Page 1

GETTING A SENSE OF THE CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE What story do the numbers tell? 6

INFOGRAPHICPALOOZA! Our 2013 farm to school successes, in charts 8

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Environmental activist turned farmer Wendy Crager of Crager Hager Farm 14

THE DIRT Spring 2014

We connect organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families

Growing the Next Generation 2013 was a big year for farm to school in Georgia.

As any farmer will tell you, it’s incredible to watch something grow. When we began our farm to school program seven years ago, we knew it could take root and expand into a statewide effort to get more Georgia children eating healthy, whole food from farms in their own backyards. Last year was groundbreaking for farm to school (pun intended), and in this issue of The Dirt we’re thrilled to share successes from around the state, and to introduce you to some of the farmers, school nutrition directors, teachers, volunteers, and more who’ve helped make it all happen. We’re tending to the crop of the next generation of eaters and farmers. Watching them grow is going to be great. CONTINUED ON PAGE 8


200-A Ottley Dr. Atlanta, GA 30324 678.702.0400 info@georgiaorganics.org www.georgiaorganics.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Mandy Mahoney, PRESIDENT Linda DiSantis, VICE PRESIDENT Ellen Macht, TREASURER Kurt Ebersbach, SECRETARY Robert Currey Naomi Davis Dee Dee Digby Jessica Fagan Cheryl Galway Julia Gaskin Roderick Gilbert Diane Harris Jenni Harris Connie Hayes Mark Hennessy Carroll Johnson Melissa Libby Cashawn Myers Rashid Nuri Joe Reynolds Brennan Washington

STAFF

PERRI CAMPIS

Farmer Services Assistant

DONN COOPER

Farmer Services Coordinator

ERIN CROOM

Farm to School Director

SUZANNE GIRDNER

Conference Coordinator

TERI HAMLIN

Northeast Georgia Farm to School Coordinator

BROOKE HATFIELD

Communications Coordinator

KATE KLEIN

Development Coordinator

ANDREW LADD

Director of Operations

SANDY LAYTON

Development Director

DANIELLE MOORE

My Market Coordinator

ALICE ROLLS

Executive Director

EMILY ROSE

Farm to School Coordinator

MICHAEL WALL

Director of Programs

ANIKA WHITE

Administrative Assistant

THE DIRT Spring 2014• Published Quarterly Georgia Organics, Inc. 200-A Ottley Dr., Atlanta GA 30324, Volume 16 Issue #1 Copyright © 2014, Georgia Organics, Inc. All rights reserved.

FOLLOW US! @georgiaorganics www.facebook.com/ GeorgiaOrganics

2

THE DIRT SPRING 2014

LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR

Kids will eat kale! But will they eat organic kale?

Farm to school in Georgia started at two elementary schools in Atlanta, where Georgia Organics developed gardens, curriculum connections, and hosted chef demos. Pretty soon we were bombarded with requests to launch farm to school programs all over the state, and there was no way we could meet the demand. So we built alliances with school districts, the Georgia Departments of Education, Agriculture, and Public Health, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Deptartment of Agriculture, and other key partners. Those partnerships created the Georgia Farm to School Alliance, a statewide coalition that’s still going strong. Since Georgia Organics established the Georgia Farm to School Alliance, there were a lot of assumptions (and some discomfort) that all we were about was “organic” food. But we recognized from day one that the urgent need to get kids eating fresh fruits and vegetables trumped discussion on how the food was grown. After all, 43 percent of Georgia adolescents eat vegetables less than one time each day. (Think too many Cheetos, not enough chard!) “Local” was a safe place for us all to land, particularly as we sought to boost local economies based on the over 1.7 million school meals served daily in Georgia. The more we talked about the types of healthy food we want our students to eat, the more the conversation evolved to encompass organic, and by being at the table on both the regional and grassroots level, Georgia Organics is driving that conversation. In addition to fresh food in the cafeteria, we want fresh, organically grown food in the cafeteria. So it was momentous when I attended a farm to school meeting a year ago and heard the

superintendent and others from the community use the “o” word. They not only wanted local food, but they wanted chemical-free food. And why shouldn’t they? We know that developmentally, children are at increased risk from dietary exposure to organophosphates and other toxic pesticides. In the last couple of years, scientific research has linked pesticide exposure to increased risk of ADHD and lower IQ in children. And we know that an organic diet can reduce and eliminate those residues in their bodies. By promoting fresh, local food in schools, we are increasing demand from an entity with huge buying power. At our promising pilot project in Habersham County, 10 sustainable and organic farms 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. The conversation is changing about what kids want to eat, and what kids will eat. The most surprising thing to us is kids will do more than eat it. Students are asking for fresh fruit and vegetables. They are asking for foods from farmers that they know. So maybe my organic kale farm fantasy is not so far-fetched. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future, we will see green acres of organic kale, spinach, and lettuce dotting our rural and urban landscapes, as well as our school lunch trays.

