Atlanta, Ga. (September 17, 2019) – Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture, Education , Public Health, Department of Early Care and Learning, The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, and Georgia Organics came together at the historic Georgia Railroad Freight Depot to celebrate nearly half of Georgia school districts with outstanding farm to school programs. Ninety school districts, serving more than 1.8 million local meals in Georgia, are now participating in farm to school. These districts served more than 1.7 million students.
The Golden Radish Awards honor Georgia school districts for best practices in farm to school programs. Best practices include local food procurement, exposing students to new foods through taste tests and incorporating cooking and gardening activities into class curriculums. This year, the Golden Radish Partners presented an Outstanding District Award and five awards for farm to school innovation.
- Georgia Organics recognized Effingham County School District for their partnership with Certified Organic farms through procurement and education with the Organic Radish Award.
- The Georgia Department of Education presented Fredando Jackson of Flint River Fresh (aka Farmer Fredo) with a Farm to School Farmer of the Year Award.
- The Georgia Department of Public Health awarded Baldwin County School District the Innovative Community Partnership Award.
- The Georgia Department of Agriculture presented a Georgia Grown Teacher of the Year Award to Kristin Sims of Bleckley County School District.
- The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension recognized Fayetteville County Public Schools with the Outstanding Extension Farm to School Program Award.
- The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning: Bright from the Start awarded Baldwin County School District with a Baby Golden Radish Award.
Elbert County School District was awarded the Outstanding District award for their excellence.
Keep reading to view a list of awarded districts and their best practices.
- Students in the after school program participate in weekly cooking and tasting activities using produce from the garden.
- Parents serve as chaperones for farm field studies and when students are working in the school garden.
Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School
- Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School offers a self-serve “Taste Test Station” where students can taste the samples and fill out a feedback sheet on their own time at lunch.
- The school has creative F2S activities for their older students. The older grades practiced persuasive writing by completing essays about what should be added to the school menu and why. Middle school students learned about up-cycling in their design class by reusing plastic containers, cans and boxes.
- 4th grade students learned about fractions using apples and apple cutters.
Atlanta Public Schools
- APS partnered with the Wylde Center in Edgewood to complete 11 school-wide taste tests featuring local produce, including corn salad and mango avocado salsa.
- In 2019, 52 kindergarten classes visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, which features an edible garden exhibit. The Wylde Center in the Edgewood Community Garden hosted 41 class field trips, which featured chickens, a pollinator garden, a rain garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, mushroom logs and compost bins.The Wylde Center also visited more than 500 classrooms and school gardens.
- Lunch at APS includes a daily vegetarian entree and a daily salad bar, known as the APS Salad Bowl, which includes locally grown vegetables.
Baldwin County School District
- The district plans to implement a 1.5 acre garden site at Baldwin High School, known as the Baldwin Grows Learning Lab. It aims to improve academic achievement, promote healthy lifestyles and support local, sustainable food systems.
- Students learned how to grow mushrooms in their classroom. They used the mushrooms they grew to prepare and taste “Mushroom Sloppy Joes”.
- Parents and community members participated in Our Farm to School Symposium, a training opportunity for staff and the community to find creative ways to improve and expand on current Farm to School Efforts. A group of businesses, organizations, farmers, teachers, staff, and parents emerged from this symposium to form the Baldwin Grows Community Action Team (BG-CAT).
- The LEA-wide policy contains an entire section dedicated solely to Farm to School. One of the listed commitments is to “Use the Farm to School program to promote awareness of how food choices affect our health, communities, and the environment.”
Banks County School System
- Students in 4th grade grew varieties of lettuce during the spring, which were taste tested by students in grades 3-5 during Feed My School week.
- K-5 Teachers read books to students purchased through school nutrition which shared farm to school concepts and nutrition education.
- Local farmers were invited to share their occupations during a farm day for K-2. Local business owners and farmers also shared their careers with the K-5 students during Farm/Ag Career day.
- A 3rd grade class conducted a taste test for their teachers with kale chips and kale pesto that they made themselves. They placed the food in the teacher’s break room, where the teachers tried it and marked their response on a chart.
- A local blueberry farmer donated 60 bushes and taught students at Apalachee High School how to plant them.
- For their monthly nutrition education, cafeteria managers visited classrooms in all Barrow County schools to discuss “Why Buy Locally Grown Food.”
- Apalachee High School held a Farm to School Luncheon for Noche de los Rabanos. Students from Apalachee prepared and served lunch to the community.
- Statham Elementary hosted an event called “Taste of Statham,” which was open to parents, the community, students, and staff. Tables were set up in the cafeteria with food dishes made from items grown in Barrow County.
Bartow County School System
- Bartow County Schools offer locally grown food items, including meat items, milk, and juice, on the menu at each meal. A majority of the produce served comes from local farms, such as Jaemor Farm, Latham Farm, Southern Valley and Stonecreek Hydroponics..
- Nutrition Staff attended a Culinary Roots in Georgia training hosted by Georgia Organics. The training aims to increase the capacity of School Nutrition programs to prepare and serve locally grown produce.
- At White Elementary, an ESOL teacher integrated farm to school vocabulary into English lessons as students used garden tools and harvested crops.
Berrien County Schools
- District teachers have incorporated agricultural topics into standards-based lessons, such as soil erosion, basic plant and animal needs, and the roles of farmers in our society.
- At Berrien Primary School, families learned about food together. Parents accompanied their children on farm field trips and attended Career Day, where they learned about how food eventually makes it to the consumer.
- Pre-K students began learning all about farming by attending Career Day, Farm Day at Berrien High School, and a field trip to Agrirama in Tifton.
Bibb County Schools
- This year, students grew such an abundance of romaine lettuce that they wanted to share it with other students in the school. The principal and nutrition manager planned a special day for the students to harvest the lettuce, take it through the food preparation process in the kitchen, and serve it to their peers.
- The district has an attractively decorated taste-testing station called the “Taste Test Truck” where students tasted locally grown items while they were in season.
- Bibb County UGA Extension agents visited two schools every month for six months and worked collaboratively with teachers to incorporate the schools’ gardens into standards-based lessons.
Bleckley County Schools
- The School Nutrition Department works actively all year to procure, serve, and preserve local, seasonal produce to use when they’re no longer in season.
