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Atlanta, Ga. (October 22, 2018) – 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 nearly half of Georgia school districts with outstanding farm to school programs. Eighty-four school districts, serving more than 1.3 million students in Georgia, are now participating in farm to school.  These districts served more than 109 million school meals with local food items during the 2017-18 school year.

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 – Georgia Organics, Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture (GDOA), Education (GaDOE), Public Health (GDPH), Early Care and Learning (DECAL) and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension (UGA Extension) presented an Outstanding District Award and five new awards to recognize farm to school innovation.

 

Carrollton City Schools received the 2018 Outstanding District Award for establishing a STEM focused farm to school model encompassing school gardening and an after school culinary club. Carrollton also served food from local farms during school meals and forged numerous community partnerships.

 

Warren County Public Schools received the inaugural Organic Radish Award from Georgia Organics. The Organic Radish Award was created to recognize school districts preparing future farmers to meet the ever growing market demand for certified organic and sustainably raised food. Warren received the distinction for teaching organic growing practices, incorporating certified organic growers in the agricultural education program, and sourcing certified organic food for school meals.

 

“Georgia Organics is delighted to recognize the innovative farm to school initiatives that prepare our future farmers for economic prosperity. We are proudly celebrating Certified Organic food procurement, the teaching of organic growing methods and the involvement of Certified Organic farmers in programs throughout the state,” said President and CEO of Georgia Organics Alice Rolls.

 

Warren County Public Schools also received the Outstanding Extension Farm to School Program Award from UGA Extension. UGA Extension established this award to honor the teaching of cutting edge agricultural techniques that prepare future farmers for leadership and prosperity. Warren County Public Schools received the Outstanding Extension Farm to School Program Award to recognize the comprehensive school garden plan, complete with harvest parade and three acre production garden, as a model for our state. Associate Dean for UGA Extension, Dr. Laura Perry Johnson commented; “School gardens introduce new generations to the world of agriculture. They build a broader understanding of where our food comes from and what it takes to get it to the table, and they prepare future farmers to produce food innovatively, in ways that maximize resources and nurture our environment.”

 

Additional 2018 Farm to School Innovation Awardees included:

 

  • GaDOE presented a Farm to School Farmer of the Year Award to farmer Lisa Dojan of Fisheads Aquaponics for her exemplary work with Georgia students.
  • DPH presented an Innovative Partnership Award to Clarke County School District for their partnerships with local restaurants, Americorps, UGA “Grow It, Know It”, UGA Extension, local farmers, and the local food bank.
  • GDA presented a Georgia Grown Award to educator Diana Cole from Barrow County.
  • Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) presented the inaugural Baby Golden Radish Award to the Bleckley County School District for creating an innovative and exemplary Farm to Early Care and Education Program that advances the learning and development of its Pre-K and Head Start students.

Georgia Organics has been a statewide leader in farm to school since 2007. Since then, communities across the state have embraced the benefits of bringing students and fresh, local food closer together.

During the 2017-2018 school year, Golden Radish school districts collectively:

  • Conducted 13,013 taste tests
  • Taught 61,297 standards based lessons
  • Tended 1,197 school gardens
  • Engaged students in 3,100 hands on cooking activities
  • Involved parents and community members in 8,875 farm to school activities

The 2017-18 school year was another record breaking year of farm to school growth in Georgia, and all participants were thrilled to celebrate at the Golden Radish Awards.

The 84 school systems being recognized are:

 

Outstanding District

Carrollton City School District

  • Carrollton City Schools provided over 220 total taste tests of over 80 different foods, 120 of those taste tests included locally grown foods and many of those included foods from the districts 27 school gardens; Trojan Grown foods.
  • The district procures produce from over 25 different local farmers through their distributor alone, 12 farmers are Georgia Farmers and include; Jaemor, Baker, Southern Valley, Moore & Porter, Hillside Gardens, Pero Farms, Genuine Georgia, Ken Corbitt, Southern Press & Pack, F&R Farms, L&M, L&R Farms.
  • Eight farmer interactions took place with farmer visits to the schools and with classes visiting a farm. Bryan Hager of Crager-Hager Farms visited classes to talk with students about organic farming.

 

Platinum

Baldwin County School District

  • Each Baldwin County school has a student-led Nutrition and Wellness Committee. Students interacted with school nutrition staff, toured kitchens, and learned what is involved in preparing school meals on a day to day basis.
  • The District surpassed its wellness policy goal of serving 20 percent Georgia Grown foods. During the school year, over 50 percent of the school menu was locally grown.
  • The District sourced organic hydroponic lettuce from farmer Jon Jackson of Comfort Farms for student taste tests. Farmer Jackson also supplied broccoli and collard greens for school lunch and helped establish and maintain school gardens.

 

Barrow County School System

  • A group of school staff, farmers, community leaders, and Barrow County Extension Agents created the Farm to School Booster Club to raise money and give grants to schools for garden projects. Over $5,000 was raised for school grants during the Farm to School Booster Club dinner.
  • School nutrition staff worked with Royal Food Service to offer Georgia Department of Education Nutrition Department’s Harvest of the Month items on the menus. Students were able to taste test local items like sweet potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, and green beans from farmers like Missy Crane of SonRise Farms.
  • Teachers incorporated farm to school into subjects across the curriculum. High school students learned about the agriculture and the Dust Bowl and elementary students calculated area and perimeter in the Statham Elementary school garden.

 

Bartow County School System

  • The District was recognized as a 2017 Georgia Grown System of Distinction by the Georgia Department of Agriculture for their Feed My School for a Week and Georgia Grown Test Kitchen programs.
  • The School Nutrition Department partnered with local Chef Chris Lyons of Table 20 to develop new recipes featuring local items and teach culinary students how to create a locally inspired menu with broccoli.
  • Community members from the Bartow County Extension Office, Bartow Master Gardener Association, Bartow County Farm Bureau, Georgia Highlands College, Keep Bartow Beautiful, and many more local associations and businesses help to maintain the District’s 15 edible gardens. Students learn gardening techniques directly from local farmers, for example at Clear Creek Elementary School a local farmer visits weekly to assist students with the aquaponic system.

 

Bleckley County School District

  • Pre-kindergarten students participated in a “Life on the Farm” Day. Students churned butter, explored the Fort Valley Extension animal exhibit, milled flour with a local farmer, took pictures with the Vidalia Onion Mascot, and planted seeds with Farm Bureau volunteers and the School Nutrition Department.
  • Bleckley County Learning Center and Bleckley County Elementary School received grants to expand and improve gardening programs and outdoor classrooms.
  • All grade levels participate in curriculum-based farm to school lessons. Second and third graders utilize the garden for all subject areas and the high school offers agriculture classes.