Alice Rolls EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Students are asking for fresh andDuluth April 26, fruit 2014, This one-day conference will be packed vegetables. They arewith seminars and workshops on best practices for humanely asking foralso foods from allraising meat. There’s a pre-conference day tour at White Oak Pastures in Bluffton! farmers that they know. www.southeasternsustainablelivestock.org

GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG 3


2014 Conference 38 TEACHERS

100 AG PROFESSIONALS

Over 900 growers, educators, chefs, volunteers, and more spent a fantastic weekend on Jekyll Island for Green Acres, the 17th annual Georgia Organics conference. Everyone learned about the myriad ways our collective work is vital to our physical and environmental health. Presenter Becky Striepe summed it up really beautifully in a conference wrap-up post on her blog, Glue & Glitter: “I went home on Sunday full of good food and gratitude.” _________________________________

78 SPONSORS

900 PEOPLE STRONG!

68 STUDENTS

82 CULINARY PROFESSIONALS

300 FARMERS/MARKET GARDENERS

Check out all of our conference photos on our Facebook page! facebook.com/georgiaorganics

SAVE THE DATE! The 2015 Georgia Organics Conference will be in Athens! More details to come! EXPO EXHIBITORS

FARM TOURS

68 7

WORKSHOPS & EDUCATION SESSIONS

42

AND NOW FOR OUR AWARD WINNERS! Georgia’s organic agriculture community honored two of the state’s foremost leaders at our 17th annual conference. __________________________ And congratulations to another winner! Theresa Cantrell of Macon won a full 2015 conference registration for filling out our online evaluation form!

4

THE DIRT SPRING 2014

Celia Barss

Teri Schell

2014 Land Steward of the Year

2014 Barbara Petit Pollinator Award

Celia Barss of Wood-

land Gardens in Athens, Ga., is a farmer whose skill as a grower is matched by her business savvy and dedication to supporting the state’s organic agriculture community. “This year’s honoree is a true leader and teacher today, not because she has sought those roles, but because she knows the direction to go and has so much knowledge to share,” said Daniel Parson of the farm at Oxford College-Emory University, who presented the award. “And as a mentor she is legendary because of her incredible track record of mentees who are still farming.” The Land Steward Award honors an individual who has contributed greatly to the organic movement in Georgia both on the farm through environmentally friendly production, and off the farm through leadership, education, and outreach.

As a founding member of the Forsyth Farmers’ Market, Teri Schell has been on the ground floor of Savannah’s good food community, and as co-chair of the recently formed Savannah Chatham Food Policy Council, her passion and knowledge continue to grow that movement. “She quietly and doggedly keeps all these pieces moving because of her passion for equality and lucky for folks in this room she uses her love of food as the framework for change,” said award presenter Kristin Russell, owner of popular Savannah café The Sentient Bean. The Barbara Petit Pollinator Award’s namesake is a committed leader, culinary professional, and organizer who was president of Georgia Organics from 2003-2009, and the award acknowledges exceptional success in advancing Georgia Organics’ mission by spreading—pollinating—the movement throughout community life, such as the food industry, faith communities, public agencies, schools, and institutions.


Phillips is introducing...

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5127 Echols Street • Covington, GA 30014-1305 www.phillipsturfandornamental.com Kirk Phillips 404-580-0203

GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG 5


In The Field 77 FARMERS have gone through the program

Getting a Sense of the Ag Census Farmer Services Coordinator Donn Cooper, our man in the field

32 are still farming. That's a 42 PERCENT SUCCESS RATE!

Most similar programs have a success rate of 20 PERCENT.

Celebrating 10 Years of our Mentor Program For a decade, the Georgia Organics Mentoring Program has connected beginning farmers and ranchers (10 years or less experience) and producers transitioning to organic production systems with experienced farmer mentors. Funding for the current Farmer to Farmer Mentoring Program has come from the USDA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grant for the past three

years and expires later this year. Our retooled program will provide organic certification cost share for 30 farmers and technical trainings that will support farmers who are seeking organic certification, including business and marketing workshops and materials. _____________________________ For more information about our mentoring program, go to www.georgiaorganics.org.