- Bleckley County Pre-K Farm Day is a massive undertaking and huge success that takes place on a local farm. More than 30 farmers and agriculture-related business owners engaged with each Pre-K student through interactive exhibits. Students planted seeds, watched a cow be milked, petted piglets, and helped fly drones.
- A Bleckley County Pre-K teacher was awarded a classroom kitchen by the Georgia Farm Bureau to teach and make locally grown foods in the classroom. The teacher leads hands-on “food preparation” with the class.
Brantley County School System
- After studying a pumpkin’s life cycle in the classroom, Special Education classes visited a pumpkin farm where they carved pumpkins and made pumpkin pies.
- A blueberry farmer visited classrooms to speak about harvesting and processing from the field to the grocery store.
- Elementary school students made greenhouses and used them to grow butter bean plants. They explored the effects of healthy soil, water and sunlight on plant growth.
- Students learned to spell and define terms related to farming during the last school year.
Brooks County Schools
- School Nutrition Director Chynna Wilson hosted a culinary club twice a month throughout the school year. The students prepared recipes using produce from school gardens.
- Brooks County students visited Dixie Dream Farms, owned and operated by Ned and Marian Jones. Students toured the herb and flower gardens, the greenhouse, chicken coop, and egg house. The Jones’ grow organic flowers and herbs for making soaps and bath salts. The students made their own bath salts to take home.
- The district’s Wellness Policy commits to purchasing and serving at least 20% locally grown fresh produce and to “plan menus to accommodate the seasonality of local agriculture according to the availability of produce from local farms and school gardens.”
Buford City Schools
- Locally grown food items and produce were served at breakfast and lunch each school day!
- Buford Middle School students visited Mountain Fresh Creamery, a dairy farm.
- Teachers at Buford Academy incorporate farm to school concepts into their math and science lessons. A science teacher often uses the school garden, which has four raised beds and a tower garden.
Burke County Public School System
- Burke County Middle School (BCMS) held Garden Thyme!, a school year garden kick-off event attended by local farmers and a local master gardener who assisted in the planting. BCMS students were “experts” that taught Waynesboro Primary School students as they rotated through education-based stations. These stations included a plant part relay race; a guessing game where produce was hidden in a bag and students had to draw it based on touch; planting stations; plant painting; and plant part yoga.
- 5th graders attended a 3-day environmental camp on John’s Island, SC where one area of focus was reducing food waste.
- The Early Head Start Pop-Up Market was held weekly May through November, and includes taste tests and activities for kids to help them engage directly with farmers. Several families shopped there and brought their kids.
- The district partnered with local media sources to spread the word about their school gardens, farmer safety training and farmer bid, and farmers market.
- The district also created interactive activities for classes and students, including an I Spy game linked with a special farm to school taste test event. Teachers received a free lunch credit for having their whole class participate.
- All teachers throughout the district were offered the opportunity to attend Organic School Gardening 101 courses taught by Kim Hines in January. Each week, teachers studied topics in agriculture education and ways to explain/teach the concepts to students. Topics included plant anatomy and physiology, soil health and planning a garden.
Butts County School System
- Daughtry Elementary hosted a Farm to School day for all kindergarten students in the district. Different farmers brought animals, farm equipment and educational materials to share with students.
- The school nutrition department features a fruit or vegetable of the month on the SNP website and menu, and includes nutritional information and recipes.
- With only 5 schools serving 3500 students, Butts County was able to serve about 315,000 meals containing locally grown items.
Calhoun City School System
- Students taste tested fresh vegetables from the school garden by preparing salads in the cafeteria.
- Field trips to local farms are scheduled multiple times a year, with elementary school students visiting at least two farms annually. Students travel to Payne Strawberry Farms, Coppercreek Pumpkin Farms, Sunflower Farm, and Mercier Apple Orchards every year.
- Calhoun Elementary maintains six raised garden beds, two herb gardens and a compost station.
Candler County School District
- Metter High School has raised beds, a greenhouse, and grows plants using hydroponics. They taste tested broccoli, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, and squash.
- With only three schools in their district, Candler County served over 60,000 school meals containing locally grown items, including oranges, strawberries and carrots.
- The district procured locally grown produce from farms in the area, such as Metter Farm Market and Luke Thompson Farm.
Cartersville City Schools
- Cartersville City Schools serve local fruit and vegetables such as apples, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, cabbage, kale and mushrooms to more than 4,000 students each year.
- Pre-K students in the district tried various locally grown fruits and vegetables provided through Royal Food services.
- Locally grown items are used both on breakfast and lunch menus.
Cherokee County School District
- The Cherokee County Farm Bureau conducts quarterly Farm To School Committee meetings. Open to the public, these meetings are held specifically to discuss the county’s Farm to School endeavors and activities. Local farmers, master gardeners, extension agents, teachers, and school nutrition staff members attend these meetings.
- Hasty Elementary donated produce grown in the school garden to several organizations; potatoes to Never Alone Food Pantry, cabbage to the local school food pantry, and lettuce to a school club, Cuentos, for their end of year luncheon.
- Teachers and school nutrition staff attended an educational farm field trip hosted by Cherokee County Farm Bureau. Educators visited Phil Cochran Beef/Hay Farm, Rockin S Farm, Lady Slipper Rare Plant Nursery and Pilgrim’s Pride Farms to learn about local agriculture and new ways to teach state standards to students in subjects like science, math and reading.
- The district partnered with their Chief Communications Officer, Barbara Jacoby to promote their Farm to School program. Ms. Jacoby helped organize efforts in the production of a video entitled, “CCSD Celebrates Farm To School.” This video highlighted the school garden activities at Holly Springs Elementary. This video was released in October of 2018 and can be found on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBVgo_CyMug&feature=youtu.be.
- During Ag Week 2019, CCSD’s Farm to School program was highlighted in an article insert published by the Cherokee Tribune and Ledger News.
- Local chefs Amy Rose and Daniel Porubianksy visited classes and after school clubs to give lessons in cooking locally-grown food items as part of the district’s “Chef to School” program.
