraiser.
- They hosted a Farm to School Day at Elbert County Primary School and all students dressed up as farmers. Students visited nine interactive stations hosted by area farmers to learn about rabbits, guinea hogs, goats, tractors, strawberries and honey bees.
Fannin County School System
- Students incubated, hatched raised chickens, and harvested their eggs. The eggs are just one of the many locally produced items featured in taste tests.
- Every school in Fannin County has a school garden and two elementary schools have greenhouses.
- Twenty farm to school standard-based lessons were taught throughout the school year, including Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) lessons on plant growth in the school garden.
Fayette County Public Schools
- Fayette County farmers helped teach students how to measure and record plant growth, compare growth of plants with direct vs. indirect sunlight and cook with fresh fruit and vegetables. Farmers also offered a milking demonstration with a live cow, a bee demonstration on pollination, and talked to students about careers in farming.
- Pre-K students learned to locate and explore bean plants, to manually identify the difference between stems and pods, to plant carrot seeds and to harvest the carrots several months later.
- Students participated in 325 hands-on cooking and food activities over the year. One farmer worked with students once per week to prepare and taste food!
Gwinnett County Public Schools
- Every school in the district participated in taste tests of local food, amounting to over 4,680 taste tests.
- Staff participated in farm to school professional development trainings 1,171 times! Most trainings were held monthly at each of the local schools.
- Farm to school lessons are taught in the district’s 143 edible gardens.
Habersham County Schools
- Student interacted with local farmers during 16 field trips to local farms, two local farmer visits to schools and three local farm activities during a farm to school showcase.
- School Nutrition staff participated in farm to school professional development including field trips to local farms, faculty meeting trainings on farm to school, farm to school workshops, and a Farm to Table Source Show.
- Faculty and a FoodCorps service member collaborated to teach 104 farm to school standards based lessons throughout the year.
Hart County Schools
- For “Aw Shucks” Day, School Nutrition staff presented lessons to 4th and 5th grade students on the production, life cycle and preparation of Georgia Grown corn. Students shucked and silked Osage Farms corn from Rabun County for staff to use in a Georgia Grown Roasted Corn recipe.
- Local agriculture businesses and farmers participated in two Ag Days at North Hart Elementary, displaying livestock, farm equipment and discussing their businesses with students.
- Farm to school was regularly incorporated into math and science curriculum with lessons on animal life cycles and on-farm visits, water cycles and the building of a school garden irrigation system; and analyzing weather charts while collecting water data using various weather instruments.
Treutlen County Schools
- The School Nutrition Department organized a Farm Day where every elementary school student got to interact with 12 farmers and learn about different agricultural professions.
- All students have access to an edible school garden, including a cold-frame hoop house that was donated by and constructed with the help of the local Research Conservation and Development Council.
- Treutlen County Schools’ Wellness Policy includes specific, comprehensive language for implementing farm to school throughout the entire school environment. Both teachers and nutrition staff provide nutrition education and parents and teachers are offered at least one opportunity for farm to school professional development. The policy encourages promotion of October Farm to School Month, coordination of a minimum of three taste tests, and the incorporation of produce grown in school garden into school meals.
Henry County Schools
- Collaborating with produce vendor Royal Food Service at the beginning of the school year to plan their local purchases for a Harvest of the Month promotion.
- Hosting farm to school activities such as the school-wide Planting Day, when students planted classroom garden beds, and a Farm at School day, where students saw the cow-to-table process of milk, learned about farm animals, and had a farm-fresh food cooking demonstration.
- Inviting chefs and Master Gardeners to lead culinary activities for Hampton Elementary Charter School students who made quiche with spinach and kale from the garden during “Arts Alive” days.
Newton County Schools
- Students interacted with local farmers 70 times, including through field trips to Berry’s Farm and Mitcham Farms and farmers from Burge Organic Farm visiting Mansfield Elementary.
- Spinach grown in the Mansfield Elementary school garden was used for a spinach and romaine salad school wide taste test for as a Leaf it to Spinach October Farm to School Month promotion.
- Students participated in more than 190 hands on cooking and food activities. Parents assisted teachers in activities such as learning about the different plant parts and getting to taste examples of stems, roots, flowers, leaves, and fruits.
Warren County Public Schools
- The School Nutrition and Career Technical and Agriculture Education Departments collaborate to manage the district’s 26 raised bed gardens. The district grows enough produce to provide each student at least one school garden grown vegetable serving three times a week. The gardens produce enough lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage to offer fresh salads and coleslaw throughout the winter.
