Atlanta Public Schools (APS) won Gold recognition at the 2018 Golden Radish Awards, held on Monday, Oct. 22, 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.
APS received kudos for the following initiatives:
- The District collaborated with community partners, such as the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Captain Planet Foundation, Community Farmers Market, Georgia Grown, Georgia Organics, FoodCorps, the National Wildlife Foundation, Wholesome Wave Georgia, the Turnip Truck, and the Wylde Center to lead over 20 farm to school events for students.
- The Student Wellness Ambassador (SWA) Leadership Academy hosted a “Just Grow” event for students to interact with farmers and explore hands-on gardening activities in the Parkside Elementary garden. SWA also hosted the Ace Jr. Chef Cooking Competition to encourage fourth and fifth-grade students to develop healthy and creative recipes with the assistance of local chefs.
- The Fourth Annual Fruit and Veggie Land Farm to Table event engaged over 500 pre-kindergarten students across 37 sites in developing healthy bodies and minds with themed literature, costumed fruit and vegetable characters, healthy activities, and enjoying a vegetarian school meal.
APS 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, the 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) awarded 17 new school districts and inaugurated five new Farm to School Innovation awards.
- Georgia Organics presented an Organic Radish Award to Warren County Public Schools for including certified organic food in the meals program and teaching organic growing practices to students.
- GaDOE presented an award to farmer Lisa Dojan of Fisheads Aquaponics for her exemplary work with Georgia students.
- DPH presented an “Innovative Partnership” award to Clark County School District for their partnerships and programs with local restaurants, Americorps, UGA “Grow It, Know It” and UGA Extension, local farmers, and the local food bank.
- GDA presented a “Georgia Grown” award to teacher Diana Cole from Barrow County.
- UGA Extension presented the Outstanding Extension Farm to School Program Award to Warren County Public School to recognize the comprehensive school garden plan, complete with harvest parade and-3 acre production garden, a model for our state.
- Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) presented the inaugural Baby Golden Radish Award to the Bleckley County School District for creating an innovative and exemplary Farm to Early Care and Education Program that advances the learning and development of its Pre-K and Head Start students.