75 Georgia school districts earned accolades recently for their participating in farm-to-school programs.
The partnership between the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Georgia Organics, and the state’s agriculture, education, and public health departments teamed up to recgonized the schools with outstanding programs, with a combined total of more than 97 million school meals with local food items to more than one million students in the 2016-17 school year.
The Golden Radish Award publicly recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school, including :procuring local food, hosting taste tests and gardening with students.” This year, the Golden Radish partners awarded 26 new school districts not previously on the list and added the Extension Office at UGA as a partner.
“UGA Extension is so excited to promote healthy eating habits and incorporate Georgia’s great agricultural food products into our school lunchrooms,” Associate Dean for Extension Laura Perry Johnson in a press release. “This is a natural partnership that benefits us as well as the school kids who get to enjoy these tasty and nutritious products.”
According to the press release, “Agriculture and Natural Resources and Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agents, along with Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, work with teachers, parents, administrators and students across the state to build and maintain school gardens and farm-to-school programs.”
Districts do not have to be of certain size to participate in the farm-to-school program, but the program helps support the local economy and fight childhood obesity.
“Access to fresh, locally grown food is not just important for students’ physical health — it’s part of their academic development as well,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said about the program. “When children eat fresh, healthy meals, they have the fuel they need for a successful day of learning.”
Georgia Organics founded the state’s first farm-to-school program 10 years ago and has since added dozens of districts. More than 40% of the state school districts participate.
During the 2016-17 school year, Golden Radish school districts collectively:
- Served over 97 million meals that featured locally grown and raised foods.
- Conducted 8,204 taste tests.
- Taught 7,263 standards-based lessons.
- Tended 885 school gardens.
- Engaged students in 3,794 hands-on cooking activities.
- Involved parents and community members in 1,339 farm-to-school activities.
The 2016-17 school year was a record-breaking year of farm-to-school growth in Georgia, and participants were thrilled to celebrate at the Golden Radish Awards.
The 75 school systems being recognized are:
- Barrow County School System
- Carrollton City Schools
- Cherokee County School District
- Clarke County School District
- Fulton County Schools
- Jackson County Schools
- Laurens County Schools
- Sumter County Schools
- Tift County Schools
- Atlanta Public Schools
- Baldwin County School District
- Bartow County School System
- Bleckley County Schools
- Burke County Public Schools
- City Schools of Decatur
- Cobb County School District
- Columbia County School Nutrition
- Dougherty County School System
- Effingham County School System
- Elbert County School District
- Fannin County School System
- Fayette County Public Schools
- Gwinnett County Public Schools
- Habersham County Schools
- Hart County Schools
- Treutlen County Schools
- Henry County Schools
- Newton County Schools
- Warren County Public Schools
- Crawford County Schools
- DeKalb County School District
- Floyd County Schools
- Forsyth County Schools
- Gainesville City School System
- Madison County School District
- Paulding County School District
- Savannah-Chatham County Public School System
- Toombs County Schools
- Buford City Schools
- Carroll County Schools
- Coffee County School System
- Dade County Schools
- Dalton Public Schools
- Douglas County School System
- Lee County School System
- Marietta City Schools
- Mitchell County Schools
- Morgan County Charter School System
- Murray County Schools
- Muscogee County School District
- Richmond County
Valdosta City Nutrition Program
- White County
Worth County School District
- Banks County School System
- Butts County School System
- Calhoun City School System
- Clayton County Public Schools
- Dawson County School System
- Emanuel County School System
- Franklin County Schools
- Glascock County School System
- Haralson County Schools
- Hall County Schools
- Johnson County
- Lincoln County School District
- Lowndes County Honorary
- Lumpkin County School System
- Miller County Board of Education
- McIntosh County Schools
- Rockdale County Public Schools
- Stephens County
- Whitfield County Schools
- Wilkinson County Board of Education