Georgia has a vision for the future of school nutrition: bringing farmers across the state together with the next generation of consumers.
Launched in late 2015, the 2020 Vision project aims to serve every meal in school cafeterias with at least 20 percent Georgia-grown products by 2020. The program also challenges 20 percent of schools to reach the 50 percent mark for their menu offerings. This project is a partnership between Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who came up with the initial idea, and Georgia’s School Superintendent Richard Woods.
The Department of Public Health is helping with promotion and planning, emphasizing the importance of good health for children. Kathy Peavy, assistant director of the School Nutrition Division for the Georgia Department of Education, is assisting with coordination.
Commissioner Black says that the project simply expands to students what the department is trying to accomplish in general with consumers.
“The notion of buying local and understanding the face behind the food you eat has grown more important to families in Georgia in recent years,” he says.
Kids are becoming more and more interested in where their food comes from, says Debra Morris, school nutrition program director for Jackson County Schools. Misty Friedman, school nutrition coordinator for the Georgia Department of Agriculture, adds that the economic impact of the project is an endless possibility.
“The 2020 program helps form relationships between farmers, producers and schools in their communities,” she says. “This also helps bring fresh, local Georgia products into our schools.”