 

Burke County Public School System

  • Peas, collards, lettuce, whole wheat rolls, cornbread, and stone-ground grits are all local items and district favorites among students and staff. Anyone can easily find out what food is local on the menu that day with Burke’s own “Harvest Bright” branding for local foods. During the winter months, school employees can place orders for local produce that will be delivered to their school during the holidays.
  • Thirteen tower gardens were purchased last year so students could have continuous access to garden fresh foods right in the classroom. Taste tests turned into “harvest parties,” where the food was prepared in classrooms on the “Charlie Cart,” a mobile, hands-on cooking station.
  • A variety of partnerships have been the key to the success and expansion of farm to school at Burke County. These partnerships include Lisa Dojan of Fisheads Aquaponics, HealthMPowers, Tower Garden Representative Steven Lovell, the Farm to School Institute, Wholesome Wave Georgia, Southern Bank, Georgia Southern, and Augusta University.

 

Carrollton City Schools

  • Carrollton City Schools provided over 220 total taste tests of over 80 different foods, 120 of those taste tests included locally grown foods and many of those included foods from the districts 27 school gardens; Trojan Grown foods.
  • The district procures produce from over 25 different local farmers through their distributor alone, 12 farmers are Georgia Farmers and include; Jaemor, Baker, Southern Valley, Moore & Porter, Hillside Gardens, Pero Farms, Genuine Georgia, Ken Corbitt, Southern Press & Pack, F&R Farms, L&M, L&R Farms.
  • Eight farmer interactions took place with farmer visits to the schools and with classes visiting a farm. Bryan Hager of Crager-Hager Farms visited classes to talk with students about organic farming.

 

Cherokee County School District

  • Teachers county-wide 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.
  • Teachers, School Nutrition Program staff, and volunteers throughout Cherokee County have provided effort and financial resources to establish and maintain school gardens. Each of the 41 gardens is the result of a school-wide effort to foster learning and creativity among the students in an outdoor setting.
  • School Nutrition Managers at each school place weekly fresh produce orders through Royal Food Service to reduce their carbon footprint and have the freedom to choose fresh, local fruit and vegetable options each week.

 

Clarke County School District

  • Try-Day Friday was featured monthly in both elementary and middle schools, allowing students to sample locally grown foods that may be new or unfamiliar to them such as parsnips, kale, and acorn squash.
  • Clarke County School District hosted the 4th Annual School Lunch Challenge – a fun, educational event that engages the Athens community with the past, present, and future of the National School Lunch Program! The centerpiece of this event is a cooking competition which invites participating teams, drawn from local restaurants, non-profit organizations, and community groups, and advised by members of the Clarke County School District (CCSD), to create dishes in accordance with USDA guidelines for the National School Lunch Program. Attendees sampled the food and voted for a crowd favorite. A panel of CCSD student judges voted to determine an overall winner. The winning team’s plate will be incorporated into the CCSD school lunch menu during the 2018-2019 school year.
  • School staff participated in more than ten farm to school professional development training this year! During one training, teachers participated in a UGArden tour, a presentation on using garden-based learning, and a brainstorming session on integrating more garden-based learning into the classroom.

 

Dade County Schools

  • Farm to School is promoted through Family and Consumer Sciences, Food Science classes at Dade High School. The FACS classes grow and maintain an herb garden for use in their food production classes and also dry herbs. They test recipes and prepare food using both fresh and dried herbs from their garden.
  • Dade County agriculture students worked with the Senior Citizens Center to install and plant a garden for the residents!
  • The high school strategically planted flowers to assist with insect control and to attract pollinators. Students, teachers and parents recognized the pride and accomplishment in their students resulting from their garden experiences.

 

Effingham County Schools

  • The school district recently purchased Honey Ridge Plantation to use as a teaching farm. FFA students house their show animals here, agriculture mechanic classes use it for projects, vet science classes care for the animals, and district students visit for field trips. The site is being prepped for a production garden to provide locally grown produce to the school cafeterias.
  • Each year for October Farm to School Month, students have the opportunity to win a produce box from Heritage Organic Farm. Students enter by purchasing school lunch; one student from each school is awarded a box each week. 56 organic produce boxes are awarded in the month of October.
  • Art students painted a farm to school mural on one of the serving line walls at the high school.

 

Elbert County School District

  • ECSD Farm to school celebration activities include students dressing as farmers and rotating through nutrition education stations to taste Georgia Grown blueberries and strawberries, milk cows, grindstone grits, steer tractors and visit goats, lambs, honey bees, roosters and bunny rabbits
  • At Elbert County School District, farm to school has been incorporated into standards-based curriculum twenty times throughout the school year. Science teachers compared water, lemonade, and milk by shining a flashlight through the liquids. They explained the concept of “light” to students and what opaque means. The students then took what they learned in science and went to English and language arts and wrote a persuasive paper on which drink they thought was best.
  • School Nutrition collaborated with Agriculture, Environmental Science, Audio Visual and FFA students to produce Devil’s Dirt, a compost created from cafeteria food waste. Named for the Elbert County Blue Devils, Devil’s Dirt is used in school gardens and sold to the public as a fundraiser.

 

Fannin County School System

  • Fannin County conducted 165 taste tests with local items like lettuce, parsley, radishes, strawberries, peppers, broccoli, kale, carrots, green eggs and ham, apples, and even eggs from student-raised laying hens!
  • 76 edible gardens are spread throughout the five campuses! Every school has a garden and a greenhouse. A new, state of the art Agriculture and Environmental Science Facility will soon be available for use by all students and community members.
  • 40 high school students participated in a four-week food safety internship in with school nutrition staff. Students experienced a hands-on approach to learning food safety by working in the kitchens to help prepare food for students.

 

Fulton County Schools

  • Fulton County Schools utilized Georgia Grown test kitchen recipes 610 times! All 95 schools offered the Cowboy Caviar recipe in October and Georgia Grown Sautéed Collard Greens throughout the school year.
  • Thirty-six schools across the district collectively hosted 69 hands-on cooking and food activities throughout the school year. Activities included baking classes, kitchen tours, various food preparation as part of lesson plans, taste tests, Garden Club activities with food preparation, making smoothies, and Cooking Club activities.
  • All 95 School Nutrition Managers attended training sessions that included Farm to School!

 

Gainesville City School System

  • Gainesville Exploration Academy hosted a corn shucking relay, after which school nutrition staff cooked the corn for a student taste test. The following week, local corn was on the menu and served to the entire school.
  • Gardens in the district come in all shapes and sizes, including window boxes, raised beds, aeroponic systems, and even gardens grown in recycled water bottles!
  • School Nutrition has made it their mission to ensure Farm to School is manifested in everything they do, including using Royal Foodservice to procure watermelon from L & M farms, strawberries from Jaemor farms, hydro bibb lettuce from Stone Creek Hydroponics, and corn from Bainbridge. They also buy bread baked in Georgia from Bimbo Bakeries, chicken products from Proview Foods in Gainesville, and locally packed milk from Mayfield Dairy.

