Listen Along with HSC: Inside School Food Radio Goes to Georgia

January 14, 2015

Read along as we discuss the latest episode of our new favorite radio show: Inside School Food with food journalist Laura Stanley.

Here at HSC, we love a good conversation about school food. In part, that’s because it’s about so much more than it seems: The topic of school food connects to issues as wide-ranging as health disparities, transportation systems, farming practices and our values as a society.

Now, we have a new place to indulge our love for a lunchroom chat: the Inside School Food radio program. The show is hosted by Laura Stanley, a food journalist, school food advocate and longtime friend of HSC. It’s a treat to follow along as she delves into the details of school food with a diverse group of interesting and engaged guests. The episodes are brief, entertaining and informative. We fully recommend it! You can listen live (Mondays at 11 a.m. EST) or download the episodes and listen later. We’ll be sharing our thoughts and observations on a few episodes here on HSC’s blog.

Today, we listen along to Episode 20: This Radish is Golden.

“Trophies are part of the school culture,” says host Laura Stanley early in this episode. “Communities are very proud when their districts win something.”

This motivation is at the heart of the Golden Radish Award presented by Georgia Organics, a nonprofit that emphasizes the comprehensive nature of farm to school, from field trips and classroom education to local produce in the cafeteria. Erin Croom, Georgia Organics farm to school director, chats with Laura about how the Golden Radish Award recognizes schools at all levels, so a school taking exceptional first steps can earn recognition next to a district taking a comprehensive program to the next level.

“We know if kids have an opportunity to grow it, to taste it and to cook it, they’re going to love it,” says Croom. “It doesn’t matter if it’s kale, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, you name it. With that type of activity, they’re going to love it. But we also know that doesn’t happen overnight. We need the systems and policies in place to support those opportunities for kids.”

We couldn’t agree more. We believe recognition programs play a powerful role in rewarding and motivating school leaders to try new health-promoting programs and to put systems in place that can make those changes last.

HSC presents two recognition programs: the Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities and the School Nurse Leadership Award. We also support and promote national recognition programs such as the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge and the Dept. of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program.

The applications for these awards can provide a structure for schools to use in building their programs and can offer ideas for areas to improve.

Later in this episode, we hear from a school leader who found the Golden Radish Award program helpful in doing just that. Dr. Kathy Peavy of Bleckley County Public Schools shares her take on developing a comprehensive farm to school program that was recognized at the silver level in this year’s Golden Radish Awards.

The award application “did a wonderful job categorizing” the elements of farm to school, she explains, as well as “highlighting additional things that could be done.”

Dr. Peavy goes on to relate stories about connecting with a farmer three miles from school who now supplies whole wheat flour for the school’s freshly-baked rolls, and about serving boiled peanuts during the weeks when nearby farmers are leaving peanuts to dry in the sun. Students simply “get it” when they smell peanuts in the field on their way to school then eat them in the cafeteria, she said.

You can listen to the full episode here. Check it out and let us know what you think!