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Habersham County Wins Golden Radish Award from the State
Posted On:
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
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Photo cutline: pictured left to right Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, State School Superintendent Richard Woods, Habersham County School Nutrition Director Andrea Thomas, FoodCorps Georgia Service Member Susie Burton, Principal Darlene Hudson, Principal Amy McCurdy, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, and Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls

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Habersham County Schools Receives Golden Radish Award for Farm to School Accomplishments

 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.

 

Habersham County Schools was recognized with the Golden Radish Award at the Gold level for their accomplishments during the 2015-2016 school year, which include:

·         Ten schools have school gardens which range from classroom containers to raised beds to greenhouses.

·         To learn about farming first-hand, students went on farm field trips to Hillside Orchard Farms, Jaemor Farm, Chattooga Bellle Farm, and Melon Head Farm. 

·         In partnership with the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, a FoodCorps service member supported school gardens and nutrition education in several schools.  FoodCorps is a national team of AmeriCorps leaders who serve in high-need schools to make sure students learn what healthy food is, fall in love with it, and eat it every day.  

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. 

 “It is incredible to see the growth of farm to school programs in the last few years,” stated Alice Rolls, Georgia Organics Executive Director.  “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.

 

“Our ultimate goal here at the department is for communities to take ownership of their school cafeterias, similarly to how we all push for excellence in the classroom, the arts, and athletics,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “We are proud to have so many Georgia Grown Feed My School participants recognized here today and are excited as to what current and future Golden Radish Award winners will accomplish as we work toward our 2020 Vision for School Nutrition in Georgia.”

 

State Superintendent Richard Woods agreed with Commissioner Black, emphasizing 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.”

 

To top it off, 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

Needless to say, the 2015-16 school year was a banner year for farm to school in Georgia, and all participants were thrilled to celebrate at the Golden Radish Awards.

The 53 school systems being recognized are:

Gold Level

Atlanta Public Schools

Barrow County School System

Bibb County School District

Bleckley County School District

Burke County Public School System

Carrollton City Schools

Cherokee County School District

City Schools of Decatur

Clarke County School District

Dougherty County School System

Elbert County School District

Fannin County School System

Fulton County Schools

Gwinnett County Public Schools

Habersham County Schools

Jackson County Schools

Laurens County Schools

Sumter County Schools

Tift County Schools

 

Silver Level

Bartow County School System

Cobb County School District

Effingham County Schools

Fayette County Public Schools

Forsyth County Schools

Hart County Schools

Newton County Schools

Rabun County Schools

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Treutlen County Schools

 

Bronze Level

Brantley County School District

Commerce City Schools

Dade County Schools

DeKalb County School District

Gainesville City School System

Madison County School District

Marietta City Schools

Paulding County School District

Warren County Public Schools

Toombs County Schools

 

Honorary Level

Buford City Schools

Cartersville City School District

Coffee County School System

Columbia County School District

Crisp County School System

Dalton Public Schools

Franklin County Schools

Hall County Schools

Henry County Schools

Lee County School District

Morgan County Charter School System

Muscogee County School District

Ware County Schools

Worth County Schools

 

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