ATLANTA, October 24, 2016
Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture, Public Health, Education and Georgia Organics came together under the prestigious Gold Dome for the annual Golden Radish Awards to celebrate incredible gains made in the farm to school movement. 53 school districts—nearly one-third of all public school districts in Georgia with a reach of over 1 million students—are now participating in farm to school programs and recognized through the Golden Radish Awards.
The Elbert County School District was recognized with the Golden Radish Award at the Gold level for their accomplishments during the 2015-2016 school year. Congratulations to School Nutrition Director Bridgette Matthews and Administrative Assistant Tina Hudson who led efforts for the school district that included:
- Local items were highlighted monthly in the Harvest of the Month program, including produce from Mountain Earth Farms in Clarkesville, grits from White County, and strawberries grown 20 miles from the district at Moon Farms. This program allows students to try that month’s selected produce in their classroom and in the cafeteria the day before it is served in the menu.
- Parents and community members were involved in farm to school activities throughout the year. Elbert County Middle School parents read “Who Grew My Soup” at Parent/Student Literacy Night and enjoyed minestrone soup that included collard greens grown in the Middle School garden.
- There are five edible school gardens throughout the district and produce harvested from the gardens were used for taste tests or in the cafeteria for school meals.
The Golden Radish Award publicly recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school, from local food procurement to hosting taste tests to gardening with students, and is awarded at Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Honorary Levels. Districts were evaluated on their work in ten different activities of farm to school.
State Superintendent Richard Woods emphasized the benefits of connecting education to Georgia’s largest industry. “Having access to fresh, farm to school meals is great for Georgia’s students,” said Woods. “Farm to school programs also connect students with agriculture, which is an enormously important industry for our state. We appreciate the Golden Radish Award because it recognizes those school districts that are striving every day to provide more farm to school meals.”