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

Honorary Golden Radish Winners


ATLANTA, October 30, 2017- 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. Seventy-five school districts, serving more than one million students in Georgia, are now participating in farm to school.  These districts served more than 97 million school meals with local food items during the 2016-17 school year.


Emanuel County School System was recognized at the Honorary level for their accomplishments during the 2016-17 school year, including:

·         Hosting two "Farm Days", where the School Nutrition Department presented “Where in Georgia Are Our School Foods Grown" to primary and elementary students. Students took home seeds to take home to start gardens with. Students also talked to farmers, visited barns where they could pet goats, horses, cows and rabbits, sat on tractors and listened to high school FFA students explain how they work. Altamaha EMC joined by teaching students how they run power to all of the farms in the county.

·         Collaborating with Emanuel County Family Connections to host a Chopped Jr class. Swainsboro Elementary School students prepared healthy snacks using fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

·         Partnering with Georgia Farm Bureau to present "The Importance of Georgia's Specialty Crops" to Swainsboro Middle school students, who learned about specialty crops grown in Georgia and how they affect the state’s economy. Farm Bureau sponsored an essay writing contest on the topic with $50 given to the winner.


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. “UGA Extension is so excited to promote healthy eating habits and incorporate Georgia’s great agricultural food products into our school lunchrooms,” said Associate Dean for UGA Extension at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Laura Perry Johnson. “This is a natural partnership that benefits us as well as the school kids who get to enjoy these tasty and nutritious products.”


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. “Access to fresh, locally grown food is not just important for students’ physical health – it’s part of their academic development as well,” said State Superintendent Richard Woods. “When children eat fresh, healthy meals, they have the fuel they need for a successful day of learning.”


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. “Feed My School For a Week, Georgia Grown Test Kitchen and the Golden Radish Awards are all great ways for school nutrition to support Georgia producers, and we are excited as to what current and future award winners will accomplish as we work toward our 2020 Vision for School Nutrition in Georgia.”


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 Commissioner 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.”

Georgia Organics founded the state’s first farm to school program in 2007. Since then, communities across the state have embraced the benefits of bringing students and fresh, local food closer together.  “It’s astounding that over 40 percent of our school districts are actively involved in The Golden Radish Awards after only four years of establishing the program,” stated Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls. “This is an exciting trajectory given the great impact farm to school has had on child nutrition, farmer prosperity, rural development, local economies and public health.”

The 2016-17 school year was a record breaking year of farm to school growth in Georgia. The Golden Radish school districts collectively:

?        Served over 97 million meals that featured locally grown and raised foods

?        Conducted 8,204 taste tests

?        Taught 7,263 standards based lessons

?        Tended 885 school gardens

?        Engaged students in 3,794 hands on cooking activities

?        Involved parents and community members in 1,339 farm to school activities  


The 75 school systems being recognized are:


Platinum Level

Barrow County School System

Carrollton City Schools

Cherokee County School District

Clarke County School District

Fulton County Schools

Jackson County Schools

Laurens County Schools

Sumter County Schools

Tift County Schools


Gold Level


Atlanta Public Schools

Baldwin County School District

Bartow County School System

Bleckley County Schools

Burke County Public Schools

City Schools of Decatur

Cobb County School District

Columbia County School Nutrition

Dougherty County School System

Effingham County School System

Elbert County School District

Fannin County School System

Fayette County Public Schools

Gwinnett County Public Schools

Habersham County Schools

Hart County Schools

Treutlen County Schools 

Henry County Schools

Newton County Schools

Warren County Public Schools




Silver Level


Crawford County Schools

DeKalb County School District

Floyd County Schools

Forsyth County Schools

Gainesville City School System

Madison County School District

Paulding County School District

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Toombs County Schools


Bronze Level


Buford City Schools

Carroll County Schools

Coffee County School System

Dade County Schools

Dalton Public Schools

Douglas County School System

Lee County School System

Marietta City Schools

Mitchell County Schools

Morgan County Charter School System

Murray County Schools

Muscogee County School District

Richmond County

Valdosta City Nutrition Program

Wayne County

White County

Worth County School District




Banks County School System

Butts County School System

Calhoun City School System

Clayton County Public Schools

Dawson County School System

Emanuel County School System

Franklin County Schools

Glascock County School System

Haralson County Schools

Hall County Schools

Johnson County

Lincoln County School District

Lowndes County Honorary

Lumpkin County School System

Miller County Board of Education

McIntosh County Schools

Rockdale County Public Schools

Stephens County

Whitfield County Schools

Wilkinson County Board of Education

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