Elbert County School District received the Outstanding School District Award and Platinum Level recognition at the 2019 Golden Radish Awards. The Outstanding School District Award is given annually to school districts exhibiting exceptional excellence in Farm to School.
Elbert County School District created their first comprehensive Farm to School plan in 2015. “For many years, I was reluctant to start any Farm to School initiatives…no time, no help, no administrative support, no funds, too small,” said School Nutrition Director Bridgette Matthews. “I had lots of excuses as to why I couldn’t make it work in my district.” Matthews decided to move forward with incorporating Farm to School into the school curriculums after encouragement from a parent.
Throughout Elbert’s four years in Georgia’s Farm to School program, they’ve participated in Harvest of the Month (HOTM), maintained a Farm to School Bulletin Board, planted school gardens, hosted an annual “Farm to School Week”, and engaged district high school students in promoting farm to school in Elbert elementary schools.
Students have also been learning about Devil’s Dirt. “Every student in the county will learn the importance of composting and how to compost. Our school gardens are going to get great dirt this upcoming school year”, said Matthews. Elbert installed a greenhouse at Elbert County High School and designed a venture partnership between the district School Nutrition Department and high school science classes to teach students about composting and creating Devil’s Dirt mixes.
In June of 2019, the Georgia Department of Agriculture awarded Elbert their Count of Distinction Award for their Farm to School Excellence. “We truly believe that we are making a difference in our students’ lives and hearts,” said Matthews! “We are excited to watch the seeds we have planted grow by leaps and bounds in the future.”