AVERAGE MENTEE FARM ACREAGE

12 4

5

4

LESS THAN AN ACRE

1-5 ACRES

5-10 ACRES

2013 MENTEE MARKETS FOR PRODUCE

MORE THAN 10 ACRES

OUT OF STATE

CSA 15

10%

FARMERS MARKET 14 RESTAURANTS 12 DIRECT SALES 7

PIEDMONT

35%

METRO ATLANTA

17%

ONLINE 5 CHURCHES & SCHOOLS 2 CO-OP 1 WHOLESALE 1 U-PICK 1

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THE DIRT SPRING 2014

WEST COASTAL PLAIN

14%

2013 MENTEE LOCATION BREAKDOWN

EAST COASTAL PLAIN

10%

MOUNTAIN

14%

Georgia is making positive steps toward a local and sustainable food system—after compiling the new edition of our Good Food Guide, we can definitively say there are more organic farmers, farmers markets, restaurants that buy local, organic food, and businesses supporting the good food movement than there were two years ago. But sometimes the news is discouraging. In February, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released its preliminary report of the 2012 Census of Agriculture. As one of only five states to suffer significant decreases in both the number of farms and land in farms, Georgia really takes it on the chin. From 2007 to 2012, farms in the Peach State declined from 47,846 to 42,257—a loss of 5,589 farms. And even worse, beginning farmers—which the USDA classifies as those with ten years or less experience— took the biggest hit. Of Georgia’s total farm loss, 76 percent were beginning farmers. But it’s not just that beginning farmers dropped out. In the last five years the number of people embarking upon farming careers declined by almost 36 percent. As a result, the age of the average farmer in Georgia actually inched up two years to 59.9 (the national average is 58.3). The only age group that experienced growth areas was farmers 65 or older. At least Georgia’s experience falls in line with the national average, and it’s too early to extrapolate too much. The effects of a supercharged real estate market followed by a severe recession certainly show up in the data. But so do signs of encouragement, like the growing number of Latino and Asian farmers. We’ll wait for the full report. We already know farming isn’t easy. And thanks to the work we do every day with organic farmers all over the state, we know one report doesn't tell the whole story.


The following content is provided by Kaiser Permanente as part of the sponsorship of the Georgia Organics 2014 conference.

Here’s to growing a healthy future

kp.org/georgia

That’s why Kaiser Permanente supports Georgia Organics for their dedication to connecting healthy foods from Georgia farms to Georgia families. Together, we believe in helping communities thrive.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc. Nine Piedmont Center 3495 Piedmont Road, NE Atlanta, GA 30305 404-364-7000 60212209

03/14

©2014 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc.

GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG 7


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

2013

JANUARY Launched our farm to school pilot program in Habersham County.

FEBRUARY hosted the 4th annual Farm to School Summit in Atlanta. MARCH

HABERSHAM COUNTY FARM TO SCHOOL PILOT

To find out more about the program, go to northeastgafarm2school. wordpress.com.

We worked with 10 farms. All grow organically/sustainably. Total food purchased from these ten farms?

2,840.5

lbs.

More than A TON!

—Phillip Franklin, Wide Bottom Farm THE 10 WILBANKS MIDDLE SCHOOL FARMS CHATTOOGA BELLE FARM Kitty and Ed Land

$1,954 VALUE

LEAH LAKE FARM Brooks Franklin LIBERTY FARM Sherri, Jerry, and Wesley Gerrin

Additional GA Grown purchases: $14,358.85

TOTAL VALUE OF 2013 LOCAL PURCHASES

$16,312.85

SEPTEMBER Hosted the first ever state-level Farm to Preschool Summit.

MELON HEAD FARM Joni and Harold Kennedy MILL GAP FARM Amy and Chuck Mashburn MOUNTAIN EARTH FARM Ronnie Mathis

SO WHO PARTICIPATED? PRESCHOOL 13%

TRILLIUM FARM

Steve Whiteman WIDE BOTTOM FARM James & Evelyn Franklin, Phillip & Teresa Franklin, Brett & Maureen Franklin, Madison DavisJames, Carey Madigan, Nancy Kollock, and Robin Workman

POPULAR LETTUCES IN SP

BIBB

ACH

TT

ERCRUN

HOW STUDENTS DESCRIBED LETTUCE GREEN

AWESOME!

STICKY

SPREAD WIDE

SILKY

RE

D LEAF

WAVY

111,609 STUDENTS ACROSS THE STATE PARTICIPATED

11 School Districts

RO

M AI NE

Can we have more? —Quote after a green leaf lettuce taste test LETTUCE TRY IT ACTIVITIES VISIT FROM A CHEF 1% FUNDRAISER FOR F2S PROGRAM 3% VISIT FROM A FARMER 5%

WE HAD 390 SIGN UPS!

174 Preschools

186 Schools

19 Other

62% said Lettuce Try It was the first time they'd participated in farm to school.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 59%

THE DIRT SPRING 2014

SYLVAN FALLS MILL Linda Johnson

CH

OCTOBER Lettuce Try It events happened all over the state during October Farm to School Month.

October is National Farm to School Month, and we celebrated it with Lettuce Try it, a state-wide effort to get kids across Georgia to eat (and fall in love with!) fresh, local lettuce. Schools that signed up got resources and lesson plans involving lettuce for every grade, and students across the state did everything from make leaf rubbings to taste test salads made with tasty, healthy dressings we gave them recipes for. The following infographics are based on results from a survey we sent to Lettuce Try It participants.

