On September 7th, the Georgia Farm-to-School Alliance held its first in-person gathering in nearly three years. Baldwin was chosen as the meeting place because of the work that these various organizations have done to promote the connection between agriculture and education throughout the Baldwin School District.
Representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Corps, Department of Early Childcare and Learning, the Georgia Department of Education, local farmers, and many others, boarded buses outside of Baldwin High School before taking a tour of some of the District's school gardens. Afterward, everyone came together for a special luncheon prepared by the students of the Baldwin High School culinary arts program with many vegetables taken from its own garden. There were remarks from Georgia Power and Georgia College representatives as well.
What began as a single garden at the high school has extended to every single Baldwin County District School, and has had a major impact on the motivation of students who see it as an opportunity to work outdoors. "For some students, just like sports, or the fine arts, coming to work in the garden is their motivation for coming to school," Dr. Price said.
Baldwin County has been aggressive in its pursuit of grant funding and programming options for our students in agriculture, owing much of its success to the works of School Nutrition Director Susan Nelson and Wellness Coordinator Aketi Mayweather. "When I got here in 2018, there was no vegetable garden," Mayweather said during her presentation before the Alliance, "Oak Hill Middle school had a couple of raised beds but there was nothing planted in them. Now, all seven of our schools have gardens, including our satellite site at Georgia College Early College. We have row gardens at three of our schools as well as three greenhouses, which will house our aquaponics growing system."