Garden Update: October 16

One of the things I love about my job is having the opportunity to watch things grow and change day to day… and experiencing that excitement with my children. Our squash just blossomed!!!

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Throwback: 2 Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, we were harvesting sweet potatoes and filming of chef demo with Chef Andrew from Atkins Park!

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Garden Update: October 14

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Calling for Sponsors for SPARK’s Compost Program

Starting on the first day of the second semester, Springdale Park students will begin sorting their trash in the cafeteria to reduce the waste they are contributing to the landfill. All food scraps and lunch trays will be set aside in a 32-gallon rolling bin. That bin will then be picked up by Compost Wheels once a week and Compost Wheels will compost our food scraps for us offsite. They can ensure that 100% of our food scraps are composted into useable soil rather than our program being limited by the capacity of our space and resources at the school. Within our existing program, we are unable to compost the lunch trays at school so they can provide that service as well. Compost Wheels delivers the compost back to the school so that would cut down in our costs of maintaining our garden and show the kids exactly how we are closing the loop and creating less waste by using our “trash” to turn into “treasure.”

Compost Wheels is an Atlanta-based company, founded by David Paull. David spent some time at SPARK educating our kids on the benefits of composting. See the photos and activities here: A Visit from Compost Wheels. He has also been a speaker at Family Science Night for the past few years!

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This service with Compost Wheels is $27.00/week for a 32 gallon bin, picked up once each week. We are looking for sponsors to fund each week of the school year – We have approximately 27 weeks left of school. To donate, please go to http://springdaleparkelementary.org/wp/ (and fill in “Mobley” under “Teacher Name” so the funds can be allocated appropriately). Thank you for supporting our compost program at Springdale Park!

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Walk to School Day!

On September 28, an estimated 100,000 people (that’s 25% of the city of Atlanta!) took to the streets of Virginia Highland and Poncey Highland for Atlanta Streets Alive – an initiative of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to create more livable Atlanta streets for people to play, walk, bike, breathe, and make their own.

On October 8, Springdale Park Elementary School students took to the streets for International Walk to School Day sponsored by Safe Routes to School and the Clean Air Campaign with a goal of meeting or exceeding the precedent that Atlanta Streets Alive set with 25% participation.

Thank you to Ms. Perry’s second grade class for collecting the data, Grace Langan (5th grade) for crunching the numbers, and Callan Cucchi (5th grade) for creating a bar graph to show the percentage of participants in each grade level. As you can see below, 168 of our 670 students total walked to school which is 25.01% of our school – meeting our goal!

Thank you to everyone at Springdale Park Elementary School that showed their support for safer, healthier, more livable streets by walking to school on International Walk to School Day!

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Captain Planet: Learning Gardens Workshop

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Green Team Newsletter: October Edition

The SPARK Green Team has published the first edition of their “Green Team Gazette.” This month’s theme was “How do we make less trash?” Check out the articles below written by all of our green team members!

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Trees Atlanta: October Visit

Trees Atlanta came to visit today! 3rd graders spent time with their adopted trees observing their bark, leaves, and seeds.

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Golden Radish Award Ceremony

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Atlanta Public Schools Honored at State Capitol for Farm to School Achievements

ATLANTA— Atlanta Public Schools was recognized with the Golden Radish Award, a prestigious state-wide farm to school distinction which acknowledges the outstanding leadership of school representatives building comprehensive farm to school programs.

The school district was one of 30 honored at the state capitol for this extraordinary work by State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, and Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney.

Atlanta Public Schools was recognized at the Gold level for their accomplishments during the last school year, which include:

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 177 times this year. Local items included: romaine lettuce, carrots, strawberries, and apples. All schools also offered locally grown food 2-3 times a week as part of the reimbursable meal plan.
  • There are 53 edible school gardens evenly distributed throughout the district, including one high school garden with a greenhouse on school grounds.
  • Students participated in a total of 3,396 taste tests of 85 different locally grown fruits and vegetables this year, including grapefruit, muscadine, and green bell peppers.

School districts across Georgia are using farm to school programs to teach core curriculum, support their local economies, fight obesity and other preventable, food-related diseases, and increase the amount of local food they serve to their students.

The 2014 Golden Radish Award recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school during the 2013-2014 school year—from local food procurement to hosting taste tests to gardening with students—and is awarded at Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Honorary Levels to districts with varying levels of farm to school programs.

“When children are offered fresh, locally sourced foods, they are more prepared for learning today, and more likely to continue healthy habits tomorrow,” said Dr. Barge. “At the same time, their school is supporting local agriculture, which has been and will continue to be an anchor of Georgia’s economy. It’s a positive thing from so many angles.”

“With these great farm to school programs, including our Feed My School for a Week program, students discover the role agriculture plays in their daily lives,” said Commissioner Black. “These programs not only provide children more healthy alternatives and promote local producers, but also bring communities together for a great cause.”

“Poor nutrition can cause health problems, overweight and obesity,” said Dr. Fitzgerald. “Half or more of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, and farm to school programs have been shown to increase student consumption of these foods. The Georgia Department of Public Health has been a long-time partner and supporter of Georgia’s farm to school efforts and we’re pleased to see the movement’s leaders recognized today.”

“We are so proud of the school district leaders being recognized through the Golden Radish Award,” said Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney. “In reviewing the applications, it’s clear that farm to school programs are popping up all over Georgia, and that Georgia school districts are committed to continuing to grow and support thriving programs.”

The award publicly recognizes and honors school districts for their hard work in the variety of farm to school programs they offer students. Districts were evaluated on their work in ten different activities of farm to school.

The 30 school systems being recognized are:

Gold Level
Atlanta Public Schools
Burke County Public School System
Carrollton City Schools
City Schools of Decatur
Clarke County School District
Habersham County Schools
Jackson County School System
Laurens County Schools

Silver Level
Bibb County School District
Bleckley County School District
Fulton County Schools

Bronze Level
Commerce City Schools
Dougherty County School System
Forsyth County Schools
Grady County Schools
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System
Tift County Schools

Honorary Level
Barrow County School System
Cobb County School District
Crisp County School System
Decatur County Schools
DeKalb County School District
Gwinnett County Public Schools
Hall County Schools
Madison County School District
Marietta City Schools
Newton County Schools
Peach County Schools
Rabun County Schools
Richmond County School System

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Fresh Fruit Fridays: Grapes for Kindergarten!

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