Partnership with Education Department Would Result in Fresh Local Foods for Kids, Expanded Markets for GA Farmers
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner candidate Gary Black today called for a partnership with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) to increase the use of fresh, local produce in Georgia's school lunch program. He said he has met with Republican State School Superintendent candidate John Barge to begin discussions to implement such a plan.
"Georgia educators and school nutritionists want to provide top quality fresh food to their students and we will give them the tools to do just that," Black said today. "We can buy healthy, locally-grown produce through our school lunch program which is good for the students, good for the farmers and good for Georgia's economy."
Black said that he will work with the School Superintendent and local school systems to identify seasonal needs of schools and match them with local growers who can fulfill those needs and increase on-site preparation of Georgia-grown products. "Local leaders know best what is best for their communities. But I believe state leaders of agriculture and education can be of service by partnering to address the in-school nutrition needs of Georgia students," Black said.
He also said that highlighting individual school nutrition success stories will provide a blueprint to best practices that all schools can look to. "Cobb County and Decatur City Schools have initiated creative farm to school programs that deserve recognition. Teaming Georgia farmers, school nutrition professionals and parents together promises to yield positive, sustainable results we can all be proud of," Black said.
According to the GaDOE, 74% of Georgia's public school students eat school lunches -- including 1.2 million servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
"Georgia Grown carrots and strawberries are better for our kids and for our economy than potatoes grown and frozen in Idaho any day of the week," Black said.
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