Golden Radish Awards Presented to 53 School Districts in Georgia

November 9, 2016

Fifty-three school districts in Georgia were presented with Golden Radish Awards celebrating the incredible gains made in the farm to school movement. These districts represent nearly one-third of all public school districts in Georgia, reaching more than 1 million students.

Presented by Georgia Organics and the Georgia Departments of Agriculture, Public Health and Education, the Golden Radish Awards publicly recognize school districts for all aspects of farm to school - from local food procurement, to hosting taste tests, to gardening with students.

Extraordinary work is being done in farm to school programs around the state. Dougherty County School System is training students to harvest, wash, and prep product from their teaching gardens for taste tests and to serve in the cafeteria. Elbert County School District is featuring local strawberries on the lunch line from a farm 20 miles away. Dade County Schools are utilizing experiential nutrition and garden-based education to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

“It is incredible to see the growth of farm to school programs in the last few years,” stated Alice Rolls, executive director of Georgia Organics. “Every day, children across our state are getting the opportunity to grow and taste Georgia food in school. I’m excited to see Georgia’s schools invest in Georgia farmers and in our children at the same time.”

Districts of all sizes are utilizing farm to school programs to teach academic standards in school gardens, support the local economy through local food purchases for school meals, and fight childhood obesity and other preventable, food-related diseases.

Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, noted the combined educational and long-term health benefits of farm to school.  

“Farm to school teaches our children the importance of food that helps bodies grow healthy and strong and food that promotes learning,” said Fitzgerald. “When children learn as early as possible where their food comes from, they are more likely to eat fresh, nutritious foods that will sustain healthy choices that spread to families and communities.”

During the 2015-2016 school year, school districts collectively:

  • Served 39 million school meals that included local food
  • Held 8,246 taste tests of fresh, local food to students
  • Taught 3,406 garden, food and nutrition lessons to students
  • Tended 575 edible school gardens
  • Hosted 1,935 hands-on cooking activities with students
  • Incorporated farm to school into 390 staff professional development opportunities
  • Championed and sustained district-wide policies or procedures into 29 schools districts

Georgia Organics has posted the 53 school districts honored for their farm to school milestones and that are recipients of the Golden Radish Awards. 

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