- The district invited community members and local leaders to a Harvest Day Parade in September to celebrate the school gardens. Students harvested vegetables from the garden and the high school marching band led the way from the greenhouse through the hallways to deliver the produce to the cafeteria.
- A community garden party was held in May to thank local business partners for their partnership. Community representatives and staff from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement toured the gardens, planted seeds, and taste tested garden items prepared by the cafeteria staff.
Crawford County Schools
- Featuring Georgia Grown items in cafeterias monthly with product information, recipe samples and giveaways. 256,320 lunches and 170,319 breakfasts included locally grown food!
- Integrating farm to school lessons in standards-based curriculum with agriculture lessons linked to the school gardens and Georgia Grown products. “Farmtastic Fridays” were sponsored by a grant from Crawford County Farm Bureau and included visits to the school from farmers and student field trips to local farms.
- Engaging students in hands on cooking and food activities by planting, harvesting and preparing vegetables from school gardens and blending spices from Georgia Department of Education “Shake It Up” recipes to be used in the school cafeteria.
DeKalb County School District
- Offering 355 taste tests of locally grown produce and recipes that featured school garden grown items like kale pesto, radish bruschetta, and a plant based stir-fry with carrots and kale.
- Integrating farm to school into the curriculum through science, technology, engineering, math, and health.
- Hosting school-based “Farmer Markets” to raise money for the school garden by selling garden grown produce.
Floyd County Schools
- Local food was served almost every day of the school year totaling more than 1 million meals featuring locally grown food!
- Basic Agriculture Science students visited the Rome/Floyd ECO Center to learn about channel catfish management. Director, Ben Winkleman, taught students how the water ecosystem affects farms as well as other areas of the environment.
- During visits to several local farms, students learned how to make cheese and butter from fresh milk.
Forsyth County Schools
- Cafeteria staff displayed lettuce and sweet potatoes with their roots suspended in water on the cafeteria lines to educate students on root systems and reinforce the cafeteria connection to the school garden.
- Farm to school standards-based lessons taught students about composting, the importance of healthy soils, and how to plant, tend, harvest, and prepare local produce.
- Many community members supported farm to school activities including the PTA helping with garden work days, UGA Extension training staff, and Keep Forsyth County Beautiful and the Eagle Scouts supporting a variety of projects.
Gainesville City School System
- During the October Farm to School Month Leaf it to Spinach campaign, the cafeteria manager at Centennial Elementary developed four different recipes using spinach for students to taste test: Messy Garden Pizza, Hulk Smoothie, Pop-eye Penne Pasta, and Zesty Spinach Salad.
- Culinary Arts students partnered with School Nutrition to submit a healthy recipe with nutritional analysis and commercial scalability to a state recipe contest. These students also developed two recipes using local pumpkins when they were in season.
- School Nutrition promotes farm to school by publishing a farm to school calendar that showcases all locally procured foods, offering taste tests at all schools and highlighting local items on the serving line with signage. For an extra special promotion, they created a farm to school video highlighting all farm to school activities in the district!
Madison County School District
- All 665,827 meals served during the school year included a locally grown item on the menu.
- Students at Hull-Sanford Elementary School taste tested locally grown carrots while meeting Carter Dodd of Diamond Hill Farm, the farmer who grew the carrots.
- The greenhouse and raised beds at Madison County Middle School are run by the school’s FFA, which is number one in the nation for middle school FFA’s!
Paulding County School District
- More than 1.8 million meals were served featuring locally grown food items from 30 farms.
- The district held an Iron Chef Farm to School Cooking Competition at the end of the year. Teams from different schools competed and East Paulding Middle School won the competition.
- Each of the district’s five high schools have greenhouses for student cultivation of edible and flowering plants that. Hands on lessons include greenhouse production, planting, seeding, and propagation. Paulding County High School students sell their edible and flowering plants during a five day fundraiser.
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System
- Parents were invited to try freshly picked vegetables at lunch with students on garden harvest days at Coastal Empire Montessori Charter School.
- Local celebrity chefs were invited to Otis J Brock III Elementary School for a Chef and Child Day in April. Chef teams prepared local and organic foods during lunch for students.
- A mobile teaching kitchen called the Charlie Cart is used to teach hands-on, standards based lessons. With the help of Emory University students, fifth graders learned about compound mixtures and physical changes while making applesauce and chemical reactions between a base and an acid while making herb scones. Pre-K through second grade teachers taught math, science, and social studies lessons through recipe preparation.