SHOOK’S FARM Angel and Steve Rushing and Thelma and Michael Shook

AUGUST Led cafeteria staff workshops for Commerce City Schools.

LETTUCE TRY IT!

We also organized organic lettuce taste tests at the Sunbelt Ag Expo!

8

“We are proud to be one of the farm to school farmers. It’s important to give our children good, healthy produce with the knowledge of where what they are eating came from."

BU

The farm to school pilot program in Habersham County Schools is a collaboration between Georgia Organics and the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia that includes building school gardens, taste tests of local products, training workshops for cafeteria staff and teachers, and working with local farmers. This comprehensive program is the first of its kind in Georgia, and in its first year we worked with 10 farms within a 50-mile radius of Wilbanks Middle School, all of whom grow organically or sustainably—"They're all good stewards of the earth," says program lead Dr. Teri Hamlin. __________________________

FARM FIELD TRIP 7% COOKING ACTIVITY 17% LOCAL LETTUCE IN SCHOOL MEAL 32% NUTRITION EDUCATION 36% SCHOOL GARDEN ACTIVITY 64% LETTUCE TASTE TEST 71%

MIDDLE SCHOOL 17%

HIGH SCHOOL 11%

NOVEMBER Chosen as a new host site for FoodCorps’ expansion into Georgia,


Presented the first Golden Radish Award to school districts procuring local food.

APRIL Talked to thousands of teenagers in FFA at an event in Macon.

In 2013, we worked with the Georgia Departments of Agriculture and Education to create the Golden Radish Award to acknowledge school districts for their efforts in local food procurement. In 2013, the Golden Radish Award was presented to school districts who took the 5 Million Meals pledge to serve local food. After the presentation of the first Golden Radish Award, Georgia Organics

continued working with the Departments of Agriculture and Education, and partnered with the Georgia Department of Public Health to create a comprehensive list of specific criteria for the award which acknowledges all aspects of farm to school programming. The Golden Radish Award will be given annually to school districts and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in Georgia who are doing extraordinary work in

JULY Led a cafeteria staff workshop in Dougherty County.

farm to school. The upgraded Golden Radish Award is presented by the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Public Health, and Georgia Organics. _____________________________ To find out more about the criteria and how to apply, go to www.georgiaorganics.org/ for-schools/goldenradish

JUNE Hosted the first NE Georgia school nutrition director meeting. It's now a regular thing!

5 Million Meals During the 2011-2012 academic year, 3 million meals featuring a local food item were served in more than 650 Georgia schools. We launched the 5 Million Meals campaign in October 2012 to increase that number to 5 million. Forty school nutrition directors pledged to purchase and serve local food in their cafeterias, and in December a University of Georgia report confirmed that the end result was nearly three times our original goal. Georgia students ate a record-breaking 14 million meals that included a local food item during the 2012-2013 school year, according to a report from the University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. “School nutrition directors stepped up and found ways to get the freshest foods for their students while supporting Georgia’s dedicated farmers,” said Farm to School Director Erin Croom. “This study is a great snapshot of farm to school’s growing momentum and impact.”

MAY Created a video on how to host a taste test. You can see it at vimeo.com/georgiaorganics

GOLDEN RADISH AWARDS

MOST POPULAR LOCAL PRODUCE SERVED

Sweet Potatoes 62.5%*

Carrots 58.3%*

Cabbage 62.5%*

Apples 58.3%*

Strawberries 70.8%* * % OF DISTRICTS PURCHASED

87.5% PROMOTED THEIR LOCAL FOOD. 63.2% included classroom education 57.9% used special signage 42.1% did taste tests # OF MEALS WITH LOCAL FOOD ITEM

AND named a Groundbreaker by Atlanta Magazine.

2011-2012

3 million

OUR GOAL FOR 2012-2013

5 million

ACTUAL AMOUNT IN 2012-2013

14 million!

26.3% mentioned the local food item in their newsletters 15.8%

had farmers visit

5.3% featured cooking demos

The total value of those purchases?

$2.1 million!

DECEMBER Got the results of our 5 Million Meals campaign, and oh boy were they exciting!

2014

Onward to greatness!

GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG 9


HOW'D YOU NAME THAT FARM?

Many Fold Farm As told by Rebecca Williams, photographed below with her husband Ross

Basically, my English major background and love of word origins combined with farming practices is where the name came from. When I was trying to think of a name, the philosophical concept of polyculture over monoculture was really important to me. At some point the word “manifold” popped into my mind. I took out a dictionary and looked up the definitions and etymology. I found that embedded in the word “manifold” are the words “many” and “fold”. These two words convey the concept of the multitude over the singular, the concept of that diverse multitude working as distinct pieces of a unified whole. The word “fold” was especially interesting: a bit of ground on a farm, especially associated with sheep (see: sheepfold); it can also indicate multiplicity and things increasing in number. So there it was. What we do and how we try to do it all rolled into this name. It was a purely cerebral exercise. _________________________________________ To find out more about Many Fold Farm, check them out at www.manyfoldfarm.com.

