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Georgia Organics Blog by Georgia Organics - 16h ago

What’s new with Golden Radish?  

By Myeisha Coggins, Kimberly Della Donna and Kimberly Koogler  

The Farm to School team is bouncing happily into Golden Radish season this spring. We are excited to welcome two new additions to the program. First, we are delighted to introduce you to our new intern, Myeisha Coggins.  

____________________________________________________________________________________ 

Hello I’m Myeisha! 

Last year, I graduated from Georgia State University with a B.S. in Nutrition Sciences. There are many things that I want to do and experience: research, curriculum development, program management, and dietetics. 

This is particularly why I am excited to intern with Georgia Organics. I get to participate in state-wide (and nation-wide) efforts to get school kids eating local and organic vegetables from local farms and, perhaps, out of their own school gardens. It is a unique organization that manages a unique nutrition intervention that involves the promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption while supporting local farmers and the local food economy. I am particularly interested in learning about how teachers incorporate F2S themes into their curriculum and how the program is organized and maintained throughout the year.  

When I first heard of Golden Radish, for some reason I assumed that it included a buffet of local, organic and potentially heirloom vegetables and grains. While I was wrong, the idea wasn’t too farfetched since there is local food served. The Golden Radish awards is actually a brilliant idea in my opinion: a fun way to encourage school nutrition directors and school staff to participate while making an impact that could last generations. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________Secondly, we are thrilled to introduce our new Golden Radish Award Application platform. We launched the application on April 15. So far we’ve heard very positive feedback on the improved form. Farm to School Superstar, Emily House in Gainesville told us “I love the new format!  It is a lot easier than keeping up with links, and I have not had any trouble picking up where I left off.” 

Farm to School Coordinator Kimberly Koogler is stoked about the new application for many reasons. First , no more save and return links! The application form auto-saves as you fill it out, and you don’t need a special link to get back into it! Also, nobody needs to worry about waiting to upload their supporting documents until they’re ready to submit, or sending in their documents separately, or losing all of their work!  

Georgia Organics Farm to School Director Kimberly Della Donna is especially excited that the new Golden Radish Award application allows for multiple collaborators in a district to contribute to one application. “We know that the best Farm to School programs involve the entire school community. While school nutrition staff is responsible for completing the application, classroom teachers, students and community members are often involved with Farm to School activities outside of school nutrition. This new application allows school nutrition staff to invite Farm to School champions in their district to enter information and upload supporting documentation to the application. I hope it will take the entire burden of the application off school nutrition staff and encourage even more collaborations with school nutrition departments.” 

The new application form has been such a big hit, even Winnie-the-Pooh is submitting a 2019 Golden Radish Award Application for The Hundred Acre Wood. 

The post Catch up with Golden Radish! appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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Georgia Farmers Markets Executive Director Sagdrina Jalal speaking to audience with event host Educator Rachel Willis.

by Angel Mills

For cities around the country, May 19 is a day to commemorate civil rights leader Malcolm X. Though Atlanta has not officially adopted the holiday, many local residents still recognize the day and Malcolm X’s legacy with thoughtful and educational programming for local community members. Vegan chef and Kings Apron founder Chef Zu (Elija Lee) thought it was important that he honor Malcolm X by hosting his  “Living Color” Racial Equity Dialogue Dinner on May 19.

Chef Zu said it was important for him to host the event because, “Not having racial equity within our food system correlates to whether or not we can obtain sustainable optimal health.” The Living Color Racial Equity Dialogue Dinner took place at Generator and focused on creating a safe space for sharing innovative and creative ideas around how farmers, food workers, chefs, restaurants, local food initiatives and food & farming non-profits can best deal with racial inequities in the workspace. (Source: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/living-color-racial-equity-dialogue-dinner-tickets-58588694362#)

“Generator’s mission is to bring people together to generate ideas that shape the future of cities.” said Generator Executive Director Heather Infantry. “Our ability to achieve better outcomes for everyone, we believe, begins first with how well we see one another and build authentic relationships. When Chef Zu approached us with his idea for the dinner, we felt an immediate alignment and wanted to support this bold effort to create space for candid conversation about race and racism.”