- Rockin’ S Farms, owners Michelle and Tim Stewart, hosted a multitude of farm field trips to Cherokee County students throughout the school year. The farmers also visited schools. They brought a mini farm tour to Free Home Elementary and took their corn-sheller to Creekview High School for Ag Day. Students shelled dried corn from the farm and then ran the corn through the hand sheller. Finally, Michelle visited ET Booth Middle’s advanced Science class to discuss the importance of farmers markets to the local community and to farmers.
City Schools of Decatur
- The district partners with the Wylde Center to coordinate garden activities and create lesson plans based on common core standards.
- Every campus in the district has a school garden!
- With the support of a wide variety of community Farm to School Champions, including 25 restaurants, twice yearly “Farm to School Dine Out” events raise money for internships, scholarships and financial resources for district wide taste tests.
- Three students from Decatur High School applied for and were awarded Decatur Farm to School Summer Internships, dividing their 60 hours of required work equally between a local farm or urban garden and a local restaurant or farmers’ market.
- In 2019, students in Clarke County Schools participated in hundreds of taste tests featuring a variety of locally grown produce. In elementary schools, monthly taste tests called “Try-Day Friday” promote seasonal and local produce.
- University of Georgia’s student-led garden, UGArden, offered taste tests and nutrition education for students through a partnership with the school district.
- All seventh graders in the district visited the State Botanical Garden and UGArden to learn about urban farming. Students participated in vegetable taste tests at the UGArden, University of Georgia’s student-led organic garden. With the help of UGArden student volunteers, the students also learned about eating healthy and some students made kale smoothies.
- Through a partnership with the Athens Community Career Academy, Culinary Arts Chef Emanuel Stone and the Young Urban Farmers prepared six taste tests and twelve meals.
- In order for students to experience a variety of cultivated fruits and vegetables, the district features a wide range of different types of school gardens, including raised beds, fruit orchards and edible courtyards.
Clayton County Public Schools
- Parents participated on the menu planning committee. The committee discussed the importance of using local produce and food items on the menus and how to include these items in recipes.
- In August, Clayton County Schools had a peach contest where schools sent in pictures of the largest peach and the smallest local peaches they received. Schools with the largest and smallest peaches won prizes. Students ate the peaches, too!
- Andrea Blanton, the Garden Farmer for the district’s elementary schools, invited visitors from the local farmers market, where they discussed the importance of purchasing local produce and other products at farmers markets. They set up a mock farmers market with produce harvested from the school farm.
- Clayton County celebrated Black History month in February with the theme: The first African Americans in space. The menu featured candied beets as “space candy” and nutrition managers conducted taste tests with the space candy. Students had fun with this promotion. Many didn’t know what beets were and tasted them for the first time.
Cobb County School District
- A local restaurant sold herb seedlings to special needs students for their school garden. Once the herbs were fully grown, the company bought them back to use in their menu items.
- Classes pickled cucumbers during a food preservation lab, then fried the pickles, and made dipping sauce in culinary classes.
- Students learned about the water cycle when they cooked celery root on an electric skillet, and then rounded out the lesson by eating the finished product.
Columbia County School District
- All schools celebrated Farm to School month in October, National Milk Day, and National Crunch 4 Lunch with bulletin boards, costumes, and coloring sheets.
- During Pantry Pride, a hands-on cooking class led by 4-H, students picked items from local food pantries and used them to create recipes. 4H also has a program comprised of 167 students that is named Health is our promise or HOP. The students learn about berries and fruits and make smoothies using a special bike that churns as they pedal.
- Parents and the community participated in a Vidalia Onion fundraiser through 4-H for 5th through 12th grade students. Students, parents, and family sold Vidalia onions to raise money for 4-H and some received discounts towards 4-H camps by selling the onions.
Coweta County School System
- The district offered locally grown food products on the school nutrition menu every day last year!
- During Try-Day Friday, elementary school students received nutrition education in the cafeteria while being able to see, smell, and touch produce in whole form. They also taste-test fresh the produce, which is promoted and served the following week.
- During Career Day throughout the district, local farmers spoke about the importance of agriculture, purchasing local produce and how it influences the economy.
Crisp County School District
- The UGA Extension staff planted a garden, then developed ‘Kickin’ it with Kale’-themed programs for the students. Staff read books, wore costumes, and offered taste tests of kale.
- The UGA Extension held a few programs during which they came to school dressed in vegetable costumes, read to the students, and then took them out to the raised beds to show them how vegetables grow.
- The primary school has an annual Farm Week every year in March. Activities include a visit from the school nutrition staff to learn about vegetable plants and an outdoor exhibition of farmers with their farm animals and tractors.
Dade County Schools
- During the district’s Ag Day, a farmer presented an interactive seed display and gave away plants for students to take home and grow.
- The Future Farmers of America club and plant sciences classes regularly participated in F2S activities. Ag students maintained a large greenhouse and hoop house by growing vegetables, flowers and other plants. Students also raised livestock and participated in regional and state-wide agriculture and 4-H competitions.
- Every month, School Nutrition Managers participated in Farm to School training during manager’s meetings.
Dawson County School System
- In partnership with Georgia Organics, Chef Asata taught Dawson County School Nutrition Staff on knife skills and preparing fresh herbs and vegetables.
- The Upper Chattahoochee Water Conservation District gave Kilough Elementary School a hoop house, which was used to create a unique partnership between first grade and high school students. High school students readied the hoop house and gathered community donations and support. Now first graders grow and learn in the greenhouse with help from invested community members.
- Last school year, Dawson County Culinary Arts students practiced knife skills and fresh fruits and vegetables preparation in the school cafeteria at least three times a week.
Dekalb County School District
- Students watched a play created by Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theater called “Produce Pandemonium,” which told the story of displeased fruit and vegetables protesting a lack of plate coverage.
- School Nutrition Services partnered with schools to create an educational component that incorporates gardening, environmental preservation and education. Students learned how waste prevention helps to protect the environment using the reduce, reuse and recycle model.
- School Nutrition Services partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Dekalb County School District’s Department of Parental Engagement to facilitate mobile pantries where families and parents were invited to receive free food and nutritional resources.
- Students practiced their cooking skills at a Thanksgiving meal service.
Department of Juvenile Justice
- The kitchen staff incorporate produce grown by students in their school gardens.
- The garden at Elbert Shaw RYDC has a SHAPE grant-funded aquaponic system (fish and plants) in their school greenhouse.
- DJJ has served more than 806,400 meals with local ingredients!