Winter farm supply, by the numbers

44

Farmers participated

TOTAL SALES

$24,552.70

LARGEST SINGLE ORDER

$3,485.75

SMALLEST SINGLE ORDER

$46

WEIGHT OF A​LL SUPPLIES ORDERED

44,000 lbs.

That's

22

TONS! NUMBER OF MILD TO MODERATELY SORE GO EMPLOYEES 3

__________________________________________________ For more information about the farm supply program, go to www.georgiaorganics.org

Spring 2014 Plant Sale April 1-June 15, Come to the

Oakhurst Garden at 435 Oakview Road, Decatur, GA 30030 • 50 Types of Tomato, including Heirloom • 30 Types of Pepper • 20 Types of Eggplant • Basil • And many other fun summer goodies will be available! For regular updates like us on Facebook

Offering 10 years of affordable classes on Gardening, Husbandry, Food, Health and Wellness. • Create Your Own Vertical Garden Sunday, April 27, 2:00pm-4:00pm • Simply Delicious: Foraging and Medicine Making Tuesday, April 29, 7:00pm-9:00pm • Chickens are Easy! Intro to Keeping Chickens Saturday, May 3, 10:00am12:00pm • Simply Delicious: Late Spring Harvest- Asian Style Tuesday, May 6, 7:00pm-9:00pm • The Magic of Mushrooms Sunday, May 18, 2:00pm-4:00pm

More classes and info at wyldecenter.org 10

THE DIRT SPRING 2014


the

DAILY DIRT MAURA FRIEDMAN

georgiaorganics.org/news-center/blog

Meet Kate Klein, our new Development Coordinator Georgia Organics Development Coordinator Kate Klein has been lighting up our lives since January, and between our conference in February, taking on membership duties, and coordinating events, she’s been a busy woman! What was your previous job?

I worked as the Campus Food Day Coordinator and Regional Field Organizer for Real Food Challenge. The primary campaign is to help college students shift $1 billion of university food purchasing away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/ community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane food sources— “real food”—by 2020. Who/what has inspired you to do the work you are doing today?

In college, I became quickly overwhelmed with the harsh realities of the CAFO and industrial ag’s severe toll on our environment. I ran into some folks at Real Food Challenge, most notably my mentors Nina and David, who helped me develop the skills, tools, and confidence to build powerful campus campaigns for real food. Throughout that time, I got to work with tons of resilient, justice-seeking better-worldbuilders, and I was hooked. What do you want to accomplish for Georgia’s farmers? I want

to shape a robust statewide support network so that farmers can pursue a healthier, cleaner, more just Georgia with ease. I want their occupation to be admired and respected.

If you became a DJ, what would your DJ name be? DJ K8

CHEF SPOTLIGHT

Drew Belline of No. 246

There's a new Good Food Guide on the streets! We can definitively say there are more organic farmers, farmers markets, restaurants that buy local, organic food, and businesses supporting the good food movement than there were two years ago. 300 166

174 2011

96 2014

FARMS

75 2011

2011

FARMERS MARKETS

108

40

2014

2011

RESTAURANTS

2014

73 2014

BUSINESSES

An enormous THANK YOU to the 24 people who contributed to our scholarship fund. Because of you, we raised $9,025, which means we sent 82 people from 49 farms to our conference this year. (We were able to send an additional 41 people through grant funding.)

Drew Belline is the executive chef and partner at Decatur’s No. 246 and a staunch supporter of Georgia Organics and local, sustainable producers. You’ve gotten a lot of attention as a foraging chef. How does foraging inspire the dishes you create? Since I was a kid, I have always

loved to be in the woods. However, as I began to spend most of my adult life in kitchens, my time in the outdoors began to dwindle. I remember when I found my first chanterelle on the banks of Lake Rabun while perch fishing in July of 2003 and my love for the woods was reignited. Now I had an excuse to get out of the kitchen and back into the outdoors for an hour or two a day, clear my head and pick some great mushrooms. Of course I use what I forage in dishes at the restaurants, but I wouldn't say that it really inspires the dishes that we create, it just makes me more sensitive to the seasons. The seasons are what inspire new dishes for me—what grows together goes together! What percentage of your dishes do you estimate contain local items, and why is that important to you? It's important to us at 246.

Aside from the obvious reason of global climate impact, I need a good story. We take a sense of pride in knowing where are products come from, and we love to tell our products’ story. ____________________________

To read the entire interview with Drew, check out our blog post!

GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG 11


Atlanta, Feb. 18, 2014 GOVERNOR'S ADVISORY COUNCIL ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY MEETING

Georgia Organics hosted this meeting at Burgess-Peterson Academy in Atlanta. We shared how we are using farm to school to shift the paradigm on healthy eating, and Burgess-Peterson staff and students showcased their program, including a tour of their organic garden. ________________________

Savannah, March 12, 2014 GLORIOSA, ART IN BLOOM, A GARDEN CLUB OF AMERICA FLOWER SHOW PRESENTED BY TRUSTEES’ GARDEN CLUB SAVANNAH

Check out the photo album at facebook.com/ georgiaorganics!

Check out this beautiful, award-winning display that features our Good Food Guide! We partnered with Georgia Organics member Anne Murray of the Trustee's Garden Club of Savannah on this lovely exhibit. It won the Garden Club of America's Marion Thompson Fuller Brown Conservation Award for creating "an exhibit of exceptional educational and visual merit that increases knowledge and awareness of the environment." Thanks to Anne and the Trustee's Garden Club for the opportunity!

Hamilton, Oct. 20, 2013 47TH ANNUAL WEST GEORGIA FARMER'S COOPERATIVE FUNDRAISER

Founded in Harris County in 1966, the cooperative is transitioning to sustainable agriculture under president Darrell Copeland. This new generation of leadership is reenergizing the local farming community.

Atlanta, Oct. 10, 2013 SEEDS & SOIL SOCIETY-HOSTED BOOK SIGNING FOR ANNE QUATRANO

Thank you to our members who attended the Georgia Organics Seeds & Soil event at the home of Louisa and Michael D’Antignac. We so appreciated your presence at what was a truly special event honoring one of Atlanta’s preeminent chefs and a true good food pioneer, Anne Quatrano. We enjoyed introducing you to the important work we do and Anne’s book, "Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality." Our movement still has much to accomplish, and our state’s organic growers and all who benefit from their work need your support. If you would like to become a member and learn more about the Seeds & Soil Society, please contact Sandy Layton at sandy@georgiaorganics.org or (404) 481-5006.

Follow us on Twitter for gems like this:

12

THE DIRT SPRING 2014

Americus, Oct. 15, 2013 SUNBELT AG EXPO

For the second year in a row, we organized the Organic Pavilion at the Sunbelt Ag Expo, North American’s premier farm show. Over 100,000 people attend each year, and in addition to a tent full of vendors for organic producers, our farm to school staff also conducted lettuce taste tests using organic lettuce from White Oak Pastures in Bluffton. ________________________ Check out the photo album at facebook.com/ georgiaorganics!

@georgiaorganics “You don’t want to keep farming to yourself. It


ON THE ROAD WITH FARMER SERVICES PRESENTATIONS Donn Cooper continued his barnstorming tour across Georgia (and even Alabama and Texas), giving presentations to beginning farmers and agricultural professionals on organic production, the economics of operating a small sustainable farm, and the work of Georgia Organics’ programs. Georgia Organics was also proud to partner with outstanding agricultural organizations such as the West Georgia Farmers Cooperative, the Athens Land Trust, UGA Cooperative Extension, USDA NRCS, and local Resource and Conservation Districts.

Demorest, Oct. 8, 2013 HARVEST CELEBRATION AT WILBANKS MIDDLE SCHOOL

Over 400 people attended this festival, which was a culmination of nearly one year of work at Wilbanks Middle School in Habersham County and celebrated the people who have made farm to school a reality in their community.

AROUND THE STATE Oct. 2013–March 2014

SEPT. 10 Multicultural Sustainable Agriculture Conference Duluth

DEC. 17 Agricultural Initiative and Outreach Workshop Shellman

SEPT. 11 Seeds of Growth Conference Lawrenceville

FEB. 25 Georgia Organics/ UGA Small Business Development Center/UGA Cooperative Extension Workshop: Starting a Small Farm Business, Watkinsville

SEPT. 24 Auburn Commercial Horticulture Cooperative Extension Training Opelika, Ala. OCT. 3 New and Beginning Farmer Conference Watkinsville OCT. 12-16 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program Conference McAllen, TX

MARCH 13 Presentation to Georgia Food Policy Council—Production and Distribution Work Group Atlanta

EXHIBITING/TRAINING

Savannah, Oct. 1, 2013 FARM TO SCHOOL WORKSHOP

This Farm to School Workshop in Savannah was a chance for teachers, chefs, parents, and farmers to connect with each other and learn more about hands-on cooking and gardening with kids. The workshop was a collaboration between Chatham County School Nutrition, PTA, Cooperative Extension, and the many teachers sustaining farm to school on the coast.

Valdosta, Jan. 25, 2014 SOUTH GEORGIA GROWING LOCAL CONFERENCE

The crowd at the South Georgia Growing Local Conference was a great mix of farmers, gardeners, and good food advocates, including several members of the South Georgia Permaculture Guild. Georgia Organics boardmember and organic peanut farmer Connie Hayes led a session about certification, and farmer/author Janisse Ray led a session about seed-saving.

