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Coffee County School System Receives Golden Radish Award for Farm to School Accomplishments

 Donna Hendley, Sue Farmer, and Debbie Fender, Members of the Coffee County School Nutrition Department pictured with officials, receiving the Golden Radish Award
Donna Hendley, Sue Farmer, and Debbie Fender, Members of the Coffee County School Nutrition Department pictured with officials, receiving the Golden Radish Award

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.

Coffee County School System was recognized with the Golden Radish Award at the Honorary level for their accomplishments during the 2015-2016 school year, which include

- Locally grown foods were featured 178 days during the school year
- Students regularly enjoyed local cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and green bell peppers in their salad bar.

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.”

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.

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