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BCSD Receives $50,000 Farm to School Turnkey Grant from USDA

Updated: Aug 16, 2022




The Baldwin County School District has been awarded a $50,000 Farm to School Turnkey Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is one of only 123 organizations in the nation to receive the grant this year, and the only school district in Georgia.


"I tell everybody that most grants are gotten when you're already doing the work," said Aketi Mayweather, the wellness coordinator and garden project manager for the Baldwin County School District, "So we're already doing the work. We have gardens at all of our schools, so we're very excited about the possibility of expanding those gardens."


The grant specifically allows for the use of hydroponics and aquaponics within the District's STEAM labs. Hydroponics refers to the growth of vegetables using only water and minerals, and aquaponics refers to the growth of vegetables using waste from fish, which is actually fertilizer. "So all of our students who are part of the STEAM program will have the opportunity to participate in these different mediums of growing," said Mayweather, "not only will this help us to teach students that there are other ways to grow food, but it also helps us to meet our STEAM requirements."




Most grants are gotten when you're already doing the work, so we're already doing the work. We have gardens at all of our schools, so we're very excited about the possibility of expanding those gardens.

The Farm to School Turnkey Grant is another example of the larger importance of grant funding throughout the district, and comes right on the heels of a similar grant won by Stephanie Coxwell for Midway Hills Academy and former FoodCorps Service member Alfreda Sarinana.


The mission statement for their grant is reflective of the BCSD’s larger mission, “By creating a Steam garden, we are making learning intentional and educational by creating hands-on life skills, building opportunities that would benefit them not only in their school career but possibly with future work in their community. With Milledgeville being a rural community, we want to expose children to fresh foods and different cultural foods that they normally wouldn’t try. With the garden expansion that we are working towards we hope to eventually expand from a school garden to a community garden."

The Georgia Shape Grant is the Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Child Health and Wellness program which awards grant funding to assist local schools with expanding and enhancing their physical activity and nutrition efforts. Lakeview Academy also received a Georgia SHAPE grant last year thanks to the efforts of former FoodCorps Service member Nicole Blyskal.


"We have been very blessed, not only to receive federal grants but also state grants, which include the Georgia Shape grant," Mayweather said, "We've also had anonymous donors. We've recently received a $10,000 anonymous donor grant. We've had sponsors support different aspects of our program. Georgia Power helped us with the fencing. The Milledgeville Rotary Club provided funding for all of our butterfly gardens. We have had wonderful community partners help us with this project. We could not do it without the funding that comes from them and from grants of this nature."





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