Saturday, March 2, 2024

GISD Child Nutrition awarded highest honor in TDA’s Farm Fresh Challenge

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The Granbury Independent School District’s Child Nutrition department is un-beet-able following its recent Best of the Bunch Award in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Farm Fresh Challenge.

Last October, GISD chose to participate in the challenge, which requires Texas school districts to put farm-fresh products on the school menu and educate students about where certain foods come from.

Director of Child Nutrition Amy Whiteley explained that last year, GISD only did the challenge for one week and received the Prime Participant Recognition Award. This year, however, Whiteley decided to participate in the challenge for the whole month of October.

"We just wanted to see if it was something that we could do, and we were successful with it, so then we decided we're gonna go ahead and do Best of the Bunch, which is the four weeks,” she said. “We do try to incorporate local grown foods as much as we can through our regular distributor depending on what's available and what the cost is.”

Whiteley explained that GISD had to put one Texas-grown product on the school menu every day for those four weeks in October to be eligible for the award. Take-home flyers were also created for the students as well as social media posts that contained information about each product.

GISD was the recipient of the Best of the Bunch Award for serving Texas grown items including milk, hydroponic lettuce, watermelon and whole grain gingerbread cookies.

“I think it's really cool what Texas Department of Agriculture is doing with Farm Fresh, because there's so many children that don't understand where their food comes from,” Whiteley said. “It's important for them to learn, for instance, green beans don't come from a can; they actually come from the ground and farmers have to really work hard to get them that food. I think it's kind of just been a lost concept of where our food comes from with these generations.”

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller recognized 107 Contracting Entities (CEs) for achievements in the 2023 Farm Fresh Challenge. Participants purchased $13.86 million of Texas grown and produced menu items and gave 2.67 million children the opportunity to learn more about Texas agriculture, according to squaremeals.org.

For achieving Best of the Bunch status, GISD will receive:

  • A certificate of recognition signed by Commissioner Sid Miller
  • A personalized letter for superintendents or equivalent positions, signed by Commissioner Sid Miller
  • A personalized letter for child nutrition directors or equivalent positions, signed by Assistant Commissioner Lena Wilson
  • A recognition toolkit complete with an executive level summary and marketing including social media post suggestions, a template press release and a digital badge
  • A Farm Fresh lapel pin
  • A physical award

For more information about the Farm Fresh Challenge, visit squaremeals.org.