FARMERS AND CONSUMERS MARKET BULLETIN – 404-656-3722
GUEST COLUMN: Destination ABAC More and more students are programming the GPS on their phones to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. It seems to be the destination of choice for an increasing number of students seeking an excellent college education. These students are from the majority of the counties in Georgia, as well as from surrounding states and a few from other countries. A major contributing factor for the increase in enrollment is the approval BAKER in 2008 to offer the bachelor’s degree. Today, approximately 35 percent of the students enrolled at ABAC are seeking a bachelor’s degree. Other contributing factors are the recognition by the diverse stakeholders of the quality of the programs, the high value relative to the low cost and the dedicated, exceptional faculty. ABAC has, for more than 100 years, prepared citizens of Georgia, the region, the nation and other countries to be successful in life. Graduates from ABAC have made significant contributions to their communities where they live and work. The historical context paved the way for ABAC to emerge as a destination today and for the foreseeable future. The School of Agriculture and Natural Resources is recognized by students, parents and industry partners as providing the education needed to make a contribution back to society. This fall semester, nearly 54 percent of the 1,100 students with a major in the school are seeking a bachelor’s degree. Yet the school continues to also serve those students who desire to transfer to other institutions in the region for a more specialized degree. We, the faculty in the School of Ag and Natural Resources, are committed to providing a rigorous and relevant learning environment for preparing the leaders of our society well into the future.
Challenging the young, innovative mind of the student today is necessary for providing a sustainable future for all citizens. Students today need to be exposed to more challenges and to be better prepared to be critical thinkers to solve the problems that face society. Food security, water and soil conservation, energy utilization and access to sufficient capital are issues that will require the next generation of agricultural leaders to offer creative solutions. The faculty at ABAC continuously seeks to amend their courses to be relevant for today and the future. The faculty and students understand that they must apply the technical content to solve real world problems. Students are not asked to just repeat what they read or heard, but rather they must be transformative in the utilization of their knowledge gained through the courses. Faculty and students are engaged outside of the formal classroom through various student clubs that help develop leadership skills. Many of the students participate in internships that expose them to challenges and work environments which lead to job offers months before they graduate. The vision for the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources is to provide a home for the student that will allow them to obtain an excellent education which will lead to graduation on time and prepare them to contribute at their next destination in life and work. Jerry Baker is the new dean of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga. Baker previously worked as the research, Extension and instruction leader for animal and dairy science at the University of Georgia-Tifton Campus. Since 2008, Baker served as the chief executive officer, executive director and publisher of American Scientist magazine for Sigma Xi, the scientific research society. He completed his Ph.D. in animal breeding and genetics at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
GUEST COLUMN: Growing farm-to-school with FoodCorps One of the most successful tactics to get children to eat more fruits and vegetables is to have them plant, grow and harvest food in a garden, which is one of the core components of a farm-to-school program. These programs are also handson ways to educate students about careers in farming and the wonders of the soil. And luckily for our state’s young eaters and future growers, farm-to-school in Georgia is about to get a big boost. CROOM National service organization FoodCorps, which connects children in underserved communities to real food in order to help them grow up healthy, expands to Georgia this month. Georgia Organics will partner with them and three service sites across the state: The Captain Planet Foundation in Atlanta, Athens Land Trust and the Northeast Georgia Farm to School Program (Georgia Organics’ pilot program). This partnership with FoodCorps will enable more than 15,000 students to have the opportunity to grow and eat fresh, delicious food and learn more about farms and farming. The demand for fresh local food is growing — according to a University of Georgia report, in 2012 to 2013, more than 13 million meals featuring local food were served in Georgia schools. According to the US Department of Agriculture census, school districts spent more than $6.9 million on local food during that same period. FoodCorps places emerging leaders into limited-resource schools for a year of AmeriCorps service, during which they implement their three-ingredient recipe for healthy kids: facilitating local food purchasing, gardening and cooking with kids and teaching about food and nutrition. Nearly 200 service members will be placed in host agencies and schools across 16 states and the District of Columbia this year. And the need for this innovative nutritional education has never been greater. Nearly 1 million Georgia children are overweight or obese. While 43 percent of Georgia teenagers eat less than one vegetable a day, the state is the fourth-largest FARMERS & CONSUMERS MARKET BULLETIN (ISSN 0889-5619) is published biweekly by the Georgia Department of Agriculture 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Atlanta, GA 30334-4250 404-656-3722 • Fax 404-463-4389 Office hours 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday
producer of fruits and vegetables in the nation. Healthy students are better learners who perform better academically, so farm-to-school programs are critical to support a growing workforce and healthier population. A key goal of Georgia Organics’ farm-to-school program is to create demand for the freshest, most delicious, healthiest produce that our farmers can provide by educating kids about where food comes from. That means connecting them back to the soil and the farmers who grow in it. When that happens, we are able to support farmers by increasing demand for those products from schools, an entity with huge buying power. At one of our most promising pilot projects, 10 sustainable farmers within 50 miles of the county are now selling to the school district. This pilot will hopefully serve as a model for rural districts throughout the state, and it presents real opportunities to expand locally based food systems and organic agriculture at the community level. There’s already so much momentum for this work. Through Georgia Organics’ farm-to-school program, which includes the 5 Million Meals Campaign and the state’s premiere farm-to-school award, the Golden Radish, we’ve built partnerships with school districts, government agencies, UGA Cooperative Extension and more. Alongside these key partners, we created the Georgia Farm to School Alliance, a statewide coalition that’s still going strong. And by teaming up with FoodCorps, Georgia is ready to take farm-to-school to the next level. Thanks to the growing farm-to-school movement, the conversation is changing about what kids want to eat. Students are asking for fresh fruits and vegetables grown by farmers they know. They’re not just trying it — they’re loving it. And in the process, they’re learning about farming, too. Erin Croom is farm to school director at Georgia Organics and serves as the state lead for the National Farm to School network. Raised in Mississippi, she has a Master’s in Community Development and Applied Economics and researched the economic and health benefits of farm-to-school programs in rural communities. Gary W. Black, Commissioner MARKET BULLETIN STAFF
Dallas Duncan, editor Gerrie Fort, circulation manager Merlissa Smith, customer services specialist Beth Mohler, fall intern
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2014
agriCULTURE Letter from the editor
Like many Americans, I enjoy coming home from a workday and relaxing with a favorite TV show (or two). My boyfriend Justin and I are huge fans of Food Network, and we absolutely love to watch its show “The Kitchen.” This is pretty much a food talk show with five hosts, including Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and one of my favorite network chefs, Jeff “Sandwich King” Mauro. The show is peppered with recipes, games, cooking tips and fun segments that relate back to food. I enjoy the segment called “Into it, over it.” Here, the chefs take turns sharing something in the food world that they are into and something that they’re tired of hearing about … kind of like the overplayed top 40 songs on radio stations. So, ladies and gents, I bring to you the inaugural edition of my personal “into it, over it,” agriculture style! * Into it: Gourmet burgers. The top three food groups in my life are bread, cheese and meat. Meat lends the way toward ground meat, which can be turned into fantastic patties and topped with everything under the sun. I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to meat, so I love trying new combinations. For example, Justin’s in our kitchen creating beef burgers topped with brie, sundried tomatoes and a Dijon mustard dressing. The thing about gourmet burgers is that even though they’re popping up in restaurants everywhere, it’s kind of hard to be over something when there’s so many different things you can do with it! And plus, if you’re not as experimental with bacon jam, avocados, sautéed mushrooms and lamb patties as I am … there’s always the American classic standby right next to it on the menu. * Over it: Kale. I get it, y’all, I really do. We have to balance eating meat (or protein in general, if you’re vegetarian or vegan) with eating like, green things. Kale, however, is just one of those green things I could never get into to begin with. Especially in smoothies. More power to ya if you can liquefy kale and spinach together with blueberries, chocolate or whatever else goes in your blender, but it just isn’t for me. * Into it: AgChat. If you are on Twitter, you need to do AgChat on Tuesdays. AgChat is a really nifty conversation held over social media. A moderator from US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance tweets (that’s Twitter language for “posts”) out a series of questions and gives conversation participants 10 minutes or so to answer and talk amongst themselves. By tagging #agchat in my tweet, everyone participating in AgChat can see my answer, and I can see those posted by everyone else. Not only does AgChat allow you the chance to share your perspective, but you also get a good feel for questions and concerns consumers have. * Over it: The term “factory farm.” I’m preaching to the choir here, I know, but I find that phrase offensive, and I’m not even a farmer! Factories are large industrial facilities with whirring machines. Are they bad? No! But do we raise cattle, cotton, chickens or anything else in a factory? No! Factories are where the harvested livestock and agricultural products are turned into processed food products, if that is what a producer desires. They’re not the places where animals and crops are raised. The end. * Into it: Sunflowers. Sunflowers just make me happy. I love driving down the road at the end of summer and beginning of fall seeing fields of vibrant gold dotting the highway. Granted, I don’t understand (yet!) much of the science behind sunflowers being a rotational crop, but I’m really glad Georgia farmers plant them! And finally, one last one. *Over it: Gators. Really, did y’all expect me to not write an editorial of this type during football season and not throw this one in there? Dallas Duncan is the editor of the Market Bulletin. Originally from Evans, Ga., she graduated in May 2011 with a double major in animal science and agricultural communication from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She previously worked for The Red & Black, The Times newspaper in Gainesville, Ga., and Georgia Cattlemen’s Association.
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