Toombs County Schools
- The School Nutrition Department served locally grown food on over 80 days totally 226,000 meals throughout the year. Featured items included sweet potatoes and turnip greens from Herndon Farms, satsuma oranges from Franklin Farms, strawberries from Mathews Farms, peaches and muscadines from Ogeechee Farms, lettuce from Fisheads Aquaponics, and wheat rolls made from Freeman’s Mill wheat flour.
- The School Nutrition Department collaborated with agricultural education teachers, the County Extension Agent, Farm Bureau, local farmers, and AgSouth to host an Ag Expo for students during Feed My School for a Week.
- Farm to school is promoted by teachers, administrators, and the School Nutrition Department. During October Farm to School Month, a spinach “popeye” salad was served to promote the Leaf it to Spinach campaign. Items grown in school gardens and used for the school lunch menu are shared with families and community on Facebook.
Buford City Schools
- They celebrated National School Breakfast Week by sourcing locally grown whole wheat flour and conducting four different taste tests of whole grain blueberry muffins at each school during breakfast.
- The entire School Nutrition staff completed the Georgia Department of Education Shake It Up Farm to School training by the Georgia Department of Education.
- The Foods Lab class at Buford High School participated in cooking demonstrations and chef demonstrations.
Carroll County Schools
- At least 750,000 meals and snacks included a locally grown item. In schools with gardens, nutrition managers highlighted the menu items that were sourced from the school garden and that information was shared with students during daily announcements
- Ithica Elementary School students are empowered to buy local. Staff sold the fruits and vegetables grown in the student garden during a “Market Day” celebration. Students purchased the produce with the “Titan” money they had earned for good behavior and accomplishments.
- Students at Villa Rica Elementary had the Great American Bus Interactive Education Company “GABIE” bus come to the school and teach about gardening and the importance of healthy eating.
Coffee County School System
- School Nutrition worked with classroom teachers throughout the district to ensure classroom and cafeteria farm to school efforts were reinforced. Under the guidance of Agriculture Teacher Mr.Troy Highsmith, students planted and harvested a variety of vegetables, studied soil preparation, irrigation, fertilization, insect and plant disorders, weed control, and food safety.
- The County cow visited Satilla Elementary School’s cafeteria on World Milk Day and students learned where milk comes from while enjoying a carton of milk!
- Satilla Elementary has four raised garden beds. Their first crop was spinach during the October Farm to School Month Leaf it to Spinach .All grades from Pre-K through 5th grade participated in planting, maintaining, and harvesting the spinach.
Dade County Schools
- All four schools have an edible garden. Agriculture classes and construction classes joined to collaborate and build 22 raised beds which were filled with organic compost and planted with several varieties of vegetables. Agriculture received a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s to construct the Wolverines vegetable produce wagon.
- The district has a unique gardening program that uses cross curricular instruction with Family and Consumer Science, Math, Agricultural and Science departments. Students in each class work and learn together, and the middle school technology class produced a short video that includes information on the district’s farm to school efforts.
- The school gardens at Dade Middle produced tomatoes that were used in salads, and the school plans to serve even more produce that is grown on-site during the current school year.
Dalton Public Schools
- Running a summer nutrition program that employs about 50 students, parents, teachers, bus drivers, and various others throughout the community to assist in feeding 3,000 children a day. City Park Elementary provided cucumbers, green beans, and lettuce from their garden to include in those summer meals.
- As part of a STEM project, students performed a cafeteria plate waste trial to determine the most wasted vegetable. They then sowed, transplanted, grew and harvested that vegetable in the school garden and tested different recipes to feature it. School Nutrition prepared the winning recipe for all the students and staff at school..
- During October Farm to School Month, second grade teacher Katy Stacy conducted a spinach smoothie sale with her class and sold almost 400 smoothies! They used spinach that was planted and harvested by the class.
Douglas County School System
- Students from five Douglas County schools visited Serenbe Farms to learn the principles of organic farming and the importance of eating locally grown produce. The farm visit was tied to STEM lessons.
- Douglas County Farm Bureau, parents, teachers, school administrators, Gordon Food Service, and School Nutrition staff worked together to create an action plan, develop resources and create relationships to help facilitate farm to school throughout the district.
- During World Milk Day, Maggie the dairy education cow visited Dorset Shoals Elementary students, who got up close and personal with Maggie and her farmer. Students learned about cows, milk production and the nutritional benefits of milk.