The Farmer Services department continued its outreach to farmers by exhibiting at the major agricultural conferences and events in the Southeast, including the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo, the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference, and Southern SAWG’s annual conference. Georgia Organics also played key roles in each—which, in addition to coordinating the Organic Pavilion at Sunbelt, involved helping to organize the organic production track at SRFVC and participating in a roundtable on the future of regional farmer organizations at SSAWG. JAN. 8-12 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference Savannah JAN. 13 Northeast Georgia Farm 2 School Farmer Meeting Clarkesville JAN. 16-18 Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Conference Mobile, Ala. MARCH 11 UGA Cooperative Extension Organic Grain Production Training Tifton

USDA-ARS researchers Carroll Johnson and Dan Evarts demonstrating weed control equipment in Tifton.

needs to be a local thing and a global thing.”— Rachel Bean #greenacres twitter.com/georgiaorganics GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG 13


MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Wendy Crager, Crager Hager Farm Husband and wife Bryan Hager and Wendy Crager run Crager Hager Farm in Carroll County, Georgia. You can find them at the Cotton Mill Farmers Market, the Peachtree City Farmers Market, Little Hawaiian, Sunset Hills Country Club, or get their food delivered weekly by Farmers Fresh CSA. We talked to Wendy about why she and Bryan are committed to growing organically and why they're members of Georgia Organics.

Why are you members of Georgia Organics? It’s a great umbrella organiza-

Why do you farm organically? Bryan

and I come at it from the perspective of being environmental activists–we’ve worked on enough issues to know we don’t want to mess with chemicals. The entire hazardous materials production process–whether you’re talking about manufacturing or waste–is problematic. In my mind, why go through the labor of growing your own stuff if you’re not going to do it organically? Everybody that comes to the farm and sees the bounty of what we’re doing is impressed. The best feedback to hear is when our market customers come back the next week and say “I can’t believe kale could taste so sweet and amazing,” or “Those strawberries remind

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THE DIRT SPRING 2014

me of when I was at grandma’s house eating her strawberries.” They come back with a twinkle in their eye – it brings back those memories of what things should taste like.

MEMBERS MAKE OUR PROGRAMS A REALITY!

Join Georgia Organics Today! WWW.GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG

tion to help connect farmers with customers. Georgia Organics does great outreach in all directions, whether it’s for new rules and legislation, getting customers excited about real food, or for farmers with the conference and all the on-farm workshops. It’s the go-to organization that brings us all together. One time I remember I came back from a Georgia Organics workshop on growing shiitake mushrooms, and I’m like, “we gotta do that!” Bryan first just kinda rolled his eyes, and now 5 years later, we’ve got 300 shiitake logs. There’s always something inspirational that we bring back to the farm from a Georgia Organics event and utilize. It may not be a brand new crop, but it’s something on weed control or some new variety of crop that doesn’t bolt so quickly or some tool that makes planting twice as fast. ________________________________ Read the entire interview on our blog at www.georgiaorganics.org


Organizations Did you know that you can support Georgia Organics in your company’s employee giving campaign? You can donate to Georgia Organics through EarthShare of Georgia and have a small donation taken out of your paycheck, which adds up to a significant contribution at the end of the year! Call Alice to enroll: 678.702.0400

Events Calendar Have an event coming up? Send information to brooke@georgiaorganics.org. For more events, check out the calendar on our website: georgiaorganics.org/goevents/

APRIL 26 Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference, Duluth Join farmers, slaughter plants, students, extension agents, food systems advocates, and others to learn more about sustainable meat production. This day-long conference will be held at the Gwinnett Center, and will cover topics specific to the sustainable meat industry such as production and processing, marketing and business strategies, and consumer outreach and education. For more information, go to www. southeasternsustainablelivestock.org. APRIL 26-27 Georgia Organics Member Weekend at Preserving Place, Atlanta Need to grab something for mom for Mothers’ Day? Come on out all weekend to Preserving Place to get a Georgia Organics members-only 10 percent discount (Super secret discount code: strawberry jam). If you drop by on Saturday from 1:30-4:30 p.m., you’ll also get a chance to snack on some local, organic products, wine, and enter to win a free canning class. For more information about Preserving Place, check out www.preservingplace.com. APRIL 26 Benderdinker: A Festival on the Water, Evans This festival on the water supports slow foods & silent sports. Enjoy live music and local foods all from your canoe & kayak, as well as eight food & music stops along a four mile island and a whole menu of locally grown foods from the water. For more information, go to www.benderdinker.com.

CONEX Recycling Corporation is one of the Southeast’s leading recycling solutions. Choose Conex to serve your recycling needs for • apartment and condominium communities • small businesses, major corporations & government entities • hotels, hospitals & campuses • and special events!

