Friday, June 14, 2024
HomeOrganic FoodFarmer Champion Program Ventures into Higher Education in 2024  — The Dirt

Farmer Champion Program Ventures into Higher Education in 2024  — The Dirt



This expansion is made possible through our work as part of the Georgia ACRE Collective:  Advancing Agriculture, Community, Resilience & Equity through Values-Based Procurement, launched in 2022 with generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation. The work is powered by collaboration with fellow members of the ACRE Collective, The Common Market Southeast, Health Care Without Harm, The Conservation Fund’s Working Farms Fund, the Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.  

Kayla Williams (they/them), Farmer Champion Senior Coordinator, highlights the significance of this initiative: “Nationally, college and university food service programs make up an $18 billion industry. Channeling a portion of this industry into our local, sustainable food system in Georgia can have a big impact on our local economy, environment, farmer equity, and student health. We’re excited to work with our partners to make this vision a reality.”  

In the first expansion year, the ACRE Collective will start purchase verification and celebrations with a pilot group of colleges and universities. Representatives from Agnes Scott University, Emory University, and Georgia Tech have already supported in shaping the program’s structure. We’re getting ready to welcome the first cohort of Farmer Champion universities in June 2024, with awardees featured in the existing Farmer Champion online directory and celebrated in August 2024.  

About the Farmer Champion Program  
Launched in 2019 with support from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services’ Local Food Promotion Program, Georgia Organics’ Farmer Champion program verifies and celebrates members of the food service community dedicated to supporting local and organic agriculture in Georgia. Originally focused on farm-to-table restaurants, caterers, pop-up businesses, and Early Care and Education centers (ECEs), the program has grown to bridge the gap between food service workers and local agricultural producers. “Local” for the Farmer Champion program includes anywhere within the state of Georgia or within 100 miles of the Georgia border in any direction.  

If your college or university is interested in participating in the Farmer Champion Awards, reach out to Kayla Williams at kayla@georgiaorganics.org.  

 Together, let’s sow the seeds of a brighter, more sustainable future for the health of our communities and the land.

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