2018-11-07 / News

Dojan named Farm to School Farmer of the Year

From Staff Reports

Lisa Dojan of Fisheads Aquaponics Lisa Dojan of Fisheads Aquaponics Burke County’s Farm to School program continues to excel, and one of our very own received a prestigious honor recently for her work with the program.

Lisa Dojan of Fisheads Aquaponics was recently named the Farm to School Farmer of the Year during the Golden Radish Awards. The awards program honors Georgia school districts for best practices in farm to school programs. Best practices include local food procurement, exposing students to new foods through taste tests and incorporating cooking and gardening activities into class curriculums. This year, the Golden Radish Partners – Georgia Organics, Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture (GDOA), Education (GaDOE), Public Health (GDPH), Early Care and Learning (DECAL) and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension (UGA Extension) presented an Outstanding District Award and five new awards to recognize farm to school innovation, one of which was the farmer of the year award.

“This is very exciting for us,” said Kara LeClair, who serves as the farm to school dietitian for Burke County. “We get to claim that we have THE farmer of the year in the whole state of Georgia right here in Burke County. We are so lucky to have Lisa; she is always more than willing to take time out of her busy day taking care of her greenhouses to spend time teaching kids in the classroom. She is always so wonderful to work with and brings a lot to Burke County.”

Other highlights in the Burke County Public School System’s farm to school program include:

 Peas, collards, lettuce, whole wheat rolls, cornbread, and stone-ground grits are all local items and district favorites among students and staff. Anyone can easily find out what food is local on the menu that day with Burke’s own “Harvest Bright” branding for local foods. During the winter months, school employees can place orders for local produce that will be delivered to their school during the holidays.

 Thirteen tower gardens were purchased last year so students could have continuous access to garden fresh foods right in the classroom. Taste tests turned into “harvest parties,” where the food was prepared in classrooms on the “Charlie Cart,” a mobile, hands-on cooking station.

 A variety of partnerships have been the key to the success and expansion of farm to school at Burke County. These partnerships include Dojan as well as HealthMPowers, Tower Garden Representative Steven Lovell, the Farm to School Institute, Wholesome Wave Georgia, Southern Bank, Georgia Southern and Augusta University.

Eighty-four school districts, serving more than 1.3 million students in Georgia, are now participating in farm to school. These districts served more than 109 million school meals with local food items during the 2017-18 school year.

Georgia Organics has been a statewide leader in farm to school since 2007. Since then, communities across the state have embraced the benefits of bringing students and fresh, local food closer together.

During the 2017-2018 school year, Golden Radish school districts collectively conducted 13,013 taste tests, taught 61,297 standards based lessons, tended 1,197 school gardens, engaged students in 3,100 hands on cooking activities and involved parents and community members in 8,875 farm to school activities.

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