 

Henry County Schools

  • 40 of 50 Henry County Schools have edible school gardens for a total of 65 edible gardens! All 11 high schools have greenhouses, tower gardens, and some have aquaponics that is used for agriculture science classes.
  • A total of 132 taste tests took place in Henry County classrooms and cafeterias. Hampton Elementary Charter School brought in chefs and master gardeners for culinary activities where students made their own quiche with school garden-grown spinach and kale.
  • Students from Henry County Schools visited Southern Belle Farm for fall and springtime tours. This school year 57 visits were made to this local farm. The farm provides educational activities for visiting students including tours of the 330-acres,lessons in the outdoor classroom and demonstrations with farm equipment, crops, animals and more!

 

Jackson County Schools

  • School Nutrition’s Facebook page engaged the community in farm to school programming by sharing recipes that students had prepared and taste-tested. They also shared videos promoting their Harvest of the Month hydroponic lettuce salad, strawberry salsa and kale breakfast smoothie.
  • Students in Mrs. Curtis’s Food Science class participated in the Farm to School Student Chef Competition hosted by the Georgia Department of Education. Students won third place in the state with their spicy chicken wrap recipe that followed school nutrition guidelines and featured two Georgia Grown Items.
  • As an incentive for good behavior, students can earn a cooking lesson with FoodCorps Service Member, Ms. Gracelyn. Ms. Gracelyn works with the teachers at her service sites to provide fun cooking and gardening activities to engage students in trying new vegetables.

 

Laurens County Schools

  • Locally grown food was featured throughout Laurens County School’s breakfast and lunch menus 173 days, totaling 1,531,865 meals. In addition to locally grown produce, menu items such as blackberry smoothies, whole grain biscuits and rolls made from local wheat, cheese grits and cornbread made from locally ground corn were served to students throughout the year. Utilizing Georgia Grown Test Kitchen recipes allowed Laurens County School kitchens to explore and offer students more recipes featuring locally grown foods– especially proteins.
  • All Laurens County Schools have a school garden. 68 raised beds are utilized at eight schools; four greenhouses and numerous indoor edible teacher gardens spread across Laurens County Schools. 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.
  • Parents and community members participate in agriculture awareness days and assist with regular school field trips to farms and agricultural-rich locations throughout the school year. A total of 39 different farmers assisted in bringing agriculture education to Laurens County students this past school year.

 

Paulding County School District

  • The District hosted the second annual Iron Chef Competition and Junior Bake-Off. Students competed to create delicious recipes with Georgia Grown ingredients.
  • Parents are an integral part of the District’s farm to school program. They volunteer to help tend and harvest the gardens, serve as chaperones on farm field trips, host plant sale fundraisers,  and assist with taste tests featuring Georgia Grown ingredients.
  • Sleepy Hallow Farms visited several schools throughout the year. The farmers introduced fruit and vegetables through storytelling and hands-on activities.

 

Sumter County Schools

  • Parents and community members actively participated in the development and implementation of farm to school activities at Sumter. For instance, dignitaries visited campus to speak about the importance of agriculture and farm to school, and local organizations and businesses donated gardening equipment, seeds, and plants.
  • The Gifted Program at Furlow Charter School held monthly competitions where scholars prepared dishes based on the vegetable, fruit, or out of the month after a cooking demonstration introduced the ingredient of the month.
  • Teachers allowed students to participate in farm to school activities across curriculum areas throughout the year. Students utilized mathematical skills in measuring garden spaces, like calculating fertilizer requirements and charting the growth of their plants. In science, students learned about plant and animal growth cycles, climate, and how weather affects plant and growth and types of soil.

 

Tift County Schools

  • The Nutrition Director is a certified chef, and the District Superintendent and Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Director, who farm and raise animals. All staff continuously learn techniques to incorporate farm to school at their respective facilities, with ongoing professional training. School nutrition employees participated in Farm to School Culinary Training, where they engaged in the creation and preparation of dishes including locally grown items.
  • School staff presented at least 73 taste tests this year, including salad tastings with Kindergarteners for the first time.
  • Fifteen acres of land is owned by the school system to teach young farmers to plant, maintain and glen crops. Tift County also has a state of the art canning plant, where they process fresh green beans and tomatoes for homemade marinara sauce.

 

Valdosta City Schools

  • While the gardens of the Valdosta City Schools (VCS) began from the ashes of a school fire site, it became a community-wide project involving Master Gardeners, UGA Extension, VCS administrators, the United States Air Force and as many as 60 other community partners who contributed to the success of building the gardens.
  • All 5th-grade students took a field trip to Corbett Farms, where they experienced a field full of vegetables and a class lesson explaining the processes of plowing, planting, and harvesting.
  • Students worked alongside school nutrition staff who taught them the proper way to clean, cut, cook, and season freshly harvested produce to prepare the tastiest meals!

 

Warren County Public Schools

  • This year the high school agriculture and calculus students built a 3-station “Tinker Garden” where students of all ages can learn about sensory integration, mathematics, and garden engineering.
  • A recent expansion of the school garden included a 3 ½ acre production farm on the grounds of the high school. The goal of the production farm is to be a self-sustaining program, providing certified organic produce and fresh fruit to the school cafeteria within 5 years!
  • When FFA students harvest produce, they take a photo and display it on the doors to the dining hall so that students will see what they will be eating from the garden that day.

 

Gold

Atlanta Public Schools

  • The district collaborated with community partners, such as the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Captain Planet Foundation, Community Farmers Market, Georgia Grown, Georgia Organics, FoodCorps, the National Wildlife Foundation, Wholesome Wave Georgia, the Turnip Truck, and the Wylde Center to lead over 20 farm to school events for students.
  • The Student Wellness Ambassador (SWA) Leadership Academy hosted a “Just Grow” event for students to interact with farmers and explore hands-on gardening activities in the Parkside Elementary garden. SWA also hosted the Ace Jr. Chef Cooking Competition to encourage fourth and fifth-grade students to develop healthy and creative recipes with the assistance of local chefs.
  • The Fourth Annual Fruit and Veggie Land Farm to Table event engaged over 500 pre-kindergarten students across 37 sites in developing healthy bodies and minds with themed literature, costumed fruit and vegetable characters, healthy activities, and enjoying a vegetarian school meal.

 

City Schools of Decatur

  • Decatur Farm to School held their annual district-wide Fall and Spring Taste Tests with organic produce that was planted in eight of the nine school gardens by students, teachers, and Wylde Center Farm to School staff. They supplemented the garden harvest with Swiss chard and hakurei turnips from Crystal Organic Farms, purchased from The Turnip Truck.
  • Second graders at Oakhurst Elementary spent six days visiting Farmer Joe Reynolds and his staff at Love is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens.
  • Renfroe Middle School teacher, Krysta Johnson teaches a class for 6th, 7th and 8th graders called International Perspectives. Every week, her students work in the garden and utilize the food they grow to learn about cultures all over the world. Her classroom is outfitted with industrial sinks, prep tables, stoves and ovens, and several refrigerators. They also practice knife skills, using heat to cook, and how to maintain healthy soil systems and garden ecosystems to nourish our bodies and the Earth.

