Clear Creek Elementary Schools cafeteria will serve as a 2015-16 Georgia Grown Test

Kitchen. Promoting local and healthy eating in schools, this Georgia Department of

Agriculture program supplies school nutrition directors with healthy recipes using

Georgia Grown commodities.  Pam Blakeney, director of school nutrition for Bartow

County Schools, believes the most impactful aspect of the program is its ability to link nutrition and education.

“Currently, we obtain at least 20 percent of our fruits and vegetables from local sources. We are

excited about this new initiative, which will give us the opportunity to test recipes using the

fresh, locally grown food we already serve,” she said. “Also, students will have access to see

food preparation demonstrations at various times throughout the school year. I believe the

demonstrations and food samples may help broaden our students’ experience with healthy food.”

Once a month a new Georgia Grown recipe will be prepared for students to sample or select as a

part of their lunch meal. If a particular recipe is received well by the CCES students, the item

will be added to the menu for other schools as well.


The Georgia Grown Test Kitchen will help bridge the gap in the nutritional value and quality of

food served in Georgia schools, while providing more farm-to-cafeteria opportunities. The end

result will be healthier Georgia students, decreased barriers in farm-to-school efforts and

increased awareness as students learn and experience, both educationally and nutritionally, about

the production of their food. The recipes will contain information on how to source the products

used and nutritional content. In turn, the schools will provide feedback on the given recipes.



Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black hopes the program, which is in its second

year, will influence the buying habits of nutritional directors throughout the state.

“We are showing the ease that comes with purchasing local products for school systems, while

improving the nutritional value for students,” he said. “We look forward to working with these

schools this year to promote local and healthy eating in school systems throughout the state.”

The first test kitchen event is Thursday, Aug. 13, at CCES. Samples of watermelon punch will be

distributed to students during lunch from 10:45 a.m. to noon.  Last year 10 schools were chosen to

participate, with five schools added to the new roster. This

year’s additions also include:

  • Apalachee High School of Barrow County
  • Renfroe Middle School of City Schools of Decatur
  • Hickory Hills Elementary School of Marietta City Schools
  • Georgia State University Panther Dining