Attendees purchased tickets based upon an equitable ticket pricing model. Ticket prices reflected gender, race, ethnicity wage gap, and gender inequity. Ticket types were Farmers & Food Workers, Women of Color, Men of Color, White/Asian Women, and White/Asian Men.

Attendees enjoyed a delicious five course plant-based meal while participating in group discussion with their respective table members. Discussion topics concerned racial inequity, language, next steps for addressing racial disparity in our respective work.

Food Corps Program Manager Sumer Ladd said the following about her experience.

“I am leaving committed to speaking up and calling out when I see the ways that white supremacy shows up in food-based nonprofits and the way I do my own work. We need to be more critical of our work and the way we do things and really ask ourselves if we are just writing grants and starting programs that in turn fail the people we claim we aim to support when it comes time to asking for more funding.

 Are we operating in the same ways that the white supremacist systems we claim we want to dismantle operate? I’ve sat through countless racial equity/food justice conversations in the Atlanta food scene, and we always walk away saying we’re excited to continue the conversation and then we go back to our offices operating the way we always have. We can show up to all the racial equity conversations and “diversify” our staff all we want, but it’s meaningless if the way we do our work is reinforcing the same systems of white supremacy that caused all of our issues to begin with. The conversation at my table helped me remember to not take for granted my privilege of being a decision maker in my role, actually listen to and be receptive of criticism, and make changes accordingly.”

All attendees were sent a racial equity toolkit to assist in achieving their racial equity objectives. Click HERE to read it.

The post A Seat at the Table: Living Color Racial Equity Dialogue Dinner appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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Augusta –

    • Among the projects that received GFO support in Augusta were an urban ag bootcamp, a youth life-skills program, and a composting project that takes invasive weeds growing in the Augusta canal and turns them into nutrient-rich soil that can be used by growers and farms in the community. This year, mini-grants awarded to Augusta Locally Grown and Soul + Soil kicked off two public engagement campaigns which provide fun, educational, and hands-on space for the community to learn and discover new ways to experience food.
    • Check out this article from the Augusta Chronicle on GFO partner and food champion Augusta Locally Grown: https://www.augustachronicle.com/news/20190517/vineyard-church-augusta-locally-grown-tend-garden-for-those-in-need

Columbus –

    • Columbus Food Oasis initiatives ranged from creating a community garden map, to building a fruit orchard on an abandoned plot of land, to starting a bi-weekly farmers market that saw $1500 in SNAP redemption and doubling in its first season. Columbus continues to build on this success as this year the market plans to implement an on-site micro-farm and incorporate patient dietary education, and the fruit orchard was awarded a grant to beautify and improve the surrounding property. Also, be on the lookout for details about the Columbus fruit tree sale planned for September 2019.
    • Check out this article from Ledger-Inquirer on one of Columbus Food Oasis biggest success stories of 2018: https://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/local/article229986184.html

Atlanta –

    • The Fresh MARTA Market is entering its fifth season of operation, and is now hosted at five MARTA stations around the city. The market has enjoyed steady growth and is becoming a model for other cities who are looking to implement similar food access solutions in their communities. Atlanta Food Oasis also recently began a partnership with the Georgia Department of Corrections and Trellis Horticultural Therapy to teach gardening and life skills to women living in transitional housing.
    • Check out this article from the Atlanta Business Chronicle on how the Fresh MARTA Markets are bringing healthy food access to riders and their communities: https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2019/04/22/fresh-marta-markets-reopening-this-week.html

The post LATEST NEWS FROM THE GFO PILOT COMMUNITIES appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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Georgia Organics Blog by Georgia Organics - 21h ago

The USDA recently released several RFPs related to food access strategies. Technical assistance is available to members of the GFO Network should they decide to submit a proposal for any of the below funding opportunities.

  1. Community Food Projects: due June 3
  • Intended as a one-time infusion of funds to solidify a community food project that can then sustain itself. Uniquely these funds can be put toward capital improvements such as facilities restoration/adaption.
  • New Entry offers up to 5 hours of technical assistance. Sign-up for TA for applications here: http://www.tfaforms.com/353032.
  • CFP Applicant Levels:
    • CFP Planning Grant: for 1 year with max request of $35K, must be wholly new project, not piloted previously.
    • CFP Implementation Grant: for up to 4 years, $125K max per year, not to exceed $400K total.
  1. Food and Agriculture Service Learning Projects: due July 9
  • Intended to help Farm to School initiatives expand or scale up programming over cluster of schools, district, or region for experienced F2S applicants.
  • Applicant webinar on June 4, 2pm Eastern.
  • Implementation Grant: up to 2 years, not to exceed $225K total.
  1. Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program or GusNIP (formerly Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program/FINI): due June 10
  • Intended to increase the purchase and consumption of fruits/veg for consumers enrolled in SNAP by providing point of purchase incentive(s) (doubling SNAP dollars at retail and farmers markets, CSAs, prescription programs).
  • Applicant webinar on May 15, 2pm Eastern.
  • GusNIP Applicant Levels: (strange acronyms, 5 levels of funding)
    • GusNIP Pilot Projects (FPP): up to 1 year, max $100K, has to be a first-time project/early stage initiative.
    • GusNIP Implementation Projects (FIP): up to 4 years, max $500K request, geared to assist in program development and evaluation (can be established initiative).
    • Large Scale (FLSP): up to 4 years, max $500K request, geared to assist multi-county, state-wide or regional incentive program.
    • Produce Prescriptions (PPR): up to 3 years, max $500K, geared to assist multi-county, state-wide or regional PPR that’s partnering with 1 or more healthcare partner(s).
    • Nutrition Incentive Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Centers (Centers): up to 4 years, TBD on individual requests $100-125K/year safe range. Geared to ‘centers’ that provide services to GusNIP grantees related to training, TA, and evaluation.
  1. Local Food Promotion Program: due June 18
  • Intended to support the development and expansion of local and regional food enterprises to increase consumption and access to local food, and to develop new market opportunities for farm operations serving local markets.
  • LFPP Planning Grant: 1 year, $25K-100K
  • LFPP Implementation Grant: up to 4 years, $100-500K
  1. Farmers Market Promotion Program: due June 18
  • Intended to support the development, coordination, and expansion of direct-producer-to consumer markets to help increase access and availability to locally and regionally produced agricultural products.
  • Farmers Market Coalition Advice and Guidance available.
  • Min $50K Max $500K, minimum 25% match required.
  • Food Policy Councils now eligible
  • Applicants can use up to $6,500 to upgrade equipment to improve food safety

The post NEW USDA GRANT OPPORTUNITIES appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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After a three-year pilot, Georgia Food Oasis is excited to move into its next phase with the launch of the GFO Network! The Georgia Food Oasis Network seeks to elevate and connect pioneering communities across the state who are engaged in the vital work of growing local food access in their neighborhoods. Along with our three pilot communities, we’re also excited to announce the addition of five new Georgia communities to the growing network of good food champions across the state:

  • Rome/Floyd Co.
    Lead organization: The William S. Davies Homeless Shelter
    • The Davies Shelter is developing two major good food projects in partnership with other organizations this year. The first is a 2-acre Community Farm in partnership with South Rome Redevelopment Corporation, the City of Rome, Rome Action Ministries, and the ECO Center. The second program is the Farm Bus, donated by St. Mary’s Catholic School and converted into a mobile farmers market by students at Berry College’s Creative Innovations Lab.

  • Waycross/Ware Co.
    Lead organization: Waygreen Homestead Guild
    • Waygreen works with and supports local farmers to offer fresh, local sustainable foods year round through an online market and seasonal local fare market that attracts over 600 shoppers May-November. Through partnerships with a local food bank, Destination Downtown, and Ware Children’s Initiative (Family Connections), a new Southeast Georgia Glean Team has formed and is currently gleaning local fruits and vegetables. WayGreen also partners with local schools, the Southeast Health District, the local chapter of Slow Food South Georgia, and other organizations, to offer services such as cooking demonstrations, food giveaways, and gardening classes.

  • Monroe/Walton Co.
    Lead organization: Walton Wellness
    • In 2012, Walton Wellness launched the Mobile Farmacy Farmer’s Market for financially burdened citizens in the community. The market seeded Walton Wellness’s Grow A Row project, which encourages churches, organizations and businesses to plant raised bed gardens and donate the produce to the market. These and other successes led to the formation of the Walton Local Food Alliance in 2018. The alliance includes farmers, chefs, business owners, organizations, government entities, and faith-based communities.

  • Albany/Dougherty Co.
    Lead organization: The Southwest Georgia Project
    • Southwest Georgia Project has partnered with the local school systems and developed teaching gardens at every elementary school in Dougherty County, established direct to consumer farmers markets in collaboration with Friends of Tift Park, created a Farm to Daycare Curriculum for childcare centers, provided nutrition education to the most vulnerable in collaboration with Public Health, and supported family farmers through training, outreach and technical assistance.

  • Savannah/Chatham Co.
    Lead organization: Healthy Savannah
    • Healthy Savannah is operated by a diverse group of dedicated volunteers, and its work and membership reach deeply into underserved areas. Healthy Savannah actively engages the community in its projects and actions and has conducted community surveys to identify and champion specific policy, systems, and environmental change to meet the needs of underserved populations.

A local food policy coalition more than a decade old, over a dozen farmers’ markets (including some mobile markets!), a compost operation and an urban orchard are just a few of the ways good food champions in the network are empowering their communities to discover, taste and learn about food. One of GFO Network’s main goals is to facilitate peer-to-peer connections between good food advocates and community leaders across the state that will support communities in self-developing innovative and affordable ways to eat, cook and grow local, fresh food. Through robust public engagement, intentional partnerships, community-centered planning and  good food policies, the GFO approach to developing a food oasis community focuses on finding solutions to improve supply, access to, and consumption of fresh, local food and that are tailored to the specific needs of the community.

Over the next several months, Georgia Food Oasis will host a number of trainings, workshops, and networking events designed to share knowledge about Georgia’s good food movement and provide opportunities to foster meaningful connections with our neighbors across the state working to ensure all Georgians have access to fresh, healthy food no matter where they live. Stay in the know by signing up for our GFO e-newsletter!

The post WE’RE GROWING! GEORGIA FOOD OASIS WELCOMES FIVE NEW COMMUNITIES TO THE GFO NETWORK! appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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By Porter Mitchell

When West End farmer Lovey Gilliam’s mother was undergoing chemotherapy for her cancer, Lovey was shocked to see how her diet declined. She lacked the energy and the time to cook, so she relied heavily on fast foods and convenience foods–to the detriment of her health.

Alarmed at her mother’s worsening condition, and unable to leave her Atlanta farm to tend to her mother full-time in New York, Lovey suggested that she get a Crock Pot to make cooking at home easier. It worked. Lovey’s mother began cooking more and more at home, using the Crock Pot to make hearty, hot meals for herself with only minimal effort. Her mother began to slowly regain her strength and her health.   

Lovey knew her mother couldn’t be the only senior who turned to fast food because they didn’t have the time or energy to cook.  Lovey approached Morehouse School of Medicine, and in 2018 they conducted a study of local seniors’ diets. The results were shocking. The study uncovered an epidemic of poor nutrition and diet amongst seniors, with many of them relying primarily on fast food for nourishment. This unhealthy diet exacerbated illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes, and created a vicious cycle of declining health, declining diet, and declining quality of life.  

Lovey knew that these seniors needed an immediate intervention. What if what worked for her mother could also work for other seniors? Lovey teamed up with the senior healthcare center JenCare to launch Project Madeline, named after Lovey’s mother.  

Project Madeline provides participating seniors at JenCare centers with a Crock Pot, a monthly class on healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, and on culinary skills, as well as a hefty bag of fresh produce from Lovey’s farm.  

It’s the second Project Madeline class, and the seniors sit at tables set up in rows in the farm’s outdoor classroom.  They chat about the sunny April weather, the dozen or so chickens pecking and scratching in the pen behind them, and the straight rows of almost neon-green vegetables growing in the farm’s raised beds.   

Lovey and her volunteer Susan Cowser-Bailey bustle about, making sure the seniors all have a glass of cold iced tea or fruit and herb infused water before the program begins.  

“Many people come to me and tell me, ‘I don’t want to take medicine.’ And I tell them, what are you doing to not take medicine?” announces Lisa Graham, an RN/BSN and diabetes educator who works with JenCare as she walks in front of the group.  

Lisa’s talk on exercise, the importance of proper hydration, and healthier culinary substitutions clearly resonates with the seniors, who eagerly raise their hands and ask her a myriad of questions on cooking methods, food additives, healthier drink choices, and on demystifying the wild health claims of fad foods like alkaline water. 