 

Clayton County Public Schools

  • Students are invited to the cafeteria where Nutrition Services staff educate them about Farm to School and fresh local produce. Cafeteria managers lead hands-on experiences; students prepare food and sample their work.
  • UGA Master Gardeners conduct hands-on gardening lessons with middle school students, starting in the classroom and then moving outside to the garden.
  • Twelve elementary schools participated in field trips to Southern Belle Farms where students enjoyed a hands-on experience with livestock, picked fresh strawberries and learned about milking practices on the farm.

 

Cobb County School District

  • The district consistently serves over 1,000,000 pounds of locally grown produce per year!
  • Cobb County Farm Bureau collaborates with educators to lead farm to school activities in the district. Last year, beekeepers from Hometown Honey visited King Springs Elementary to teach students about honey.
  • Students used school garden grown produce for hands-on cooking activities, including making pepper jelly, herbed biscuits, school garden pizzas, and preparing meals for STEM night.

 

Coweta County School System

  • 25 of the 29 schools have school gardens!
  • Locally grown food was served on the school menu 180 days, totalling 1,910,980 meals. Cafeteria managers even grow herbs in their cafeteria windows!
  • Cafeteria managers took pictures of the school garden and locally grown items and posted throughout the school to promote local lunch options. Principals made announcements encouraging students to be on the lookout for the pictures.

 

DeKalb County School District

  • Farm to School is listed among the highest priorities in the DCSD Wellness Policy as a strategy for achieving the goals of nutrition education, promotion and nutrition program integrity.
  • DeKalb County School Nutrition features locally grown food items daily basis for a total of 3,833,830 meals. Sourced from 29 partner farms through Royal Food Service, daily offerings are complemented by a “specialty Farm to School” item at least once a month.
  • There are 52 edible gardens within DeKalb County School District, which are maintained with all-natural pesticides and planted with non-GMO products. Gardening is incorporated into the STEM curriculum and used as an instructional tool.

 

Dougherty County School System

  • Students from 13 schools participated in taste tests of lunch menu items prepared with produce from the teaching gardens. Students observed the produce in the phases of planting, growing and harvesting before tasting the prepared recipe..
  • Local farmers visited schools on 14 occasions to teach students about growing vegetables and the importance of eating healthy while participating in nutrition education activities. Those farmers include Healthy Living Farm, Small Farmers Distribution Network, Southwest Georgia Project Inc., and City of Albany Master Gardener.
  • The school system added three and re-established ten teaching gardens, so all elementary schools have a teaching garden. Students grew and harvested scallions, collards, romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, and strawberries, which they incorporated into school meals.

 

Fayette County Public Schools

  • Spring Hill Elementary’s Jeff Eller is championing Fayette County School System’s Farm to School by coordinating community events and partnerships with the Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts, University of Georgia, and Georgia Organics. Recent activities include an expanded rain barrel system, a hydroponic growing system, an extension of the school garden and implementation of STEAM (Science. Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) curriculum school-wide.
  • An astonishing 425 hands-on cooking and food activities were made possible through a collaboration between teachers, school nutrition program managers, community members, master gardeners, teachers, and farmers!  An elementary school “Cooking Squad” met once per month to prepare food with a teacher, school nutrition manager, and community member.
  • Farm to School was integrated into 88 interdisciplinary lessons! Mrs. Osborne’s first grade made milk container greenhouses to grow pollinator-friendly flowers from seed.

 

Floyd County Schools

  • Elementary school students visited various farms during the school year including the Pumpkin Patch Farm, Cooper Creek Farm, LCCL Strawberry Farm, and Grace Farms where they took a hayride and learned how pumpkins grow, visited chickens and cows, and picked strawberries.
  • Students taking the Food and Nutrition course at Armuchee High School prepared a monthly lunch for the staff. Menu items included collard greens, coleslaw, pinto beans, cornbread, dessert, and other foods.
  • Floyd County conducted over 100 farm to school promotions! Johnson Elementary posted a photo of their salad plate on the school’s morning show announcements. The salad was made up mostly of local vegetables.

 

Gwinnett County Public Schools

  • All 132 district schools held at least three student taste tests per month using locally grown items.
  • Teachers integrated Farm to School topics into standards-based lesson plans 135 times. Topics include farming, edible crops, plant life cycle, and milking cows.
  • Each local school completed four in-service trainings with content directly related to Farm to School, totaling five-hundred and twenty-eight Farm to School trainings in the district.

Hart County Charter System

  • Innovative high school FFA students sprouted, transplanted, grew and sold school garden grown produce and flowers for a fundraiser last year. They sold the tomato plants and flowers throughout the community and school.
  • The North Hart STEM Lab hatched eggs in the incubator and cared for ten baby chicks who are now part of the North Hart family. Students designed and constructed a coop, and have plans to build a larger coop with nesting boxes this autumn.
  • The new college and career readiness academy at the high school hosted “Cooking Matters” cooking classes and invited parents and children of all ages from the community to participate. 12 classes focused on recipes and techniques that require few ingredients and are cost effective.

 

Marietta City Schools

  • Over 1,000 elementary school students sampled Garbanzo Bean Salad as part of October Farm to School Month’s Make Room for Legumes campaign. The students proclaimed the salad a hit and it is now a regular menu item at Marietta High School!
  • Sawyer Road Elementary students learned about colonial farming by growing a variety of herbs in the school garden. Lessons on the history of herbs in colonization included making butter in mason jars. Students seasoned and finished their butter with the garden grown herbs for a taste test.
  • Atlanta United, Georgia Organics, and FoodCorps Georgia hosted a Farm to School Day at Park Street Elementary. Third-grade students enjoyed painting and seeding kale in recycled milk cartons from the cafeteria. Four Atlanta United players ate lunch with students and talked to students about the importance of healthy eating. Atlanta United’s Executive Chef, Matt Finley, and team Goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, spoke to fifth-grade students about the role of nutrition in professional athletics.

 

Morgan County Charter School System

  • School Nutrition staff creatively engaged students with Harvest of the Month items. They highlighted the monthly local produce selection on menus and hung posters with information and trivia about the featured fruit or vegetable. Students had the opportunity to win the fresh, local products to take home and prepare with their parents.
  • Morgan County students made pizza from scratch, including planting tomatoes to create a homemade tomato sauce, making cheese to learn about bacteria, and baking bread to learn about yeast.
  • Farmers from the community ate lunch with primary school students during Agriculture Appreciation Week. Superintendent James Woodard, who is a farmer, also joined in the fun

 

Newton County Schools

  • A whopping total of 408 farm to school promotions were conducted over the year! In addition to cafeteria promotions, locally grown items were featured on the student announcements and two schools promoted fruit and vegetable consumption.
  • Heard Mixon Elementary School students grew their own cabbage plants as part of the science curriculum. Teachers from Mansfield Elementary School taught students how to shuck corn kernels and make popcorn!
  • The Farm Bureau partners with the Newton County School System to provide farm to school focused professional development for teachers and donate resources. Farm Bureau taught eight curriculum based lessons to over 90 teachers.