Georgia Organics is proud to be the fiscal partner for The Homestead Atlanta, an educational resource that has forged a community around urban homesteading.

APRIL 19 Design Your Edible Landscape Offered in conjunction with the Atlanta Beltline Partnership and Trees Atlanta, this workshop will help you transform your backyard into a food forest that's as delicious as it is beautiful. Learn how to use the land you have to your advantage and how to design the growing space you've always wanted. Apply key permaculture and smart design principles in a guided design of a landscape like yours. Make Atlanta more resilient and delicious - starting with your yard.

APRIL 26 & 27 Weekend Immersion: Build a Pack Basket Want to feel like a total boss at the farmer's market? Carry your finds in a super sweet pack basket of your creation. Get to know the basics of basket making and create a project as beautiful as it is functional that you'll be proud to show off.

Georgia Organics members get reduced rates. THEHOMESTEADATL.COM

MAY 3 White Oak Pastures Mushroom Cultivation Workshop, Bluffton Learn about mushroom life cycles and various methods for the cultivation of different species of culinary mushrooms. Hands-on activities will include inoculating hardwood logs and propagating oyster mushroom spawn. Each participant will take home a bag of propagated oyster spawn with instructions on how to grow their own oyster mushrooms. Participants will learn about safety when foraging for wild mushrooms and how to use a dichotomous key for wild mushroom identification. For more information, go to www.georgiaorganics. org/goevents/ MAY 29 Spring Team Agriculture Workshop, Douglas This free, one-day workshop for small, beginning, and limited resource farmers will cover: Grazing management; organic certification; financing small farms; olive production; USDA / Farm Bill update, and more. For more information, email neal.leonard@ ga.usda.gov. JUNE 10 Feel Good Tuesday at Yeah! Burger, Atlanta Where else can you support GO Farmers twice in one night? Grab some pals and meet us out at Yeah! Burger in Virginia Highlands form 6-10 p.m., and 10% of the proceeds will go straight to us. (And see if you can spot the GO farmers on the sourcing board while you’re there!) For more information on Yeah! Burger, visit www.yeahburger.com. JUNE 14-15 OMG! Oh My Georgia Festival and Farmers Market, Perry We will have arts and crafts, home made Georgia products and fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables! Come on out and support your local Georgia businesses. Georgia Organics members get a 20 percent vendor booth discount! For more information, go to www.peachstatewomen.net. JUNE 28-29 Georgia Mountains Farm Tour, Rabun, Habersham, White, & Stephens counties Tour some of Northeast Georgia's best sustainable farms, share conversation over farm-fresh meals, and grab some produce along the way! Your farm tour ticket purchase helps the Georgia Mountains Farmers Network purchase shared equipment, group insurance, and serve as a place for sharing new ideas and innovations for successful farms. This event is sponsored in part by Georgia Organics. For more information, check out georgiamfn.blogspot.com.

GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG 15


WHO IS FARM TO SCHOOL IN HABERSHAM COUNTY?

FARMERS

TEACHERS

SCHOOL NUTRITION STAFF CHEFS

STATE AGENCIES

STUDENTS

DISTRIBUTOR

ADMINISTRATION

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

WHY WE'RE COMMITTED TO FARM TO SCHOOL Our mission statement here at Georgia Organics is to connect organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families. So where does farm to school fall into that vision? Georgia Organics is committed to farm to school because feeding students fresh, local food, and teaching them where it comes from will give us healthy kids, healthy communities, and healthy futures. Students these days are more removed from where their food comes from, which makes it critically important to educate them the on the value of organic agriculture; they will literally be the consumers who decide what kind of future food system will thrive in Georgia. Farm to school also presents important market opportunities for our state’s organic growers. School districts have huge buying power; school cafeterias are often the biggest restaurant in town. The food served is grown somewhere, and the more that’s grown close to home, the better. The food is fresher, and for every $1 spent locally, $3 ends up circulating in that community’s economy. But health and economic benefits aren’t all that commit us to farm to school. Kids learn something very important when they grow a tomato themselves, or they eat one for lunch that was grown by a farmer they’ve met: They learn where food comes from. In our current out-of-sight food system, it’s easy to believe that food comes from the store. Caring for a plant for weeks, waiting to eat the literal fruits of their labors, students learn that producing food is hard work. And a field trip to a farm or a taste test served by a farmer shows students there is a face behind their food, and there is land in their community that helps sustain them. Farm to school programs make the youngest in our state a little bit more aware. They are already nudging their parents toward fresh, whole food. When they buy for themselves, where do you want them spending their money?

Kids learn something very important when they grow a tomato themselves.

Members make our programs a reality!

Join Georgia Organics Today! WWW.GEORGIAORGANICS.ORG

Georgia Organics' The Dirt, Spring 2014  

Growing the next generation: A look at our 2013 farm-to-school successes.

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