DODEA America Southeast District/ Fort Benning
- WRBL, a local CBS-affiliated television station, installed a weather-tracking machine for garden maintenance, allowing students to record and collect weather data to assess water needs and to prevent damage from overnight frosts.
- Stowers Elementary School collaborated with Keep Columbus Beautiful, a local community organization, by receiving guidance for their school garden on soil composition and seasonal plant growth.
- After harvesting radishes and kale from the school garden, second graders prepared the vegetables into a salad and delivered it to interested staff and students.
Dougherty County School System
- Each school was assigned a Garden Support Contact through a community partner who could provide guidance, feedback, and answer questions as needed. Based on the collaboration of school, community partners of excellence, parents, and stakeholders, Dougherty County Schools has evolved from one Teaching Garden to 15 Teaching Gardens.
- Schools sent flyers home to parents to promote farm to school activities.
- DCSS Pre-K staff made a schedule for each teacher to water and chart the growth of the vegetables in the garden with their students.
Douglas County School System
- Douglas County Schools customized the GA Grown poster every month to reflect the item of the month and the farm where the items came from. They displayed the posters in the serving area entryway and on the district’s website.
- Douglas County Schools purchased “Grow Bag”s for every school, each interns and members of the central office staff. The bags were used as a teaching tool to engage and educate students about the life cycle of growing food.
- Douglas County School Nutrition Brand Ambassador Chef Rose conducted “Cooking Local Grown w/Chef Rose” with all grade levels. As students prepared and enjoyed Apple Pie Parfaits, Zucchini Muffins, and Strawberry Smoothies they learned about the benefits of eating locally grown food..
Dublin City Schools
- Dublin High School CTAE teacher, Denise Strickland, taught daily cooking lessons in her Family and Consumer Science classroom. Students learned to use local foods in recipes, then prepared those recipes for local events such as Chamber of Commerce meetings, School Board meetings, Principal meetings, and special parent events at schools.
- Dublin City High School students participated in the GaDOE Student Chef Competition; working with lunchroom manager, Ricketa Carr and lunchroom staff to prepare. Students worked with cafeteria staff five different times to develop their recipe. Once it was perfected, they served to the entire Dublin High School student body for lunch.
- Pre-K students visited Smith’s Strawberry Farm in Cadwell, Ga. During the farm field trip, students learned about planting and harvesting strawberries. Students picked and ate strawberries at the farm.
- Dublin High School AG instructor, Jeffery Tomblin, taught students how to grow and how to harvest and sell fruits and vegetables. Students learned about the importance of soil, different fertilizing methods, how to use various growing containers, irrigation methods, identifying plant parts, and factors that affect plant growth. The students learned about meat grading and qualities to look for in meats. The students learned about meat grading and qualities to look for in meats.
Effingham County Schools
- Every year, first grade students visit Honey Ridge Agricenter, a district-owned farm, to learn about animal care, beekeeping and gardening. They also get to explore a corn maze and plant seedlings that were started by the high school students.
- To celebrate October Farm to School Month, students who participated in the school lunch program were eligible to win an organic produce box from Heritage Organic Farm. Throughout the month of October there was one winner each week at each school, for a total of 56 winners of fresh, organic produce.
- The School Nutrition Department incentivizes students to choose the Harvest of the Month dish by putting a Georgia Grown sticker on the bottom of 12 “lucky trays”. The students who get the lucky trays win a prize.
- The district school nutrition team provides professional development about Farm to School to all teachers in the first Faculty Meeting of each school year. This training helps teachers understand how they can integrate Farm to School in lessons. School nutrition also provides Farm to School training to each grade level Professional Learning Team, providing detailed advice on integration of Farm to School in standards-based curriculum.
- Each month, Elbert County School menus spotlight a Georgia-grown product by making a special recipe with it. The Family and Consumer Science (FACS) students at Elbert High School help develop the recipe in their food labs. Elbert County Middle School students help the School Nutrition staff prepare the recipe to be served in the cafeterias.
- The district notates the Georgia grown items on their menus with a carrot, and showcases farmers by listing the farm where the item was sourced. They also highlight the Harvest of the Month with signage on the serving line and on a F2S bulletin board which is updated monthly.
Emanuel County School System
- Every school in Emanuel County has an edible garden.
- Middle schools clubs sponsor gardens and activities during after school hours.
- Most of the taste tests involve produce grown by the students themselves, including onions, squash, kale and lettuce.
- Students at every grade level enjoyed learning from farmers in their community. Pre-K and Early Head Start students visited Farmer Pete Jackson twice. Swainsboro Primary and Twin City Elementary Schools each had “Farm Days” where they met and talked to farmers. High school students hosted an Area Young Farmer meeting where they proudly served salads using lettuce grown in their school gardens.
Fannin County School System
- Students taste tested lettuces, radishes, carrots, strawberries, beans, tomatoes, cabbages, kale, onions, potatoes, garlic, squash (butternut, spaghetti, and yellow summer), cucumbers, beans, mint, rosemary, lemon thyme, sweet basil, dill, popping corn, blueberries, eggs, parsley, oregano, sweet potatoes and peppers–all from their school gardens!
- School Nutrition Manager, Heather Cobb, visited classrooms and offered samples of watermelon for students to taste test while she discussed watermelon’s nutritional benefits and shared an activity booklet. This watermelon taste test was promoted on school Facebook accounts.
- Students visited the Fannin County School System’s cannery to process items including applesauce, salsa, chili, apple butter, and strawberry jam. Local farmers provided produce and assisted students in processing the produce.
- Second grade students studied life cycles by incubating eggs from ducks, Guineas, and chickens. Once the animals were hatched and fully grown, they donated them to local farmers.
Fayette County Public Schools
- Fayette County highlights locally grown items each month with a “Farm to School Spotlights” campaign. Loca items are highlighted on the menu and signs display information on the item and the farm where it was grown.
- Schools have aquaponic systems in the classrooms and the school’s front lobby.
- Art lessons incorporated F2S curricula to demonstrate the vein patterns in pea leaves by using the side of a crayon to create a leaf rubbing.
Forsyth County Schools
- The North Forsyth cluster has added an agriculture pathway so the cluster as a whole (K-12) is involved in lessons throughout the year. The cafeteria is included in many of their activities including taste tests and samplings, recipe development, and composting.