 

Rockdale County Public Schools

  • Rockdale County served local food every day of the school year, totaling 3,373,304 meals, plus prepared and served 2,400 meals over spring break.
  • The district is committed to year-round, quality education, and feeding hungry students. When the “Lunch Bus” pulls into neighborhoods for summer feedings, students receive delicious meals, parents learn more Rockdale schools, and trust is built with families.
  • The Culinary Arts Program at Rockdale Career Academy is the first and only secondary education program in the state named “Exemplary” by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation. Students in the program participate in hands-on activities in a commercial-grade kitchen each week of the school year. Students prepare gourmet food for many events in the district with delicious, local ingredients, including the Annual School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Banquet.

 

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

  • The Savannah Chatham County School System’s district wellness policy includes farm to school language encouraging teacher collaboration with the school nutrition program to utilize the cafeteria as a learning library.
  • Each month, across all 54 schools, a highlighted local food item was offered as a taste test, in addition to the item being on the menu. Managers were required to offer a taste test of the local item to all students who before they selected their meal.
  • The district has 20 schools with gardens that are regularly used to integrate farm to school concepts into the school curriculum. Some of the schools partner up, selling and swapping seeds with one another other to use in their school garden.

 

Treutlen County Schools

  • A school-wide farm day introduced students to local peanut, pine tree, and grape farmers. They also learned about apiary, or a collection of beehives, from a nearby farmer!
  • Gary Black, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visited toured the school’s cold frame hoop house. The single-school district has 16 edible gardens and several fruit trees!
  • A total of 8 hands-on cooking and food activities stretched across several grade levels. Students baked cookies using local flour, tasted blueberries, learned to clean green beans, made applesauce, used strawberries in smoothies and even conducted a cooking competition using kale grown in the school garden.

 

Trion City Schools

  • The district hosted a Spring-o-Mayo event, a combination of Earth Day and Cinco de Mayo, where students tasted pico de gallo made with cilantro, grown in the school’s community herb garden. A parent volunteer provided homemade tortilla chips and tortillas.
  • Farm Fresh Fridays kicked off in collaboration with all schools in the district. Students selected and cooked several recipes, highlighting corn as the chosen school garden grown vegetable. Taste-tests and surveys resulted in the winning recipe, pan roasted corn, to be added to the school lunch menu. Next year, a different fruit or vegetable will be featured and taste-tested each month!
  • The gardening club called the High School Green Team, planted and tasted many edible plants including, several citrus varieties, edible flowers, potatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and a wide variety of greens in the greenhouse, raised bed planters, recycled pallet garden, vertical wall garden, hydroponic tank, aquaponics tank, and community garden all part of the district’s new outdoor classroom area!

 

Wayne County School System

  • Locally grown strawberries from Sims Family Farm featured in “breakfast sushi” taste test and yogurt parfaits are now regular items on the breakfast menu.
  • Every third-grade student interacted with Farmer Jacob Noland at Noland Farm in Screven, Georgia. The local Farm Bureau, FFA, local farmers, Wayne County Extension Office, and School Nutrition Program, joined together to provide a two-day farm experience. Students toured Noland Farm, saw tractors in action, pet animals, learned the importance of proper nutrition, played educational games and took hayrides through the fields.
  • The STEM team at the high school installed a composter at the back of the cafeteria to utilize scraps from lunch and learn about the importance of composting.

 

 

Silver

Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School

  • Salad bars featured seasonal, organic produce grown at the school farm and purchased from local farms including Apple Wedge Packers, Atlanta Fresh Dairy, Big Branch Valley Farms, BJ Reece Orchards, Burge Organics, Calhoun Produce, Canewater Farm, The Common Market, Gravel Ridge Farms, Gum Creek Farm, Haynes Farm, R&G Farms, Red Earth Organic Farms, Riverview Farm, Rodgers Greens and Roots, Swanson Family Farm, Urban Sprout Farm, West Georgia Farmers Cooperative, and White Oak Pastures.
  • The Student Garden Club organized schoolwide “Farm Work Days” for parents, staff, and students to work in the garden once a month. The work days were advertised on social media and signs at the school.
  • An academic growth period class tended the school garden and used garden produce to learn knife skills, pasta making, and cook holiday recipes for the school.

 

Brantley County School System

  • Students in the Real Life 101 class planted, harvested, and prepared fresh vegetables from the school garden, toured a local farm, and even cooked meals for teachers throughout the school year.
  • During Feed My School Week, Representative Chad Nimmer visited the school to learn about farm to school activities and serving Georgia Grown items like Flowers Bakery bread, Mayfield Dairy milk, Pilgrim’s Pride chicken, Poview Foods, Scottlyn Sweet Pac, Trade Hill Farms, Dick and Jane Educational Snacks, Wainright and Sons, Jones and Church Farms, Southern Valley Farm, Nash Farms, L&M Farms, Boatright Farms, and Regenerate Blueberry Juice.
  • Agriculture education is taught throughout the district. High school automotive classes include lessons about the inner workings of farm machinery and elementary students observe plant growth and reproduction in science class.

 

Carroll County Schools

  • Roopville Elementary was awarded a Tanner Medical Center grant through which gave them a Kids in the Kitchen Cart from September to May. Each grade level (Pre-K-5) used the cart 2-3 times where students actually prepared the food!
  • Benny Lasseter, of Lasseter Cattle Farm, brought a tractor to Roopville Elementary for the students to learn, first hand, the many functions tractors play in helping to take care of his cattle farm.
  • Locally grown food was served on the school menu 180 days, totaling 2,628,863 meals. Some of those items include Mayfield Milk, Chicken, Beef, Pork, and produce from Royal Foods.

 

Columbia County School District

  • The Grovetown High School culinary class prepares and serves the faculty once per month. They also help prep for sports banquets, Board of Education meetings, a bus driver banquet, the Columbia County State of the Community Address, and chamber of commerce events.
  • The local Nutrition Association has a booth at two farmers markets in Harlem, Georgia where they share information on their programs and farm to school initiatives with the community.
  • There are a variety of school gardens including raised beds, greenhouses, tower gardens, and even a banana tree garden!

 

Douglas County School System

  • Two locally grown items were featured monthly from Fitzgerald Farm, North Hampton Growers, and Hillside Garden. Promotions took place in the cafeteria, on the website, and in student handouts including information about where the produce was grown complete with recipes!
  • All Elementary students taste tested locally grown peach smoothies, which earned a student satisfaction rating of 95% and were added to the next menu cycle. Students at Lithia Springs Elementary were so excited, they wrote thank you notes to the cafeteria staff!
  • Middle School students participated in 20 “Chopped Classes” where they competed in culinary skills events using locally grown items.

 

Forsyth County Schools

  • Locally grown food items were served on the school menu 102 times totaling 2,491,452 meals!
  • Farm to School promotional stickers highlight Georgia Grown items on the sneeze guard; they include information about the farm where the fresh produce was grown.
  • Nine elementary schools were provided with mobile classroom kitchens to conduct cooking classes. Each school used the cart at least twice throughout the year.

