On Wednesday, November 15th, 20 professionals attended Northeast Georgia Farm to School’s School Nutrition Gathering at the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s Athens Branch. Attendees included school nutrition professionals, a UGA Ag Extension Agent, local farmers, a UGA researcher, employees of Georgia Organics as well as employees from the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia.
The gathering’s theme was local procurement. Kara LeClair, the Burke County’s Farm to School Dietitian, gave an outstanding presentation on Local Procurement in Burke County. Ms. LeClair shared Burke County’s Request for Quotes (RFQ) documents as well as Burke County’s list of products, volume and specifications for farmers interested in bidding for a contract with the school. Pamela LeFrois, an attendee and the School Nutrition Director in Barrow County called Ms. LeClair’s work “groundbreaking”. Stay tuned for links to Ms. LeClairs RQF documents.
Link to Kara LeClair’s presentation:
Links to RFQ documents:
Michael Wall, the Farmer Services Director at Georgia Organics, presented on the challenges that farmers face with working with school nutrition. James and Phillip Franklin of Wide Bottom Farms shared their experience with Farm to School, both the successes and inherent challenges.
Kenny Creel, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s Food Hub Manager, discussed the Food Hub at the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and the attendees helped Mr. Creel with ideas for how the Food Hub and the Food Hub’s Instant Quick Frozen (IQF) line could help with local procurement within school systems.
Finally, Cara-Lee Langston, The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s Teaching Kitchen Coordinator, demonstrated how to incorporating culinary herbs into cafeteria.
The gathering brought to gather many key players within the local food movement. Local procurement continues to be challenging but with some creativity, innovation and patience it certainly is possible!