Northeast Georgia Schools Honored
at State Capitol for
Farm to School Achievements
Commerce City, Habersham, Hall, Jackson and Rabun County Schools were recognized with the Golden Radish Award, a prestigious state-wide farm to school distinction which acknowledges the outstanding leadership of school representatives building comprehensive farm to school programs.
These school districts were one of 30 honored at the state capitol for this extraordinary work by State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, and Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney.
The Counties were recognized for their accomplishments during the last school year, which include:
- Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 34 times. All schools purchased local produce at least weekly.
- There are four schools in the district with edible gardens, including Wilbanks Middle School, which has its own fruit orchard.
- Teachers incorporated farm to school into their curriculum through 14 lessons, including four specifically in agriculture education.
School districts across Georgia are using farm to school programs to teach core curriculum, support their local economies, fight obesity and other preventable, food-related diseases, and increase the amount of local food they serve to their students.
“When children are offered fresh, locally sourced foods, they are more prepared for learning today, and more likely to continue healthy habits tomorrow,” said Dr. Barge. “At the same time, their school is supporting local agriculture, which has been and will continue to be an anchor of Georgia’s economy. It’s a positive thing from so many angles.”
“With these great farm to school programs, including our Feed My School for a Week program, students discover the role agriculture plays in their daily lives,” said Commissioner Black. “These programs not only provide children more healthy alternatives and promote local producers, but also bring communities together for a great cause.”
“Poor nutrition can cause health problems, overweight and obesity,” said Dr. Fitzgerald. “Half or more of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, and farm to school programs have been shown to increase student consumption of these foods. The Georgia Department of Public Health has been a long-time partner and supporter of Georgia’s farm to school efforts and we’re pleased to see the movement’s leaders recognized today.”
“We are so proud of the school district leaders being recognized through the Golden Radish Award,” said Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney. “In reviewing the applications, it’s clear that farm to school programs are popping up all over Georgia, and that Georgia school districts are committed to continuing to grow and support thriving programs.”
The award publicly recognizes and honors school districts for their hard work in the variety of farm to school programs they offer students.