Lee County School System
- Students take field trips to area farms, including Calhoun Produce and Mark’s Melon Patch. At Mark’s Melon Patch, students picked peanuts and taste tested peanuts grown on the farm.
- Schools collaborated with community businesses to create school gardens. Griffin Lumber, a local hardware store, donated all the soil used in the raised beds and Lowe’s donated seeds for the school gardens.
- Students prepared and ate a diverse array of dishes from their schools’ garden harvests, including squash casserole, lettuce wraps, chef salads, creamed spinach, spinach wraps, and herbed vegetables
Marietta City Schools
- Offering over 111 taste tests to students in the cafeteria to expose them to new recipes and foods.
- Partnering with Southern Roots Farms and various community members to support Marietta City School Young Farmers Club agricultural activities. Students explore topics such as maintaining soil health and effective utilization of water in farming.
- Sawyer Road students participated in lessons on Colonial Farming Standards utilizing local Swiss chard. Lessons were taught with the use of a Captain Planet Foundation mobile cooking cart and taught the growing requirements and history of Swiss chard’s use.
Mitchell County Schools
- Locally grown food was featured on the school menu 174 days in over 300,000 school meals.
- The Student of the Month Award included a class field trip to the cafeteria to tour the kitchen and learn about School Nutrition.
- Community members celebrated PB&J Day with the district, including representatives from the Georgia Peanut Commission, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, and Georgia Farm Bureau. Peanut farmers read to students and answered questions while FFA students discussed equipment used to grow peanuts.
Morgan County Charter School System
- Second grade students video interviewed Washington Farms on growing pumpkins for an art and science project-based learning unit.
- All four schools have school gardens. Local farmers and agriculture students constructed a garden for special needs classes at Morgan County High School to learn about growing food.
- Farm to school is integrated into standards based lessons across grade levels. For example, high school agriculture students participated in a project based learning unit to research fresh food and produce access in the county. They created improvement plans to help areas where fresh food and produce is not affordable or accessible.
Murray County Schools
- All sixth grade students participated in the Georgia Farm Bureau farm to school Essay Contest.
- The Murray County chapter of the Georgia Farm Bureau hosted an Ag Day for all the fourth graders. Students learned about agriculture first hand from vegetables growers, dairy and livestock farmers, and veterinarians.
- The school district owns a cannery and agriculture teachers, students, and community members work together to process locally grown crops, such as canning green beans.
Muscogee County School District
- Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee members visited Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy kindergarten students to read the book, “First Peas to the Table,” and plant pea seeds.
- The School Nutrition Department selects a monthly farm to school featured item for the school menu. Students enjoy pole beans in August, sweet potatoes in October, and strawberries in April.
- In the weeks leading up to Feed My School for a Week, the district hosted a t-shirt design contest, essay contest, and pecan butter taste test. Feed My School for a Week included an agricultural literacy day, Thank a Farmer Day, and a school wide “Ag Day”. Students met many of the farmers that grew their lunch.
- Farmers growing food for school meals visited Hains Elementary students to explain the growing process behind their lunch plates. Pete Jackson of Jackson Farms taught students about growing vegetables, Lisa Dojan of Fisheads Farm explained aquaponics, and Laurie Ritchie from J&L Farm and Stables provided peanut and livestock education with the help of a friendly chicken.
- More than 4.2 million school meals were served featuring local food. Local items included strawberries, peas, and butter beans from RJ&G Farms in Claxton, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and collard greens from Jackson Farms in Midville, lettuce from Fisheads Aquaponics in Sardis, and blackberry jelly from Southern Grace Farms in Enigma.
- For the Leaf it to Spinach October Farm to School Month campaign, A.R. Johnson High School students planted spinach seeds in recycled cafeteria cans with School Nutrition staff. Students grew the plants in the greenhouse and the School Nutrition manager utilized the school garden grown spinach on the salad bar.
Valdosta City Nutrition Program
- Nine out of Valdosta City’s ten schools have edible school gardens. A team of Master Gardeners and parents at each school assist students and teachers in planting, harvesting, and learning in the garden. Harvested produce is brought to the school cafeteria where staff prepare items to be put on the serving line for taste tests.
- The School Nutrition Department features Georgia Grown and locally produced items daily with local items highlighted on the school menu.
- Content on local food and agriculture were incorporated into more than 4,000 standards based lessons.
- School Nutrition Managers worked with local farmers to streamline order and delivery of fresh, local products. The district features a locally grown item on nearly every lunch tray, such as hydroponic lettuce from Lanes Bridge Lettuce in Odum.
