The School Nutrition Department of Valdosta City Schools was honored at the 2019 Golden Radish Awards Sept. 17 at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Valdosta City Schools was awarded a Gold for excellence in Farm to School.
Most notable farm to school achievements from the 2018-2019 school year include:
- Valdosta City School gardens are used for UGA research.
- Science teachers, master gardeners, and volunteers use Valdosta City School's edible gardens as classrooms. Together, they instruct students on gardening and farming throughout the school year.
- Valdosta City Schools’ menus are filled with Georgia and local grown foods every day.
According to Pam Boyd, director of school nutrition, Valdosta City Schools has nine out of 10 schools with edible gardens.
“It is exciting for our students to put seed in the ground, watch it grow, and reap the harvest. The produce they grow is served in the lunchroom, classroom or taken home by students. The farm-to-table initiative is working well in our school system,” said Mrs. Boyd.
The Golden Radish Award is given to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in Georgia who are doing extraordinary work in farm to school. This work includes 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. LEAs are recognized at five levels. Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze and Honorary Radishes are awarded to recognize LEAs with varying levels of farm to school programs.
Georgia Organics created the Golden Radish Awards in 2015 to raise awareness for Georgia’s emerging Farm to School programs and share the best practices among awardees. Georgia Organics’ chairs the Golden Radish Committee and facilitates the awards process annually to recognize Farm to School excellence across Georgia.
The Award is presented by Golden Radish partners (Georgia Organics, Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture (GDA), Education (GaDOE) and Public Health (GDPH), the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) and University of Georgia Cooperative Extension (UGA Extension).
Valdosta City Schools are among 90 Georgia school districts to be recognized at the 2019 Golden Radish Awards. Collectively, these districts served over 2 million meals featuring local food and tended 4,646 school gardens while conducting 4,432 hands-on food and gardening activities.