The Cobb County School District continues to receive praise and recognition for its emphasis on farm to school nutrition.
State officials honored the district with a Golden Radish Award during at a ceremony at the state capitol for accomplishments during the 2015-2016 school year, which include:
- Using 34 mobile kitchen carts throughout the district to conduct live cooking demonstrations with students. The School Nutrition Department developed a curriculum to connect cooking with the classroom and students participated in over 60 hands on cooking and food activities.
- Having over 30 school gardens, ranging from raised beds to aquaponic and hydroponic gardens.
- The School Nutrition Program served over 1 million pounds of local food and students had the opportunity to taste test a variety of fresh, locally grown food 73 times.
“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.”
The award is given jointly by Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Public Health and Georgia Organics.
Kelley Toon, CCSD Food and Nutrition Services, represented the district during the ceremony, along with Jill Vestal, CCSD Senior Executive Director of Business Services and Donna Lowry, CCSD Director of Communications.
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.”
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.”
The review committee recognized the district for its many edible gardens, mobile cooking carts and farm-to-school-themed bulletin boards.
Kelley Toon, CCSD Food and Nutrition Services represented the district during the ceremony, along with Jill Vestal, CCSD Senior Executive Director of Business Services and Donna Lowry, CCSD Director of Communications.
The award was presented by State School Superintendent Richard Woods, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald and Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls.