Golden Radish 2019

School Nutrition Wins Golden Radish Award
Posted on 09/23/2019
Farm to Table Promoted at Schools

The Douglas County School Nutrition Department took home the top honor in the annual Golden Radish competition, which celebrates extraordinary work in farm to school programs. Criteria for the platinum award include local food procurement, exposing students to new foods through taste tests, and incorporating gardening and cooking activities in the curriculum. The competition is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Public Health, the UGA Cooperative Extension, Bright from the Start, and Georgia Organics. 

Danielle Freeman, DCSS Executive Director for School Nutrition, is pictured above with State School Superintendent Richard Woods and other award sponsors. 

Ms. Freeman credits two DCSS employees and the department's student brand ambassador with championing farm to school activities: Food Service Manager Cathy York from Dorsett Shoals Elementary, Chorus Director Natalie Murray from Mirror Lake Elementary, and 9th grade student and "Chopped Junior" winner Rose Genter. 

Students at Dorsett Shoals Elementary Explore Farm to Table After School 

Cathy YorkCathy York uses a school garden to demonstrate to her students where food actually comes from and to encourage them to try new foods and eat a healthier diet. 

Ms. York teaches nutrition and cooking in the After School Program at Dorsett Shoals and incorporates math, science, and geography into the projects. "This month we are focusing on apples. Students have learned how and where apples are grown and the parts of an apple. We tried different recipes using apples, read "Ten Apples Up On Top" by Dr. Seuss, and worked on several hands-on projects using apples. 

Over the years, teachers at Dorsett Shoals have used the garden to grow worms, raise butterflies, and create works of art. "The entire school is actively working to bring agriculture into the classroom," said Ms. York. "Kindergarten planted a pumpkin patch last year and used the project for math, language arts, and reading lessons. They ended the unit by making a yummy pumpkin pie in a bag treat!" 

Community partners including the Farm Bureau, the Extension Office, Master Gardeners, and the Farmer's Table have assisted with many projects.

Fridays Are "Garden Days" at Mirror Lake Elementary

Natalie Murray and students

At Mirror Lake Elementary, Fridays are "Garden Days." Students participate in hands-on lessons in agriculture with additional lessons in health, nutrition, environmental stewardship, and conservation. 

"Students LOVE working in the garden by prepping soil, planting seeds, watering, and watching the growth of plants," said Ms. Murray. "They especially enjoy harvesting fruits and vegetables." 

Master Gardeners and the Farm Bureau are two of the organizations that assist with the agriculture program at Mirror Lake. Ms. Murray serves on the board of the Farm Bureau and works with elementary and middle school principals whose schools feed into Alexander High School, which has an active FFA program. "We want to see more and more students become Ag-literate and ready to join FFA when they get to high school." 

"Chef Rose" Promotes Healthy Cooking

After School 

Chef RoseRose Genter, a 9th grade student at the Academy at CCI and 2016 winner of the televised contest "Chopped Junior," serves as the Douglas County School Nutrition Department's brand ambassador. 

She works in After School Programs at various schools to educate students on locally grown food and its impact on the taste of the food they eat. Apple pie parfaits, zucchini muffins, and strawberry smoothies are a few of the recipes she has made with students. 

Rose, center, is pictured with School Nutrition Assistant Director Francetta Muhammad and students in the After School Program at Mason Creek Middle School.


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