Lisa leans hard into her point that eating healthier, exercising more, and drinking more water doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor—small changes add up. “People tell me, ‘well I don’t exercise, I just walk a little’—that is exercise!” she exclaims.   

Lisa’s presentation is followed by a Crock Pot cooking class from Chef Mwandisha. She shares anecdotes of her own journey to healthy eating, easy cooking tips and tricks, and how to create more exciting vegetable-based dishes as she cheerfully chops sweet potatoes and bok choi. Lovey passes out samples of Chef Mwandisha’s sweet potato, greens, and apple Crock Pot dish to the seniors, who nod and “Mmm!” in approval. At the end of the class, the seniors receive Mwandisha’s recipe and an overflowing grocery bag of Lovey’s produce. They chat and laugh with each other and swarm Lovey, Lisa, and Mwandisha with more questions.   

“I want to be healthier, so this is great. And I can share this knowledge with others!” exclaimed Diana Williams, a West End senior.  

“This is my second class, I attended the one last month as well. The Crock Pot has really worked for me! I can’t wait for the next class, I definitely don’t want to miss it!” says Lydia Beasley excitedly. Her friend, Tina Demere, a tall woman in a colorful blazer, pulls out a long, leafy stem with bright yellow flowers from her bag.  “I’ve never tried bok choi before, but I really like it. It’s great in salads!” 

The phrase “food is medicine” gets tossed around a lot. We hear it on the news, on online think-pieces, in conversation amongst our friends and family. But what does “food is medicine” mean? What does it actually look like to see health and wellness through the lens of diet? What is “food is medicine” in action?  

Project Madeline is food is medicine in practice, and a farmer is at the forefront of it.  

“We have more growers and gardeners than we do grocery stores—we can create and thrive in our community by eating from it,” explains Chef Mwandisha.  

Farms like Gilliam’s Community Garden not only steward the land and provide produce, but they are critical players in a community’s health. By providing fresh fruits and vegetables, a space to come and learn, and by partnering with other community organizations, small farms can catalyze positive change in their communities.  

Lovey’s mother is in remission now. A ballerina who owned her own ballet school in Harlem, she is finally able to dance again. Her hair, which was snow-white before chemo, has grown back a remarkable jet-black. She credits her renewed vitality and her recovery from chemotherapy to her improved diet. 

After the seniors board the shuttle to return to their homes, Lovey leans against the outdoor classroom’s railing.  She gazes at one of her hoop houses, its shade cloth rustling quietly in the breeze, and turns and says firmly, “If you don’t make time for your health, you will make time for your illness.”

To learn more about Gilliam’s Community Gardens, visit www.gilliamscommunityfarm.com.

The post Food is Medicine for the Gilliam Family appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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Snapfinger Farm owner Rahul Anand cleans a radish.

By Porter Mitchell

Snapfinger Farm sits on a sleepy, winding suburban road, across from an old church and its small cemetery. A steady stream of airplanes fly over the 14-acre farm in Henry county. Rahul Anand has farmed here for two-and-a-half years, slowly reshaping the fallow pasture land into tilled rows of soil, building a hoop-house on the old horse ring, and constructing an impressive fence to keep out the deer. He’s an ambitious business owner, always looking to grow his business and differentiate his farm in a crowded marketplace. 

“One of Rahul’s greatest assests is that he’s very inventive and he’s not afraid—even if he doesn’t know something, he’ll dive in and figure it out along the way,” explains Chris Jackson of Jenny Jack Farm, where Rahul first began farming as an apprentice in 2015.

Rahul walks along a long row of sunchokes, a native North American cousin of the black-eyed Susan whose nubby roots’ artichoke-like flavor gave the plant its name. Their woody stems tower nine or ten feet in the air, their dried leaves barely clinging onto the stalks.

“White Bull buys pounds and pounds of these every week, they can’t get enough of them. I have no idea what they’re doing with all of these sunchokes but I’m happy they’re buying them,” he laughs.

Rahul sells his produce at a smattering of restaurants across Atlanta including Local Three, White Bull, Eat Me Speak Me, and Watchman’s, at the Decatur Wednesday Market, and he operates a CSA. Rahul also recently joined the Middle Georgia Farmers Co-op to send his famous mizuna, arugula, and black radishes out into new markets.  