 

Lee County School System

  • Eight out of nine schools in the district have edible gardens, including raised beds, hydroponic systems, and greenhouses, and produce a variety of vegetables, herbs, and strawberries. One school even has a chicken coop!
  • Lee County Middle School-East offered breakfasts multiple times featuring sausage donated by Sunnyland Farms, milk and juice donated by Mayfield Dairy, and fresh eggs from the school’s chicken coop!
  • Students taste-tested a variety of foods including produce from their own school gardens. Lee County Primary School grew radishes and made horseradish butter that they enjoyed on crackers, and Kinchafoonee Primary School tasted school garden carrots in a carrot and raisin salad.

 

Lowndes County School District

  • Hahira Middle School’s Bee Club will harvest honey from their hives this fall. They partner with Wiregrass Technical College to study how weather impacts bee mites and honey production.
  • Pine Grove Middle School has an “edible forest” with satsumas, pomegranates, plums and peaches. They’ve even experimented with plant breeding through grafting tree limbs, growing peaches and plums on one tree!
  • Teachers in this district incorporate hands-on cooking activities into the curriculum in creative ways. Students have learned about different forms of matter through making pancakes, they have created tectonic plates using marshmallow cream and graham crackers, and they have created edible cell representations with fruit.

 

Lumpkin County School System

  • Lumpkin County is working to incorporate many types of agriculture into the curriculum, including beekeeping, poultry farming, dairy production, and apple growing. Students took a field trip to the coast where they learned about seafood and the local economic impact of fisheries!
  • An entomologist and meteorologist spoke to students about weather and bugs, and the impact they have on the growing season during “Old-Fashion Day.” The day emphasized the importance of agriculture in this region.
  • Growing on the Farm to School movement, the school district has started to incorporate agriculture as a way to teach STEAM initiatives to middle school students.

 

Madison County School District

  • The high school has a greenhouse and agriculture center where tomatoes are grown and sold as part of the ag-education career program. The agriculture curriculum includes edible growing!
  • During Feed my School Week, hyper-local food items were featured at IIa Elementary. Beef, Chicken, stone ground flour and cornmeal, honey, and veggies all were spotlighted! They served 1,696 students meals that all featured Georgia raised meats and produce.
  • Russ Moon of Moon Farms hosted field trips where students learned about farming strawberries and other crops. He taught students about the business of farming– they even got to see some cool equipment!

 

Muscogee County School District

  • The District served over 6.1 million meals featuring at least one local item. School menus featured daily local items from Southern Press and Packing of Blackshear, Moore & Porter Produce, Mercier Orchards, Bland Farms, Bimbo Bakeries, Herndon Farms, Dickey Farms, Mayfield Dairy, Proview Foods, Moore Farms, Bay Valley Foods, Tyson Foods, and Busy Bee Farms Midland.
  • Muscogee County 4-H members taught agriculture and gardening curriculum at 11 schools. Their “Farm to Fork Taste Test”, engaged students in discovering the crops and agricultural commodities grown in Georgia through activities and taste tests.
  • The first Wellness Networking Event was held with the District’s community partners, including UGA Extension, Georgia Organics, the Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers Association, and the USDA Southeast Regional Office. Principals, teachers, parents, wellness teams, and school district leaders were present to foster partnerships and plan wellness events with the community organizations.

 

Polk School District

  • Polk County Schools and Polk County Farm Bureau expanded the district’s STEM initiatives to include art (STEAM).  Farm to school themed essay and art contests were popular with high school and middle school students.
  • School staff visited Lovells Farms to learn about farm to school, farm equipment, and farm production through hands-on activities.
  • Polk students taste-tested fresh produce from the school gardens. Student favorites, such as fresh kale and steamed spinach, were sourced from local farmers and added to the lunch menu.

 

Toombs County Schools

  • The middle school agriculture classes have “Salad Parties” throughout the year using hydroponic lettuce grown in the classroom towers.
  • The school’s FFA hosted a “Farm Animal Day,” to show the different farm animals raised in Georgia.
  • The students planted collard greens in newly constructed raised beds. The greens were promoted through taste tests of sautéed collard greens and collard salad.

 

Bronze

Bibb County School District

  • The School Nutrition Department and educators led a “Day of Planting” for special education students. Students worked in teams to plant tomatoes, lettuce, bell peppers, and herbs in the school garden while exploring nature and making scientific observations.
  • Jenn and Gary Wilson of AF Farms helped the District with managing hydroponic gardens, creating curriculum-based activities for teachers, leading taste tests, and supplying local food for school meals.
  • During National Milk Day, students learned about dairy farming and nutrition while tasting varieties of milk from Mayfield Dairy. Southeast Region USDA Representatives read an agriculturally themed book to students and assisted with dairy themed crafts.

 

Buford City Schools

  • Buford Academy third grade classes learned about soil, measured plants as they grew, took observation notes and discussed different plant species found in and around Georgia.
  • Buford High School students visited Glo-Crest Dairy and Jaemore Farms, where students purchased items to make homemade salsa.
  • Local items were served almost every day for breakfast and lunch, adhering to the Buford City School Wellness Policy to procure local foods when available to support the farm to school program.

 

Butts County School System

  • Georgia Grown items are identified by a star on the menu next to each item that contains Georgia Grown products.
  • Daughtry Elementary School hosted a kindergarten farm to the school day. Area farmers visited to display farm equipment, animals and locally grown items.
  • Locally grown food was served on the school menu 165 days last year, totaling 304,921 breakfasts and 481,942 lunches.

 

Calhoun City School System

  • Locally grown food was served on the school menu 180 days, totaling 673,690 meals. Some of those items include Mayfield Milk, Goldkist Chicken and pre-sliced apples from Mercier Orchards that are served daily for breakfast or snack.
  • The Kinder-Cola program – a hands-on kindergarten environment, with a focus on technology and education– was supported by a school parent who is a farmer. She worked with the children at least 2 times per week and helped shop for plants to put in the garden.
  • Calhoun City School System served local products every day of the school year for a total of 673,690 meals!

 

Coffee County School System

  • Locally grown food was served on the school menu every day!
  • Elementary school students were invited to attend a cooking class on kitchen skills where they learned to make parfaits, pizza, and quesadillas. Each student went home with an easy recipe book and a basket of cooking tools, excited to cook for their families.
  • The School Nutrition Department, Principles, Walmart Distribution Managers, Farm Supply Company and the City of Douglas came together for the farm to school training.

 

Dalton Public Schools

  • Cafeteria staff partner with STEM and garden leaders to incorporate school garden grown produce in school meals and serving line displays so that the students see and taste the results of what they planted.
  • A food dehydrator is used to produce compost for Brookwood Elementary School’s garden, and soon will be marketed to the community as a fundraiser.
  • Second graders participate in a STEM project in which they research the most wasted vegetable in the fall and spring, then they plant those vegetables and each class finds a recipe for a recipe contest. Then a new plate waste trial is administered.

