By: Marietta Daily Journal

Cobb County School District recently won Gold recognition at the 2018 Golden Radish Awards that took place at the Georgia Freight Depot. The Golden Radish Award publicly recognizes Georgia school districts for best practices in farm to school programs, such as local food procurement, exposing students to new foods through taste tests and incorporating gardening and cooking activities in curriculum.

“School gardens introduce new generations to the world of agriculture. They build a broader understanding of where our food comes from and what it takes to get it to the table, and they prepare future farmers to produce food innovatively, in ways that maximize resources and nurture our environment,” said Dr. Laura Perry Johnson, Associate Dean for UGA Extension at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Cobb County School District received kudos for their work. The district consistently serves over 1,000,000 pounds of locally grown produce per year. The Cobb County Farm Bureau collaborates with educators to lead farm to school activities in the district. Last year, beekeepers from Hometown Honey visited King Springs Elementary to teach students about honey.

Students also used school garden-grown produce for hands-on cooking activities, including making pepper jelly, herbed biscuits, school garden pizzas and preparing meals for STEM night.

“At the Georgia Department of Education we’re focused on expanding opportunities for Georgia’s kids, and farm to school is a perfect example of that,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “When students have access to fresh, local foods they’re better prepared to learn – and they can connect with Georgia agriculture, one of our state’s largest industries.”

Cobb County School District was one of 84 Georgia School Districts recognized at the awards. Collectively, these districts served more than 1.3 million students a whopping 109 million school meals with locally grown food items during the 2017-18 school year.

This year, Golden Radish partners including Georgia Organics, Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture, Education and Public Health, the Department of Early Care and Learning and University of Georgia Cooperative Extension (UGA Extension) awarded 17 new school districts and inaugurated five new Farm to School Innovation awards.