“I would rather work with Rahul than someone else because he has this mindset of ambition and growth,” said Pat Pascarella, executive chef at White Bull, who has sourced from Snapfinger since meeting Rahul at the Decatur Farmers Market last year. “He doesn’t try to be a supermarket and have everything—he grows what he grows and he does well. His green garlic, hakureis, and sunchokes are the best—no one compares.”  

Rahul first became involved with Georgia Organics in the summer of 2019 after hearing about the 200 Organic Farms Campaign. The 200 Organic Farms Campaign provides one-on-one coaching to guide farmers through the laborious certification process and reimburses them the certification cost.

“I’m not against the spirit of the program, but I don’t know if I believe that certified organic is necessarily better than local,” Rahul explains, “but being certified will open up new markets for me, both literally and figuratively, especially with the fruit trees I’m planting this year and with an on-farm market.”

Rahul hopes that the certified organic label will appeal to the suburbanites of Henry County and set his farm apart from other operations in the area. Even with the incentive of this new market, the certification process is still difficult to go through.

“Transitioning to certified organic is hard, even if you really want to,” Rahul said between sips of coffee. “The record keeping is a lot of work, especially since it’s just me right now. Plus the application has a million ambiguous questions so it’s helpful to have Michael to call and ask ‘what does this mean in practical terms?’, ‘What are they looking for here?’.” 

In fact, Rahul believes that without a strong network to reach out to, he wouldn’t have come this far at all.  

“It’s really important for farmers to have someone they can call,” he said. “I can call Chris and Jenny of Jenny Jack Farm up any time for advice, and I do. I don’t know how you would farm without that.”  

Rahul walks along his property and motions to an empty field. He explains that soon, the whole tract will be planted with dozens and dozens of fruit trees and berry bushes. He even plans to grow niche citrus trees like Meyer lemons in his hoop house. He’s always undertaking new projects, as if the time and labor required to operate his farm wasn’t enough.  However, they seem to always pay off—Rahul has recently constructed his own vacuum seeder, a piece of equipment that speeds up the planting process, saving him significant amounts of valuable time.  

“To have a farmer apprentice at our farm, leave, start their own farm in Georgia, and for that farmer to be successful—that’s really our ultimate goal. It means a lot to us,” says Chris Jackson.  

You can read all about Snapfinger at www.snapfingerfarm.com and find their produce at the Decatur Wednesday Farmers Market, the Grant Park Farmers Market with the Middle Georgia Farmers Co-op, at White Bull, Local Three, Watchman’s, and Eat Me Speak Me. On Sunday May 5, Snapfinger is the featured farm in our first Cast Iron & Collards Society Family Meal at New Moon Gardens.

The post Inventive Anand Leads Snapfinger Farm to Success appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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Georgia Organics Blog by Georgia Organics - 2w ago

Kenna Ho began working for HealthMPowers in 2016. Her mission is to spark children’s interest in food, health, and cooking at an early age to help them develop a preference for healthy, fresh foods. She has over ten years of experience providing nutrition and culinary education/training for families, Early Care and Education staff, and children.  

Brief 1-3 Sentence Bio About YourselfQuestions 

1. What role do you play in the farm to school and early care and education movement? In my current role with HealthMPowers, I provide training, technical assistance, and resources to Early Care providers to support them in creating policy, system, and environmental changes that empower children to establish healthy habits. Through partnering with Early Care providers, we see our sites make improvements such as incorporating more locally grown foods onto their menus, creating edible learning gardens, and conducting weekly taste tests with fresh fruits and vegetables. 

2.Why are you excited to present your topic? What are some key takeaways attendees will get from your session? My goal is that participants take away simple strategies on how to leverage resources and community partners to build a culture of health through family events.

3. What are you looking forward too at the Georgia Farm to School and Early Care and Education Summit? I am looking forward to connecting with more stakeholders in the Early Care field and gaining more information to strengthen our work with sites across Georgia.  

Presented by Georgia Farm to School Alliance and Georgia Farm to Early Care and Coalition, hosted by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and Georgia Organics.

The farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) and farm to school movement connects early care providers, schools, and local farms in an effort to serve healthy meals and snacks, improve student nutrition, and increase farm and gardening educational opportunities. This year’s Summit welcomes early care providers and staff, teachers, school nutrition staff, students, parents, farmers, distributors, and others interested in learning more about Georgia’s farm to ECE and  farm to school community.

