SCSS receives honorary level in Golden Radish Awards

Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture, Education and Public Health, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and Georgia Organics came together at the historic Georgia Railroad Freight Depot to celebrate over 40 percent of Georgia school districts with outstanding farm to school programs.

Stephens County School System was recognized at the Honorary level for their commitment to farm to school during the 2016-17 school year, which is demonstrated by the school garden activities taking place.

Students at Toccoa Elementary School planted organic kale, chard, collard greens, cabbage, radishes, beets, and a variety of lettuces in their school garden with 24 raised beds.

The Golden Radish Award publicly recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school, from local food procurement to hosting taste tests and gardening with students.

This year, the Golden Radish partners awarded 26 new school districts and welcomed a new partner-UGA Extension.

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.

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black notes that while farm to school efforts support academic achievement, they also help build a strong agricultural economy.

Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D. champions healthy food access for children and supports farm to school efforts.

“The vitamins, minerals and health benefits from local fresh fruit and vegetables, not only allow our children to be physically healthy, but research has shown that healthy eating is also key to brain development,” said O’Neal. “Here in Georgia, we are leading the nation in identifying ways to increase early brain development, and healthy nutrition is an enormous part of that.”