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Garden Champion Initiative- New Team & Award Nominations!

Big news this month! We are starting a new collaborative initiative known as School Garden Champions to bring together teachers to shape district-wide curriculum and policy around garden-based learning. Presenting partners are the Athens Land Trust, Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful, the Athens-Clarke County Extension, and Grow It Know It in partnership with the Clarke County School District.

We are seeking one to two teachers from each school (Grades K to 12) to serve on our CCSD Garden Champion Team. Team members will attend a series of sessions focused on Garden Based Learning and receive information and materials to take back to their school. They will meet twice this school year and have the option to serve next year. 

The first meeting will be a fun field trip/orientation session at UGArden on February 27th from 4:30 to 6 PM. Dates of the subsequent sessions will be decided by the team. Please apply by February 9th. We will confirm team members by February 13, 2018.
School Produce Markets- 
Clark Middle School, Monday 4:15-6 PM
Hilsman Middle School, Wednesday 4:15-6 PM

The School Garden Network can be accessed by calling KACCB at 706-613-3501 x309 or emailing

Farm to School Champion Award Nominations

The Clarke County School District has received statewide and national recognition for its farm-to-school programs, which have positively impacted our students and district as a whole. We would like to recognize our schools, staff, and teachers that contribute to this achievement. The CCSD F2S Champions Awards recognizes the educators, staff, and community members who go above and beyond to make garden-based learning a success at the school level.  

We will be taking nominations until March 1, 2018. Selected leaders will be honored at the CCSD F2S Champions Awards, a catered ceremony, at the Athens Community Career Academy on March 21st.
See all menus and events for this month online.

Start indoors: Cucumbers, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Peppers Watermelon; Seeds: Arugula, Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, English Peas, Radishes, Spinach, Turnips.
January Tasks from the ACC Extension Office: 
  • Plan the garden to include various vitamin groups. Consider planting a few new varieties along with the old favorites.
  • Buy enough quality seed for two or three plantings to lengthen the season of production.
  • Take soil samples if you have not already done so,and take them to your county extension office for analysis.
  • Apply manure or compost and plow it under if you did not do so in the fall.
  • Apply lime, sulfur and fertilizer according to the soil-test results and vegetable requirements.
  • Get plant beds or seed boxes ready for growing plants such as tomato, pepper and eggplant. Have beds ready for planting in early February.
  • Check on your compost pile and make sure it is ready for use in the spring.
Find more information on garden care on the UGA Extension Publications Page.

Each month we bring you the summary of which local produce items are in the cafeteria and which ones can be planted or harvested from your gardens- but have you ever stopped to think about why? In the United States we are used to walking into a supermarket and being able to buy the fruits and veggies that we want irregardless of season. Spinach in summer? Strawberries in the middle of winter! Sourcing our food from far away makes this possible. Take some time to think about the phenomena of seasonality in our food.

See SNAP-ed for a list of seasonal fruits and veggies.

Middle School- Pick the Best! These are discussion prompts and activities to help get students thinking about seasonality in produce.

Activity 2 in the Nourish Curriculum has students sampling food, researching where it comes from, and filling in a seasonal circle. (Developed by the Center for Ecoliteracy)

See a trailer for Nourish: Food + Community the film.

Find more lessons (searchable by grade level and subject) at the UGA School Garden Resources Website


Eating from the garden this month: Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach

Aztec Grain Salad
Contributed by Massachusetts Farm to School

  • 2 qt 3 cups of Quinoa, dry
  • 1 gal 1 ½ qt of water
  • 2 qt 2 cups of fresh Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cubed ¾”
  • 3 qt 2 cups of fresh butternut squash, peeled, cubed ½”
  • ½ cup of canola oil
  • 2 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 12 oz of frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp 2 tsp of honey
  • 1 Tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2/3 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 qt of dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 qt of golden raisins, seedless, finely chopped
  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear, not cloudy.
  2. Combine quinoa and water in a covered stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until water is completely absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. When done, quinoa will be soft and a white ring will pop out of the kernel. The white ring will appear only when it is fully cooked. Refrigerate at 41° F or below.
  3. Combine apples, squash, and canola oil. Add half of the ginger and half of the cinnamon. Reserve remaining ginger and cinnamon for step 6. Toss well to coat.
  4. Transfer apple/squash mixture to a sheet pan (18” x 26” x 1”). For 50 servings, use 2 pans.
  5. Roast until squash is soft and slightly brown on the edges. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Conventional oven: 400° F for 15-20 minutes. Convection oven: 400° for 12-15 minutes.
  6. Combine orange juice concentrate, olive oil, honey, mustard, vinegar, salt, black pepper, white pepper, cilantro, and remaining ginger and cinnamon. Whisk dressing until combined.
  7. In steam table pan (12” x 20” x 4”) combine quinoa, apple/squash mixture, cranberries, raisins, and dressing. Mix well. For 50 servings, use 2 pans. Optional: garnish with additional chopped cilantro. Cover and refrigerate at 40° F to allow flavors to combine.
  8. CCP: Use pre-chilled shallow pans to cool from 135° F to 70° F within 2 hours. Cool to 41° F or lower within 4 hours. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Need materials to cook with in your classroom? Borrow the mobile cooking cart from the Office of Service Learning and/or contact a local chef to come cook with your class! Contact to learn more!

Shades of Green Athens Extension Gardening Newsletter, December
Free Garden Class, Pruning, January 24, ACC Library
Orchard Fruit Production/Pruning, January 29 and February 19, State Botanical Garden
Master Composter Class Registration, Classes start January 31st.
Bee Lab Lecture, February 2, State Botanical Garden of Georgia
Meals in the Middle, February 13, and April 10.
Georgia Organics Conference, February 16-17, Augusta, GA
Free Garden Class, Beekeeping, February 21, ACC Library
Garden Champion Team Session 1, February 27 4:30 to 6 at UGArden 
Environmental Education in Georgia Annual Conference,  March 2-4, Unicoi State Park
Garden Champion Awards, March 21, Career Academy
Advanced Training in Environmental Education (ATEEG)
Core Course 2 (Fostering Learning)- March 23-25, 2018. Register by March 12, 2018.
Core Course 3 (Assessment and Evaluation)-  June 8-10, 2018. Register by May 25, 2018.
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