- Forsyth County Schools offers five culinary programs where each participating class spends one day interning in the school kitchen.
- Parent volunteers cleaned and prepared gardens for planting, assisted with taste tests, coordinated garden learning stations, and presented on behalf of the school garden and cafeteria during parent nights.
- Every school in Forsyth County celebrated and promoted Harvest of the Month. Celebrations included: Farmer Appreciation Day and Apple Crunch Day. Cafeteria staff dressed up, offered taste tests and samples, cooked with students and identified local products on the serving line. Schools shared these activities with the community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Fulton County Schools
- In honor of Farm to School Month’s theme, Kickin’ It With Kale, all 95 schools participated in a Try-It Tuesday offering kale chip samples to students.
- All 95 schools promoted a local item each month in multiple ways. Farmer biography handouts were available throughout the school cafeterias and napkin dispensers displayed flyers. School Nutrition provided each school with Farm-to-School newsletter blurbs, and announcement suggestions and social media posts.
- Standards-based lessons included topics on the history of agriculture, identification of edible plant parts, tracking plant growth, organic farming and soil health.
Gainesville City School System
- Kindergarten students incubated chicken eggs and studied them after they hatched.
- Gainesville High School students learned how to write and analyze recipes to meet specific nutrient standards for foods sold in schools.
- Monthly cafeteria promotions in elementary schools include taste testing and serving new recipes to Pre-K students.
- School nutrition publishes a Farm to School calendar listing the taste test promotions scheduled in cafeterias throughout the year. Additional taste tests are offered when local, seasonal produce items are available.
Glascock County School System
- Each elementary school student in the district participated in a taste testing of local and organic vegetables, including carrots, celery, strawberries, kiwi and apples.
- Students visited two farms, one in Thomson and the other in Grovetown/Appling, where they learned about plant growth and development.
- Morning announcements included health tips and messages during the entire October for Farm to School Month.
- Glascock County Pre-K students celebrated Farm to School month in October by visiting a farm in nearby Grovetown. They also enjoyed taste tests with the school nutrition director, who served a variety of items such as grapes, strawberries, kiwi, watermelon, celery and carrots.
Glynn County School System
- Glyndale Elementary students participated in a biology lesson on hatching eggs.
- Pre-K students at St. Simons participated in cooking activities several times throughout the school year.
- Glyndale Elementary, with the help of the school’s PTA, partnered with Home Depot to build the school gardens.
- Glynn County enjoyed Kick’n It With Kale so much that they continued growing and serving greens into the school year. They purchased organic arugula from Canewater Farm and planted lettuce in the planter that School Nutrition office shares with Goodyear Elementary. Because the office window is directly across from a popular computer lab used for meetings, there were many impromptu field trips to the office to check out the fabulous lettuce
Gordon County Schools
- Kindergarten through fifth grade students planted and cared for the Victory Garden. Fifth grade students harvested the produce they grew to make vegetable soup for veterans who visited the school in November.
- Kindergarten students made applesauce to taste test and integrate math by creating tables and graphing the results.
- Fourth grade students learned about the three sisters in conjunction with a Native American Social Studies unit.
Grady County Schools
- One of the students’ favorite taste tests this past year was kale chips made from kale grown in the school garden. The school garden produced enough kale to share at several schools!
- Whigham Elementary School has tremendous community support. Members of the community, including local farmers regularly stop by to check on the greenhouse and garden, and local businesses donate garden inputs, such as fertilizer and soil. Whigham farmer, Mr. Sammy Perkins, selected the Whigham FFA to receive the America’s Farmers Grow Grant to help expand their agriculture program.
- Elementary students will be able to attend agriculture classes next year as another elective class to rotate through, in addition to music and art.
Griffin-Spalding County School System
- Each elementary school in the district participated in a school-wide field trip to Bledsoe Farms.
- Each Tuesday for the entire school year, students in the district participated in “Veggie Math”. The activities consisted of cutting, measuring, weighing and counting fresh vegetables.
- Local bee farmers visited the students, taught them about honey production, and offered honey taste testings.
Gwinnett County Public Schools
- Brookwood High School offers a course called Natural Resource Management, in which students develop entrepreneurial skills while learning about sustainable agriculture and how it can be used to develop useful products. Through this course, students managed an aquaponics system in their classroom, and donated half of the produce they grew to a local food co-op.
- After learning about Brookwood High Schools’ Natural Resource Management course and their aquaponics system, members of the Lilburn Woman’s Club made a collective donation to support the class’s summer trip to Honduras!
- All 133 schools in the Gwinnett County School District conduct three taste tests per month with their students, highlighting a locally grown, Farm to School item. Last year, this resulted in 3,990 taste tests of locally grown items!
Habersham County Schools
- Habersham Schools hosted monthly coloring contests, poster contests and essay contests to celebrate each Harvest of the Month.
- The Farm Bureau visited elementary and middle schools to teach Farm to School lessons during the 2018-2019 school year. Lessons topics included soil and worm ecosystems, the tree’s life cycle, pollination and the cotton crop.
- A successful partnership with the Farm Bureau provided the county with multiple professional development opportunities, community events, including career day fairs, more than 20 food taste testing activities with students, and a F2S-based curriculum for elementary and middle school students.
Hall County Schools
- Farmers visited students in their classes through a partnership between Sugar Hill Elementary and the Hall County Farm Bureau. The farmers shared experiences and knowledge in their areas of expertise.
- School Nutrition Managers take their students on tours of the kitchens.
- The Hall County Master Gardeners collaborate with the school district for the Gardens on Green project, where students learn about planting, harvesting, and composting. Students made green smoothies with vegetables they harvested.
Hancock County Schools
- Robert Curry, owner of an organic farm in Hancock County, attended Ag Day at M.E. Lewis Elementary School.
- Students made homemade ranch dressing, which they tasted with an arugula salad harvested from their tower garden.
- Hancock County Schools’ Wellness Policy commits to Farm to School nutrition education activities throughout the school environment by specifically including enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant, participatory
activities, such as cooking demonstrations and lessons, promotions, taste-testing, farm visits and school gardens.
Haralson County School District
- Students receive fresh and local fruits and vegetables daily through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant.