 

Dawson County School System

  • Dawson County High school students grew produce in a greenhouse that they sold to the community as a fundraiser and used in classroom culinary lessons.
  • Locally grown food was served on the school menu every day of the school year, totaling 334,345 meals.
  • Culinary Arts and CTAE pathway students help cafeteria staff by preparing locally grown fruits and vegetables to be consumed in the school cafeteria.

 

Dublin City Schools

  • CTAE students worked with School Nutrition staff to create a Southwestern Chicken and Mexican Rice with Georgia Peach Salsa as part of the Student Chef Competition. The dish featured Georgia Grown items and USDA commodities.
  • Students from Dublin High School visited Be at Peace Farm where they harvested and donated over 400 pounds of produce, including beets, greens, turnips to the needy. They were even able to sample some of the vegetables after pulling straight from the soil.
  • Locally grown food was served on the school menu 175 days, totaling 589,850 meals

 

Emanuel County School System

  • The School Nutrition Department partnered with Family Connections to offer Chopped Jr., a one week class that focuses on the basics of cooking, food safety, and nutrition. Students learn to use simple equipment and appliances to prepare healthy, nutritious meals that they can later duplicate in their homes.
  • Parents of Early Headstart students participated in mini Farmer Markets on four separate occasions, receiving $10 vouchers to supplement purchases of fresh, local produce from Farmer Pete.
  • Swainsboro Primary School conducts a “Farm Day” every year where students spend the day with farmers learning about farm animals, farm equipment and farm services. Representatives visited from EH Cattle Company, Southeast Dairy’s Mobile Dairy Classroom, chicken farmers, local beekeepers along with peanut and cotton exhibits. Canning and trapping demonstrations are conducted by community volunteers and taste tests of local cane and cane syrup are provided by the School Nutrition Department.

 

Glascock County School System

  • 38 Pre-K students tried and loved blueberries. Before the taste-test, some of the students did not even know what they were!
  • Students visited Steed Dairy where they toured the farm, heard from farmers about dairy farming and learned all about the farm animals.
  • Once a month, the cafeteria is decorated to promote farm to school activities!

 

Glynn County School System

  • Locally grown food items were on the menu every day of the school year, totaling 1,618,588 meals!  All Georgia Grown items are highlighted on breakfast and lunch menus with a leaf symbol.
  • The Glynn County Culinary Department is updating their wellness policy in order to incorporate more farm to school activities, including developing a farm to school committee comprised of culinary staff, teachers, students, and community members who can work together to implement and promote Glynn County’s farm to school initiative.
  • Glynn County School System collaborated with Canewater Farms, a USDA certified organic farm in Darien, Georgia. Canewater Farms generously donated enough fresh arugula for every school in the district to taste-test the leafy green!

 

Habersham County Schools

  • Holly Skinner ’s students made butter in a jar, cooked soup and prepared a pilgrim feast!
  • As part of School Nutrition In-Service Training, all 70 employees planted tomato seeds in a milk carton to grow at their school and made butter in a glass jar. The nutrition staff enjoyed this activity so much that they shared it with each of their schools.
  • Students in Habersham County enjoyed going to Jaemor Farm, in Alto, Georgia to learn about fruits and vegetables.

 

Hall County Schools

  • There are four edible gardens in Hall County Schools. The most established is used for “Gardens on Green”, where Master Gardeners teach second graders about planting and harvesting edible plants, composting, and nutrition.
  • Hall County Schools allow special needs students to work in the school nutrition kitchens as part of work-based learning programs. Students learn life skills such as planning food purchases, washing and bagging produce, and packing to-go containers of food.
  • There were locally grown food items listed on the school menu 115 days out of the year in Hall County Schools. Royal Produce and Samples Foods provide most of the local and Georgia Grown items, which were listed on the menu, posted on the school’s website, and sent home with parents.

 

Harris County School District

  • The Harris County High School AgriScience Department has a Chicken Processing Day when students, Future Farmers of America (FFA) members and Harris County Cattlemen’s Association, process and prepare locally raised chickens for the FFA Banquet.
  • New Mountain Hill Elementary School (NMHE) is only the sixth school in Georgia to receive STEAM certification, meaning it has met a rigorous set of criteria for education in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. NMHE has chosen agriculture as its area of emphasis as a lens to view how their studies are applied in the real world.
  • Local items were served every day, including Georgia Grown produce like apples, lettuce, and tomatoes from Quality Produce and Bi-City Produce.

 

Irwin County School System

  • Kindergarten students toured the High School CASE Farm; a 40-acre farm on the high school campus used for food production, tours, research plots, and other educational activities. Kindergarteners learned about crops the high schoolers grow and were able to see how students grind corn to make cornmeal and grits.
  • All fifth-grade students participate in Ag Day, hosted by the county’s high school students and featuring local farmers including Paulk Vineyards, Local chicken farmers, peanut growers, cotton growers, a local beekeeper, and the 4-H extension office. Students participated in a muscadine slush taste test and tried grits that were milled at their high school CASE Farm.
  • The majority of the items taste-tested by students were vegetables they grew in the school’s seven edible gardens. Students taste tested school garden-grown lettuce, spinach, cucumber, garden peas and grits.

 

Johnson County Schools

  • Farmer Pete Jackson, owner of Pete Jackson Farms in Midville, GA spoke to fourth graders about the process he follows to get his collard greens from his farm to the lunchroom tables. He brought along other vegetables for students to examine such as cabbage, sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, and squash.
  • Johnson County Elementary School Cafeteria Manager, Lisa Smith, and Assistant Manager, Vanessa Johnson hosted a peach slushy party with peaches from Jaemor Farm in Alto, GA. Pre-K teachers, Holly Foskey and Tammy Jordan encouraged students to use their five senses to enjoy the slushies while SNP Director  Redessa Crawford offered nutrition education on Georgia Grown peaches.
  • Five students were randomly chosen to work alongside food assistants in the cafeteria, one day a week for a month. Following food safety requirements, they had the opportunity to measure ingredients, prepare fruit cups, and deli plates. The students, proud of their work, were quick to speak as food assistant experts to their peers!

 

Lincoln County School District

  • Students compared fresh strawberries from Jaemor Farms to USDA frozen strawberries in a taste test. They could taste the difference and preferred the fresh, local strawberries!
  • Culinary arts students are very involved in hands-on cooking and have even prepared meals for their school’s sports banquets!
  • A banner in the school garden proudly displays their 2017 Golden Radish Award level.

 

Pickens County Schools

  • The District’s school nutrition staff attended a farm to school training that focused on sustainability, sourcing, recipes, culinary techniques, and promotion of locally grown foods. School staff built bulletin boards, created signage, and posted information about locally grown and produced items in the cafeteria and serving line.
  • All kindergarten, first grade, and second-grade teachers taught science lessons about growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs from seed. Students planted seeds in their classroom and monitored the growth throughout the school year. Students then harvested the herbs and the Cafeteria Manager incorporated them into a recipe.
  • Students from the District’s four elementary schools visited Cagle Dairy farms and Berry Patch Farms.