- Students taste tested a variety of unique dishes including chickpea salad wraps with locally grown hydroponic lettuce and strawberry “sushi” rolls made from locally grown strawberries.
- Pre-K through 5th grade students at Screven Elementary School toured the school kitchen to learn about food preparation and food safety from the nutrition staff. Students wore a chef hat and an apron and got to make their own fruit pizzas using locally grown strawberries and blueberries.
- The School Nutrition Department serves local food daily and promotes their farm to school program by highlighting local farms on menus. Produce from Osage Farms is featured daily on salad bars and raw veggies for the vegetable dippers are sourced from Wide Bottom Farms.
- School nutrition staff offer student tours of the cafeteria and teach students how to cook different foods. Elementary students grew potatoes in their school garden and prepared them in the school cafeteria.
Worth County School District
- For PB&J Day, Worth County Chamber of Commerce Director, the Georgia Peanut Queens, and Stacy Jones, a local peanut farmer, visited schools to teach students about growing and harvesting peanuts and the importance of peanuts in the local community, economy, and culture.
- The School Nutrition Department teamed with Family and Consumer Science students to create a buffalo cauliflower dish that was taste tested and served in the cafeteria. Students presented the recipe at the state FCCLA finals for a “Shake it Up” competition.
- Horticulture students grew vegetables to sell at annual spring plant sale, and agriculture students taught food science students about planting, germinating, and transplanting.
Banks County School System
- During Feed My School for a Week at Banks County Elementary School, fruits and vegetables served at both breakfast and lunch were sourced locally, including strawberries from Jaemor Farms, beef from Brush Creek Farms, sausage from Carroll’s Sausage, and honey from Jarrett Apiaries.
- Students grew spring onions, red and green leaf lettuce, spinach and broccoli in three raised bed gardens . They planted, tended and harvested all of the crops and performed taste tests with each item grown in their school gardens. These items were served on the school chef salad.
- They featured locally grown food items on their menu for 89 days for breakfast and 96 days for lunch.
Butts County School System
- They served locally grown food on the school menu 174 days last year, totalling 281,960 breakfasts and 432,004 lunches.
- Georgia Grown items are identified by a star on the menu next to each item that contains Georgia Grown products.
- They have established a Chef’s Corner in school cafeterias to enable students to taste test new, local products.
Calhoun City School System
- Students from all school campuses visited Payne Farm to pick and taste locally grown strawberries. Some students also visited Hillcrest Orchards to pick apples and Georgia Aquaponics Produce where they sampled fresh lettuce.
- School Nutrition teamed up with elementary school teacher Tricia Waters to have students design and build six raised bed gardens. The raised beds growing lettuce, peppers, squash, and zucchini.
- Calhoun City Schools partners with local produce company Whitco and purchases tomatoes grown in Murray County by Mitch Holcomb, a retired Agriculture teacher.
Clayton County Public Schools
- Highlighting a Georgia Grown item each month on the school menu and promoting the item with signage on the serving line that includes photos, nutrition facts, recipe ideas, and more!
- Encouraging managers to conduct taste tests of the Georgia Grown item of the month, so that students will try new foods
- Partnering with Royal Food Service to purchase Georgia Grown produce.
Dawson County School System
- 348,329 school meals included locally grown food!
- Each month the school menu featured a locally grown and Georgia Grown section to inform parents, teachers, and students which produce items were sourced locally.
- The Culinary Arts students practiced knife skills by cutting and chopping fresh, local produce in the high school kitchen.
Emanuel County School System
- Hosting two “Farm Days”, where the School Nutrition Department presented “Where in Georgia Are Our School Foods Grown” to primary and elementary students. Students took home seeds to take home to start gardens with. Students also talked to farmers, visited barns where they could pet goats, horses, cows and rabbits, sat on tractors and listened to high school FFA students explain how they work. Altamaha EMC joined by teaching students how they run power to all of the farms in the county.
- Collaborating with Emanuel County Family Connections to host a Chopped Jr class. Swainsboro Elementary School students prepared healthy snacks using fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Partnering with Georgia Farm Bureau to present “The Importance of Georgia’s Specialty Crops” to Swainsboro Middle school students, who learned about specialty crops grown in Georgia and how they affect the state’s economy. Farm Bureau sponsored an essay writing contest on the topic with $50 given to the winner.
Franklin County Schools
- A strong district Wellness Policy encourages teachers to integrate farm to school into classroom lessons.
- Inviting a local farmer from Jan and Zen’s Garden to bring collard greens to Carnesville Intermediate Elementary to taste test with students.
- Sourcing local food, including Georgia Grown apples and broccoli, from within 250 miles
Glascock County School System
- 16,500 meals served featured locally grown items
- Local foods were promoted with announcements over the intercom about the locally grown produce on the breakfast and lunch menus.
- Fifth grade students planted a raised bed garden
Haralson County Schools
- With support from Tanner Health System, one school used the Kids ‘N the Kitchen Cart, which includes a blender, induction cooktop, and griddle, to lead hand-on cooking and farm to school activities.
- Primary and elementary school students took field trips to Caldwell Farms in Rockmart, Georgia and Bennett Farms in Alabama.
- School Nutrition taste tests new items in each school to encourage students to try new things.
Hall County Schools
- Students taste tested over 30 Georgia Grown Test Kitchen recipes featuring local food such as Baked Summer Squash, Crispy Sweet Potato Wedges, Roasted Parmesan Garlic Carrots, Skillet Green Beans, Skillet Sauteed Corn, and Fresh Homemade Salsa.
- A cafeteria manager collaborated with a marketing teacher to promote the Georgia Grown Test Kitchen recipes by having students create signs and pass out samples of the recipe being taste-tested.
- Master Gardeners and the local 4H Extension Agent assisted with gardening lessons about composting, planting, harvesting, pollination, and nutrition.
Serving locally grown items 720 times during the school year including collard greens from Pete Jackson Farms in Midville, Georgia; pink eye peas and butterbeans from Sweat’s LLC in Wrightsville, GA, and various local fruits and vegetables procured from Royal Food Service.
Lincoln County School District
- Serving locally grown food each month and promoting the local items with signage on the serving line.
- Using farm to school to implement the district’s Wellness Policy states that all students should be provided “nutrition education that is interactive, teaches the skills necessary to adopt healthy eating behaviors and includes enjoyable, developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, participatory activities such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits, and school gardens.”
Lowndes County Honorary
- Serving over 1.8 million meals that included local food. Georgia Grown apples are served daily!
- Partnering with Tommy Biles Farm to serve fresh strawberries and “Farmer Fredo” to feature his collards in celebration of Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Awareness Week.
- Including Farmer Brown’s Produce tomatoes in a side salad every Friday during the school year.
Lumpkin County School System
- Students grew collards, Swiss chard, lettuce, radishes, and snow peas in their school gardens. They harvested the produce to take home and share with their families.
- Teachers integrated farm to school lessons in fifth grade life science standards by teaching lessons about insects, micro-organisms, plants, and healthy foods
Miller County Board of Education
- Locally grown food items are featured daily totally for 140,000 total meals throughout the school year. Students enjoy local items such as strawberries grow in Miller County.
- The district hosted a PBJ and Milk Day. Rodney and Rod Bryan from Half-Fast Farms brought peanut harvesting equipment to teach students about planting, growing, and harvesting peanuts. Dairy farmer Tony Strickland brought dairy calves and discussed the nutrition requirements for calves and milk cows and milking schedule.
McIntosh County Schools
- 4-H students planted organic spinach seeds and made spinach brownies from their harvest. Students enjoyed them so much they took recipes home to share with their families.
- The County Extension Agent and 4-H Program Assistant taught all seventh grade students about the science of soil and soil testing.
- Ten FFA officers visited Rabun County farmer John Dills in North Georgia to compare coastal and North Georgia agriculture
Rockdale County Public Schools
- Locally grown food items were featured on the school menus daily amounting to over 3.6 million meals. Local items included mixed greens from Oxford Organic Farm, strawberries from Mitcham Farms, and cafeteria made rolls with flour from Back to Basics Farm.
- Mitcham Farms, UGA Extension Agent Jacob Wolfe, Back to Basics Farm, and Sutherlands Food Service presented at two student assemblies on local food distribution.
- Local food in school meals was promoted with four different “dress-like” days. Students dressed up as their favorite fruit, vegetable, dairy product, and farm animal.
Students at Toccoa Elementary School planted organic kale, chard, collard greens, cabbage, radishes, beets, and a variety of lettuces in their school garden with 24 raised beds.
Whitfield County Schools
Three schools have gardens, including a greenhouse, in ground beds, and raised beds. This year, students grew multiple varieties of beans, herbs, zucchini, 16 varieties of tomatoes, 10 varieties of peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, banana trees, and edible flowers.
Wilkinson County Board of Education
Georgia Grown items were featured on the school menu every day