- Each elementary school in the district experiences farm life by visiting various nearby farms, including Bennett Farms in Alabama, Carlton Farms in Rockmart, and Petit Farms in Cartersville!
- Tanner Hospital has a Kids in the Kitchen Cart that schools in the district apply to use each semester. Elementary school teachers use these carts to incorporate hands-on cooking and food activities into their lesson plans.
Harris County School District
- Locally grown produce is served to students for breakfast and lunch at least three times a week.
- Schools in this district are required to conduct at least three taste tests per month, with at least two incorporating locally grown produce.
- The local Farm Bureau works closely with Harris County Schools to educate students about agriculture and to provide technical assistance with the school garden.
Henry County Schools
- Georgia produced food items are served to students daily, including low-fat milk products, Bimbo bread, and Proview chicken products.
- All Henry County high school agricultural programs have a tower garden system in addition to their greenhouses.
- The Nutrition Department collaborated with the after school program to provide taste tests and cooking classes for elementary students.
Jackson County Schools
- The Jackson County School Nutrition Department uses their Facebook page as an effective tool to engage their community by frequently sharing recipes from school-wide taste tests and creating videos in the style of “Tasty Made” and “Delish” to promote Harvest of the Month items that inspire community members to make these healthy recipes at home. For the March HOTM, they created a recipe video for their Georgia Grown salad with hydroponic lettuce, for May, a strawberry salsa recipe video, and for National School Breakfast Week, a kale breakfast smoothie video.
- At West Jackson Elementary School, each grade level has their own growing space in addition to their new aquaponics greenhouse, which is soon to be the largest institutional aquaponics greenhouse in Georgia.
- Second graders at West Jackson gained the opportunity to practice their entrepreneurial skills through the school’s partnership with a local pizza restaurant. The garden’s fresh basil is sold to the restaurant and all the proceeds are used to continue and expand the school’s garden program.
Jefferson City Schools
- Students participated in Agriculture Day, when farmers and livestock ranchers came to present.
- The School Nutrition Team served 28,000 school meals containing locally grown produce and promoted these meals with Harvest of the Month materials provided by the Department of Education.
- The School Nutrition Team collaborated with Royal Produce to offer vegetables concurrent with the schedule endorsed by Georgia Grown’s Harvest of the Month.
Johnson County Schools
- Pre-K students participated in various farm to school activities. Farmer Pete Jackson from Pete Jackson Farms visited them, and they took a field trip to Sunny Day Farm. Johnson County Farm Bureau representative Torie Gilbert read them the book Clarabelle: Making Milk and So Much More, after which, the students tried their hand at making butter!
- 5th grade teachers collaborated with farmers to create a curriculum that integrates the school garden, and these farmers assisted the students in planting broccoli and Irish potatoes.
- In honor of Ag Literary Day, Johnson County Farm Bureau donated a copy of Can-Do Cowkids to the Johnson County Elementary School library. The book explores the lives of two kids who love learning and working hard to achieve their goals on the farm.
Lamar County School System
- The district offers locally grown vegetables and meats for school breakfast and lunch service each week.
- Elementary School students went to Yule Forest’s Pumpkin Patch to learn about the life cycle of plants and the economics of buying locally grown produce.
- Lamar County Primary School students went to Dickey Farms to learn about the economics of buying locally grown items.
Laurens County Schools
- Georgia Southern Interns introduced students to kombucha in Food Science high school classes to teach chemical food reactions (fermentation), while also incorporating locally procured foods. These students then taste tested a local kombucha.
- Parents and community stakeholders assisted in creating Wellness goals for SY2020, and all three goals are farm-to-school centered.
- Laurens County Young Farmer Coordinator, Mr. Terry Brown provided teacher training at all schools on proper composting, planting, and overall garden-care. He also assisted teachers in incorporating farm-to-school into their standards-based curriculum by sharing information he learned at Georgia Organics workshops with various school/garden leaders.
- In addition to locally grown produce, the Nutrition Department offers students menu items such as blackberry smoothies, whole grain biscuits and rolls made from local wheat, and cheese grits and cornbread made from locally ground corn.
Liberty County School System
- A dietetic intern created a cucumber and tomato recipe with Asian sauce. She conducted a test tasting event at one of their elementary schools with her developed recipe. Seventy percent of the participants, including 3rd to 5th grade students, kitchen staff, and teachers, liked the flavor and smell of the salad.
- Pre-k students are able to eat locally grown produce in their school meals, including fruit, tomatoes and coleslaw.
- Locally grown and fresh fruit is offered for breakfast and lunch services each day!
Lincoln County School District
- Students analyzed and discussed the differences between locally grown strawberries from Lincoln county and strawberries California during taste tests. Naturally, Georgia Grown was preferred!
- Lincoln County High School students planted vegetables in raised beds and the school’s greenhouse during their agriculture classes. They are also have a chicken coop!
- Students in the culinary arts program study nutrition and food production by running the Red Devil Cafe. The public is able to patronize the cafe and support the students each Tuesday. This operation inspired many students to further their culinary arts education at Helms College in Augusta.
Lowndes County School District
- Pre-K class students participated in several Farm to School activities, including taste tests of different foods made with pumpkin during Halloween and visiting Destination Ag to learn about the needs of plants, what lives in the soil, and what foods we eat that come from plants.
- Pine Grove Middle school has a food forest where satsuma trees, bees, turnips, lettuce and tilapia are grown.
- Middle school students across the district learned about bees. Students from Hahira Middle School visited with Beelieve apiaries in Sparks. Pine Grove Middle School students harvested honey from their bees and shared it with elementary school students during a taste test.
Lumpkin County School System
- Salad bars featuring local lettuce from Costley Family Farms, tomatoes, and peppers were introduced at all of the schools in 2019.
- During lunch, the elementary school served red potatoes that were grown and harvested by the garden club.
- Students from Lanier Tech visited to host food safety and cooking demonstrations for Adulting Day at the High School.
Madison County School District
- The science teacher at Hull-Sanford Elementary used food items to explain moon phases, soil layers, pollination, and the five senses while teaching how farmers grew the foods used in the lessons.
- Several Madison County School District teachers are farmers themselves. They visit classes other than their own to teach lessons about the agricultural products they raise.
- Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black visited Ila Elementary School during Farm to School Month to read agriculture-themed books and talk to 5th graders about the devastation of Hurricane Michael to farmers in South Georgia.
Marietta City Schools
- Park Street Elementary teachers received an informational flyer promoting the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The flyers included updates on the school garden, nutritional information, and fun ways to promote healthy eating at home.
- Seventh grade teachers at Marietta Middle School used STEM-based lessons to set up and maintain an aquaponics and aeroponics tower garden system. The lessons support a long-distance venture called the Haiti Project.. MMS students are researching types of sustainably grown produce that meets the nutritional needs of the Haitian diet.
- Throughout the year, seven classes at Park Street Elementary participated in gardening and nutrition lessons with the MCS FoodCorps Service Member. The lessons focused on seed germination, the plant life cycle, harvesting from the garden, nutritional benefits of different fruits and vegetables, and hands-on cooking.
Montgomery County Schools
- All teachers in the Montgomery County Elementary School received a mini-greenhouse which was maintained and watered by each homeroom class. When the seedlings outgrew their space, they were transplanted into raised beds at the school or into the high school’s greenhouse.
- An annual farm night hosts parents to learn about farm to school initiatives. The district invites community leaders and farmers to teach students about agriculture on the annual “Farm Day”.
- Montgomery County Schools began their farm to school journey when the superintendent (a hobby farmer) noticed an unused open space on their elementary campus and called attention to the Farm-to-School potential. The space is now used to grow produce and raise goats and chickens.
Morgan County Charter School System
- Students help Kelly Farms and the Farmview Market determine what items to grow and sell at the Market through student taste tests of items featuring local herbs and vegetables.
- At Morgan County Middle School, the cafeteria manager worked with the Agriculture, Art and Communications classes to research and create advertisements for the monthly harvest item.
- Third graders researched, designed, and implemented a plan to help struggling pollinators as a project based learning lesson. Each of the 10 classes designed a pollinator garden which were built outside of their classrooms.
- Fourth graders learned about human’s impact on ecosystems and discovered that birds are a good indicator of an ecosystem’s health. Students researched and designed a garden to support birds by planting bird-friendly plants and building birdhouses and feeders.They obtained a Wildlife Sanctuary Certification from the Atlanta Audubon Society for their efforts!
Muscogee County School District
- The School Nutrition Department served over 614,000 school meals with food sourced from local farms, including Southern Press and Packing, Bland Farms, Mercier Orchards, Herndon Farms, Dickey Farms, and many more.
- Carver High School implemented an advanced course in food and nutrition called “Food for Life” that explores nutritional needs throughout the life cycle. The course offers a pathway into dietetics, consumer foods, and nutrition science careers.
- Students from Veterans Middle School tasted tested a variety of items from their school garden, including red, gold, and purple potatoes, salad greens, and onion and garlic chives. Students even dried fresh mint leaves to make their own tea.
- South Columbus Elementary partnered with Georgia Organic’s Georgia Food Oasis, Synovus Bank, and Home Depot to help establish and maintain their school garden.
Newton County Schools
- The district partnered with Newton County’s Farm Bureau to facilitate 54 community events and 75 parent events to educate community members and parents on farm to school. They also work with teachers to create agriculture focused lesson plans.
- School Nutrition staff attended Georgia Dept. of Education and Georgia Organics’ Culinary Rooted in Georgia workshop where they learned to incorporate local food into recipes.
- Students interacted with locally grown food during hands-on food activities based on lessons from the National Ag in the Classroom curriculum.
Oconee County Schools
- Produce from many of the elementary school gardens were served in school cafeterias.
- Elementary school classes take annual field trips to Washington Farms to learn about soil preparation, farm equipment, the importance of pollinators, photosynthesis, and more!
- Farmers from Sonrise Farms taught students how to plant strawberry seedlings.
Paulding County School District
- Brian Higgins, a.k.a. the Bee Man, visited students in the Garden and Stem Club on behalf of Atlanta’s Hometown Honey. He spoke to the students about the importance of honey bees and how to care for them.
- Various schools within the district used a cooking cart to help conduct mobile cooking and food activities with students.
- The district hosted the third annual Iron Chef Competition and Junior Bake-Off to encourage students to use and become familiar with Georgia-grown ingredients.
Pickens County Schools
- The district utilized Harvest of the Month promotions for six months in each school by featuring locally-grown produce and recognizing the farmer who grew it.
- School nutrition staff work with the high school culinary instructor to invent new recipes that incorporate local vegetables into the school menu. They often conduct sample tests and focus groups with the culinary classes to keep up with student trends.
- High school students within Future Farmers of America visited the elementary school to mentor younger students on farming and agriculture education.
Pierce County Schools
- Students taste tested green beans and chicken products. They scored items on whether they tried it, liked it, or wanted it on the menu. Additionally, a Family and Consumer Science class prepared several recipes using local produce and then tested their creations to provide recommendations for the school menu.
- Pierce County shared videos and photos of students participating in various promotions on school social media accounts to promote local food on their menus.
- School Nutrition Managers were introduced to farm to school at a training on the Georgia Dept. of Education’s Harvest of the Month Calendar and the Golden Radish Award Criteria. After reviewing the criteria, the district discovered that many things pertaining to farm to school were already being implemented in Pierce County Schools.
Richmond County School System
- The district used partnerships with community and food organizations such as FoodCorps, Eat Local CSRA, and farmers to conduct taste tests with students.
- CT Walker Magnet School cooked items from the school garden to use in taste testings throughout the school year.
- Selected students interacted with farmers during an internship for the Summer Farm to School Initiative. They assisted in setting up a pop-up market at the district’s Central Office.
- Goshen Elementary raised chickens and sold eggs each week. As part of a math lesson, students kept track of what was sold each week and purchased feed based on the profit.
Rockdale County Public Schools
- Community Partner UGA Extension facilitated taste tests of Georgia Grown strawberries, carrots, summer squash, cucumbers, watermelon, blueberries and cabbage. Students voted on their favorites and earned “Rainbow Taster” certificates for participating.
- The Rockdale School Nutrition Twitter account regularly tweets pictures of fresh, local food throughout the school year. Managers are encouraged to take pictures of their lines and bulletin boards to showcase best practices for the whole community to see.