 

Richmond County School System

  • A parent volunteered his time to work with a group of 5th graders to construct a barn structure inside the entrance of the school during “Feed My School” week. He incorporated wood shop and math skills for the students to learn construction methods.
  • Twenty farm to school standards-based lessons were taught throughout the year including eating in season, S.T.E.M based garden learning, vegetable growth and recipe writing, chicken life cycle, and a lesson discussing the growth of and nutrition properties of pumpkins.
  • The district worked with many local farmers including, Lisa Dojan of Fisheads Aquaponic Lettuce. Not only did she supply many of the schools with her lettuce but she built relationships with cafeteria managers while taking the time to educate them on proper storage and preparation of her produce. She also presented multiple in-class education lessons to students and starter resources and materials to help high school students working with aquaponic projects.

 

Stephens County School System

  • Students went on numerous field trips to local farms and participated in hands-on learning activities while learning about farm animals, planting and harvesting.  The farms that helped make those learning experiences possible are Berry Acres, Blackberry Farmstead, Denver Downs, Jaemor Farms and Sorrells Christmas Tree Farm.
  • Various grade levels investigated pumpkins by measuring the diameter and height. Students then counted seeds and performed various experiments.
  • Toccoa Elementary hosted a “Farm Day,” and many local community members participated. Senator John Wilkinson was present for the event along with a beekeeper, and lots of farm animals including chickens, pigs, horses, goats, beef, and a dairy cow.

 

Wilkinson County Board of Education

  • Career Day highlighted food and agricultural careers with visits from Georgia Mobile Dairy Classroom, Edge’s Aquatic Services, Mr. and Mrs. Waller of the Agriculture Museum, Georgia Cotton Commission, Georgia Peanut Commission, Wilkinson County Extension, Peanut Picker Josh Howell, Comfort Farms, Farm Drone, Watershed, Farm Bureau and School Nutrition Director Judy Brown.
  • The Georgia Grown label was used to identify milk, bread, fresh fruit, vegetables, chicken and beef, totaling 276,067 meals throughout the school year.
  • Primary school students visited Lane Packing Co. Strawberry Patch where they learned about pollination of plants and picked strawberries. Middle school students visited Fort Valley State University Agriculture Department and the Aquaponics Garden.

 

Honorary

Dooly County School System

  • Locally grown food was served every day of the school year! Featured local items included: sliced cheese, sliced apples, black-eyed peas, green beans, milk, bread, watermelons, and chicken fajita meat.
  • Students visited farms five times throughout the year. First-grade students took a field trip to Jibb’s Farm, while special education, Kindergarten, second and third-grade students visited Calhoun Produce.
  • Each March, Dooly County School System hosts “Farm Day” so students learn the process of milking a cow, hear about the job of local farmers, find out which foods on their school menu are Georgia Grown, visit with the Watermelon Queen and Miss Georgia Peach Queen, and take home plants they had planted themselves.

 

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice

  • Locally grown foods were served every day, totaling to over 936,000 meals.
  • School menus are marked with a green leaf to promote local items, and some even came from the school’s own edible gardens.
  • Between two schools, there are many raised beds, garden plots, and a greenhouse, which yielded cabbage, collard greens, peppers, squash, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, watermelon, and strawberries.

 

Grady County Schools

  • Whigham Elementary cafeteria staff invited FFA students into the kitchen to wash, rinse and cut their garden harvest. Cafeteria staff then served it on the salad bar and made cute signs saying. “this produce was grown in your school garden!”
  • The district has three edible school gardens including greenhouses and raised beds. There are also two chicken coops, pigs, goats and even a pond used for fishing lessons.
  • Satsumas, grown in neighboring Decatur County are served every year before Christmas. A sign is placed on the serving line showing nutritional facts and the farmer’s name.

 

Griffin-Spalding County School System

  • In celebration of Dr. Suess’ birthday, School Nutrition staff prepared green eggs and ham using Georgia Grown eggs.
  • Georgia Grown Items were highlighted in green on the school menu. Locally grown food was featured on 150 days, totaling 1,050,000 locally grown meals served.
  • Moore Elementary nutrition staff, Karen Betz, made fried apple pies for students using apples purchased from a local farm.

 

Scintilla Charter Academy

  • Scintilla’s kindergarten class visited Georgia Olive Farms and learned about the growth, production, and benefits of the olive plant. A lesson taught the class about olives as a newly popular and versatile crop in Georgia.
  • The school has a new 75 tree orchard, and recently broke ground for a school garden! Second graders planted and tended to wildflowers and vegetables, and observed pollination.
  • A juicing demonstration and taste test took place during school breakfast. Students chose fresh fruits and vegetables, and watched them turn to juice right before their eyes. The leftover fruit pulp was added to the school’s chicken feed.

 

DODEA Americas Southeast District

  • An early frost inspired the student body to brainstorm ways to protect tomato and pepper plants later into the season. Students chose to make milk jug “blankies”. Kindergartners decorated the jugs and second graders covered the plants when a freeze warning was in effect.
  • At Stowers Elementary School, 282 community members, teachers, parents, students, and partners put in a whopping total of 365.5 hours to plan, construct, and plant an edible learning garden for all to enjoy.
  • Courageous taste-testers experienced the vegetables they planted, nurtured and harvested from the community garden. Many of the students had never picked or tasted fresh vegetables from the garden and were happy to discover that vegetables are good!

 

Union County Schools

  • Union County Middle School and School Nutrition Program hosted a “Farm to Table” event at their new Agriscience Center. They featured community farmers and local food with exclusively Georgia Grown food for lunch, including beef raised by one of their very own students!
  • They served locally grown food on their menu every day of the school year, totaling 338,220 meals!
  • The Middle School hosted the first ever recipe contest! Three students prepared family recipes that were tasted and ranked by a panel of judges.

 

Ware County School District

  • Locally grown food items were found on the menu at Ware County 80 days this year, totaling over 300,000 meals served throughout the school year.
  • Hydroponically grown lettuce purchased from Lane’s Bridge Lettuce is a favorite of the students, who notice the taste and quality difference from romaine lettuce served in the past. Cafeteria managers enjoy talking with the farmer during her weekly deliveries!
  • Through several school staff trainings, teachers and school nutrition staff learned ways to easily incorporate more health conscious activities, and ways to expand their current farm to school efforts.

 

Wilcox County Schools

  • 223,800 meals featured locally grown products like blueberries, strawberries, infused sunflower oils, chicken, eggs, beef, sausage, vegetables, and milk.
  • Students spent a week learning about chickens in an animal science class, and the school’s FFA toured the local Tyson Chicken House.
  • Students visited six local farms throughout the year, including Gibbs Farm, Schaapman’s Dairy, Clark’s Pecans, Copeland’s Strawberry Farm, Anna’s Garden, and Calhoun Produce where farmers demonstrated planting, growing, and harvesting.