Dr. Debra Morris, Queen of School Nutrition in Jackson County, introduced the Garden Princess during the recent Georgia Grown Jackson Strong event. The princess will visit and read about fruits and vegetables to the primary and elementary students while they sample locally grown products.
Georgia Grown Jackson Strong farm to school events kicked off with the year with a one day event where all twelve cafeterias in the school district serve lunch that was entirely grown in Georgia and most of it from Jackson County. The menu included chicken from Wayne Farms, Organic lettuce mix, tomatoes, and squash from Bouchard Farms, Romaine lettuce from Stone Creek Hydroponics, Tomatoes from Day Spring Farm, Zucchini from Moore & Porter and Southern Valley, Sweet potatoes from Coggins Farm, Honey from Peckerwood Bees and Peaches from Jaemor Farms.
Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black was on hand for the kick-off event and told students at East Jackson Elementary School, “Georgia students deserve the best and our farmers produce the best. This program is connecting the dots.” Prior to the assembly students participated in a fitness walk as they paraded their farmer and agricultural careers costumes. Students were joined in the parade by a number of mascots, including the Green Pea, Carrot Top, the Garden Princess, the East Jackson Eagle, Ms. Chicken, and Georgie from the Department of Agriculture. After an assembly, students had the chance to rotate to learning stations to meet farmers and participate in farming demonstrations. Livestock including pigs, cows, and chicks were on hand. Various pieces of farming equipment were on-site and students were able to see how they operated and to even climb inside a tractor to see how it works. Students were able explore how food is grown and how animals are raised in an effort to understand and connect with where their food comes from. By learning how a farm works, children experience the connection between social, ecological, and economic importance of agriculture in their lives.
“Georgia Grown, Jackson Strong” Day kicks off a series of Georgia Grown days for the district. Over the course of the 2014-2015 school year, students will enjoy lunches monthly featuring Georgia Grown products. Students were very excited about having the opportunity to participate in the day’s events. Many admitted they were surprised how much they enjoyed the fresh vegetables. This event gave us an opportunity to share with students what wonderful foods are available in their own back yards. “It is our goal to encourage students to have a yearning for farm fresh wholesome foods” says Queen Nutrition Director Morris.