Click HERE to register. Full and partial scholarships are available.  Applications close April 11. Click HERE to apply.

The post Behind the Summit: Kenna Ho appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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by Angel Mills

Georgia Environmental Justice Education and Awareness Symposium with the Mayors of South Fulton, City of Chattahooche Hills, and Hapeville.

Our very own Director of Programs Amber Suitt spoke on the premier panel at the Georgia Environmental Justice Education and Awareness Symposium on April 22.

Education and farmer support were hot topics during the panel. The number one request we’ve received over the years is school gardens. “We have gardens at schools in Fulton, East Point, and College Park,” said panelist Captain Planet Foundation Chairperson Laura Turner Seydel. “As soon as the dirt starts flying and they put those plants in the ground, everything changes.” Panelists agreed that exposing students to gardening opportunities were integral to improve students’ nutrition and educational quality.

Golden Gate Health Care Resources Inc. Founder Mandisha A. Thomas hosted the symposium in partnership with State Representative Debra Bazemore. Georgia Organics sponsored the event along with the University of Georgia Extension, Greening Georgia, City of South Fulton Observer, and several other organizations in the city.

The symposium included several panels including a Farmers’ Round Table with Willie Miller (Miller City Farm), Keisha Cameron (High Hog Farm), Sagdrina Jalal (Georgia Farmers Market Association) and Anthony Gobert (Gwinnett Tech). The panelists discussed several challenges in urban agriculture. When asked about the new FSMA Standards, Keisha said, “Farming doesn’t look like a one size fits all. Policies often favor the corporate giants [ and not the small, local farmers].” Keisha and Willie explained that small scale farmers need specialized support. “Every neighborhood should set up an acre for a farm when considering adding green spaces,” said Willie.

The Mayors’ Round Table Discussion was the final highlight of the symposium. Mayors Tom Reed (City of Chattahoochee Hills), Alan Hallman (City of Hapeville), and William “Bill” Edwards (City of South Fulton) shared their plans for increasing the amount of green space in their cities and improving the quality of life for residents. The panel concluded by encouraging attendees and community organizations to do their part to address environmental justice.

The post Georgia Environmental Justice Education and Awareness Symposium Recap appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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As a high school teacher and farmer, Brooke Lewis-Slamkova has a passion for teaching kids where and how their food is grown.  Her current position as the Family Consumer Science teacher in Barrow County allows her to teach students about how their food choices impact themselves and their community.  Hands-on learning and taste-tests provide the perfect opportunity for children to learn and experience food in new ways. 

1.What role do you play in the farm to school and early care and education movement? 

I am the sponsor of the Apalachee High School garden and on the Barrow County Farm to School booster committee.  I use my position to share the possibilities of the school garden to faculty and students.  As a local farmer, I support local movements that support small farms and procuring local foods to go into the schools.

2.  Why are you excited to present your topic? What are some key takeaways attendees will get from your session?

Food allergens should be a prominent focus for all teachers and school nutrition personnel.  Children’s safety is our number one priority.  That being said, we should not let that preclude kids from enjoying taste tests and experiencing the school garden.  Small substitutions and replacements can ensure that all kids get to have an amazing experience with food. 

3. What are you looking forward too at the Georgia Farm to School and Early Care and Education Summit?

Every Georgia Organics event that I have been to have had excellent presentations and awesome food.  The presenters are people with real world experience that have a true passion for our kids.  It is also awesome to know that the foods you are eating are locally grown and sustainably sourced.   

Presented by Georgia Farm to School Alliance and Georgia Farm to Early Care and Coalition, hosted by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning and Georgia Organics.

The farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) and farm to school movement connects early care providers, schools, and local farms in an effort to serve healthy meals and snacks, improve student nutrition, and increase farm and gardening educational opportunities. This year’s Summit welcomes early care providers and staff, teachers, school nutrition staff, students, parents, farmers, distributors, and others interested in learning more about Georgia’s farm to ECE and  farm to school community.

Click HERE to register. Full and partial scholarships are available.  Applications close April 11. Click HERE to apply.

 

The post Behind the Summit: Brooke Lewis-Slamkova appeared first on Georgia Organics.

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