- Davis Middle School integrates farm to school into the curriculum in various ways. Students always participate in the Georgia School Nutrition Association Art Contest.The research methods class explored the effectiveness of Rubbermaid FreshWorks containers at extending the shelf life of local produce.
Rome City Schools
- On Try It Tuesdays, Rome City Schools offered new items that students may not have been exposed to or items they are considering adding to the menu. Cafeteria managers socialize with the students as they hand out the items to gather feedback.
- On Tuesday mornings, each school’s morning show told the students about the taste test of the week.
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System
- The district celebrated October Farm to School Month and Kickin’ it with Kale by serving locally grown kale purchased from Sunrise Produce in a kale apple salad.
- At May Howard Elementary, social studies teachers grew peanuts with the students as part of history lessons on Georgia crops and food production.
- During social studies lessons, elementary students studied the topographical features of Georgia, such as soil types and features unique to the state that influence plant growth.
Scintilla Charter Academy
- Second graders learned how to grow food in small areas to address issues of limited space, water, and poor soil. Students started seedlings in grow bags, then placed them in a hydroponics system. Upon maturity, they harvested the produce for the cafeteria’s food program.
- Students selected Georgia-grown oranges, apples, and carrots to juice and taste test. They saved the pulp and, after learning about the benefits of compost, applied it to the garden as fertilizer.
- Students learned about growing and grafting pecan trees at Schroer Farms orchard. Then, they visited South Georgia Pecan Company where they got to weigh, measure, crack, and taste different types of pecans.
Stephens County School System
- Integrated curriculum lessons included exploration of farm careers, plant life cycles, and soil health.
- Students participated in various cooking activities throughout the year, including making homemade applesauce and pumpkin pie in a bag.
- The Future Farmers of America club at Stephens County High School hosted a spring plant sale out of their greenhouse. They sold bell peppers, roma tomatoes, and various flowers grown by the horticulture class.
Sumter County Schools
- Furlow Charter School partnered with Café Campesino create a special blend of organic coffee called “School Grounds.” Art students compete to have their art featured on the bag and the coffee is sold at Café Campesino, online, and at Furlow Charter School. A portion of the proceeds support the Furlow Charter School Art Program.
- Extension Agent Bill Starr of Fort Valley State University’s Life on the Farm Program visited students to discuss planting and harvesting vegetables.
- Americus-Sumter Future Farmers of America harvest and bottle honey as a fundraiser to help them attend different conventions.
Tift County Schools
- Students enjoy oranges from Randall Webb Farms and met one of the farmers.
- Teachers use farm to school to illustrate curriculum lessons, including how energy flows in a food chain, sorting plants into groups, observing cells, and plant parts.
- The district’s annual “Back to School with Farm to School” and “Children’s Farm Day” events allow community members, media representatives, and staff to tour the school and learn about garden and food based education.
Towns County Schools
- Locally grown products from farms, including Mercier Farms and Jaemor Farms, are offered in school meals. Elementary school students also visited Jaemor Farms twice.
- The county’s 21st Century afterschool program hosts a different cooking class activity for students each week.
- The district has a Cooking Class Administrator who teaches the children different recipes featuring local produce each week during cooking classes.
Treutlen County Schools
- FACS students competed in recipe contests that featured produce from school gardens.
- The school partners with Georgia Farm Bureau to bring farmers into classrooms and teach agriculture lessons.
- Students enjoy learning standards-based lessons through hands-on activities, including measuring and exploring the garden with a magnifying glass and harvesting and cooking produce from the school garden.
Valdosta City Schools
- Students brought produce from the school gardens into the lunch rooms. Nutrition staff trained students on how to clean, cut, chop, season, and cook to prepare tasty meals.
- With the help of in the district’s edible gardens. Science teachers, master gardeners, and volunteers instructed on aspects of gardening and farming throughout the school year with the help of Agricultural Extension Agent Joshua Dawson and UGA curriculum
- Each morning, elementary school announcements include the school menu and highlight the local and Georgia foods featured in the daily menus.
Walton County Schools
- Parents, community members, and staff are kept up to date on the gardens through a quarterly News from the Garden newsletter.
- Loganville Middle School held a student chef contest that challenged competitors to incorporate Georgia Grown ingredients into recipes.
- Students at Walker Park Elementary taste tested watermelon radishes on top of a tossed salad.
Warren County Public Schools
- The CTAE and the Nutrition Departments have an annual fall harvest parade. FFA members and the school marching band ceremoniously wheel the produce from the garden to the cafeteria. Community supporters, school board members, business partners, and parents are invited to the celebration.
- School gardens include a three station “tinker center” where students learn about sensory integration, mathematics, and engineering. These tinker spaces help students in all grade levels understand the garden’s mechanics before working in the garden.
- The Nutrition Department hosted and catered the Warren County Chamber and School Boards Association banquets. They featured fresh vegetables from the school gardens and presented on the school garden and farm to table program.
Wayne County School System
- Last year, 80 students went to the local farmers market where they planted their own seed to take home. They also received $2 each to purchase locally grown fruits or vegetables from local food vendors.
- Wayne County Extension and Wayne County Chamber of Commerce hosted a farm tour for the School Nutrition Managers. The Managers visited Southeastern Cotton Gin and Peanut, Boggy Creek Farms, Going Green Plant and Nursery, and FMR Burch Farms.
- The local radio station 105.5 FM announces the school menus each day and highlights locally grown items and local farms.
White County Schools
- 4-H students participate in lessons on soil fertility, insects and disease, environmental stresses, and commercial production. The students donated 150 lbs of their school garden produce to the White County Food Pantry.
- Business leaders from the White County Chamber of Commerce teach fourth grade students about the importance of agriculture in their local economy.
Wilcox County School System
- During a literacy focused family event, parents and students planted lima beans to take home and taste tested samples prepared by the nutrition staff.
- Students took field trips to several local farms, including Gibbs Farm, who grew fresh peas for the school lunch program.
- CTAE students grew cucumbers, green beans, squash, and tomatoes in a greenhouse and harvested the fresh vegetables for taste testing and classroom activities.
Wilkinson County Board of Education
- The District served nearly 300,000 meals with at least one locally grown item.
- Elementary school students planted herbs in milk cartons during an afterschool program.
- Parents and community members attended many farm to school themed events, including taste testing and school garden maintenance days.