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September 17--  The Montgomery County School System is one of 90 school systems in Georgia to win a "Farm to School" Golden Radish Award this year.

The awards program was started four years ago by Georgia Organics to raise awareness for Georgia's "Farm to School" programs. The awards ceremony was held Tuesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

radishaward(L-R) Dr. Beverly Faircloth, Regina Harris and Ursula Spence

Regina Harris, Nutrition Director for Montgomery County schools, says School Superintendent Hugh Kight recommended using a courtyard space at the elementary school to help students learn how to garden, "They learn how to prepare the ground, they plant the produce and then harvest it.  We're trying to build better nutrition habits in our kids so they don't think the best way to eat is at fast food restaurants. We want them to experience a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.  It tastes better and it's better for you."

In addition to the garden, School Principal Dr. Beverly Faircloth says some chickens, rabbits and goats also share the farmyard, "The children actually look outside and hear the rooster crowing each morning and it's not unusual to see either Dixie or Lilly, one of our goats, sticking their heads up to the window to see what the children are doing inside.  They know the hard work pays off for taking responsibility for what we eat and what we grow.  They've fallen in love with the animals and they love to help take care of them."

Ursula Spence of Vidalia works with Community Health Works and collaborated with Georgia Organics to include the Montgomery County School System in the statewide recognition program which is also supported by the Georgia Departments of Agriculture, Education and Public Health, the UGA Cooperative Extension Service and the Department of Early Care and Learning.