WASHINGTON, D.C., June 3, 2015
Carrollton City Schools Recognized Nationally as Fresh Food Leader
Two students representing Carrollton Middle School participated in a White House event celebrating healthy fresh foods and salad bars as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.
Rising seventh-graders Nicholas Mansour and Sebastian Mason II visited the White House as ambassadors of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools sub-initiative of the Let’s Move! campaign. They spent the day harvesting vegetables that were used in dishes prepared by White House chefs, and talking with fellow students and First Lady Obama about how much they love salad bars at their school.
“I am a baseball player and I exercise and practice a couple of times a week. I can always tell a difference in my performance after eating fruits and vegetables verses eating fast foods,” says Mason. “The combination of lettuce and spinach [from the salad bar] is amazingly good as well as healthy.”
“When I eat salad rather than fast food, it makes me feel stronger, smarter, and more able to focus,” adds Mansour. “I have also noticed that students around me are making the choice to eat more salad.”
More than 13.9 million meals were served to students featuring fresh, local ingredients in Georgia during the academic year of 2012-2013, according to Georgia Organics, a statewide nonprofit connecting organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families.
In addition to Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, there are several other campaigns tackling the childhood obesity issue here in Georgia.
The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, in partnership with Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools and CBS Atlanta, donated salad bars to 15 Georgia schools, including Carrollton, in 2012. The salad bars in Carrollton have “allowed us to expand our daily vegetable options to our students and allowed us to feature something locally grown just about every day on our menu at this school,” says Director of School Nutrition for Carrollton City Schools Dr. Linette Dodson. “It has definitely increased the amount of vegetables being served.”
Carrollton Middle School participates in Georgia SHAPE, Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign against childhood obesity that aims to improve the health of young people by promoting healthy recipes, fitness activities, and 30 minutes of physical activity for Georgia students. As of May 22, more than 550 schools across the state have pledged to integrate more physical activity into the school day through Georgia SHAPE.
Carrollton City Schools is also a recipient of the Georgia Organics Golden Radish Award, an honor that recognizes school districts who are doing extraordinary work in farm to school, a movement to serve healthy meals in school cafeterias, offer food and gardening education, and improve student health.
Georgia Organics’ farm to school efforts, including the Golden Radish Award, has received major support from the James M. Cox Foundation, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, and the Zeist Foundation.
Carrollton was one of seven school systems that received the gold level of the award. In all, 30 school districts were honored last October at the state Capitol, where Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, and Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney presided over the ceremony.
All of these efforts may be paying off. A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August, 2013 showed Georgia’s overall childhood obesity rate fell from 14.8% to 13.2%, a statistically significant decrease, according to the CDC analysis.
“In our current out-of-sight food system, it’s easy to believe that food comes from the store,” says Georgia Organics Farm to School Director Erin Croom. “When kids have an opportunity to grow, prepare and try fresh, healthy foods, they are more likely to not just eat these foods – but love and ask for them at school and home. More Georgia students are meeting farmers and putting a face on their food, which is great for kids, as well as our farmers and communities.”
Georgia Organics Farm to School Director
Dr. Linette Dodson
Carrollton City Schools Director of School Nutrition