Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Recognizes School Gardens with “Golden Shovel” Awards

Jun 02, 17 Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Recognizes School Gardens with “Golden Shovel” Awards

Contact the Office of Communications: (850) 617-7737 • Communications@FreshFromFlorida.com

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services today announced the winners of the third annual Florida Farm to School “Golden Shovel” Awards, which recognize Florida students, educators and community members for their extraordinary school garden efforts. The five award categories include: Best New Garden, Best Revitalized Garden, Best Use of Produce, Most Community Involvement and Most Creative Learning Environment.

Applicants to the “Golden Shovel” Awards implemented numerous innovative gardening methods, including: irrigated raised beds, hoop houses, hydroponic towers, fruit tree orchards and aquaponics systems. Produce from the school gardens was featured in student and teacher meals, donated to the community and taken home for the weekend. The program received applications from 20 counties.

Numerous schools showcased fully integrated school garden programs that featured outdoor classrooms with decorative pergolas and arbors, butterfly gardens and atriums, as well as native wetlands and shoreline restoration projects.

Tallahassee School of Math and Science in Leon County: Best New Garden, Secondary Division

Tallahassee School of Math and Science in Leon County: Best New Garden, Secondary Division

The recipients of the 2017 “Golden Shovel” Awards are:

• Best New Garden

• Primary Division: Loughman Oaks Elementary, Polk County

• Secondary Division: Tallahassee School of Math and Science, Leon County

• Best Revitalized Garden

• Primary Division: Palmetto Elementary, Miami-Dade County

• Secondary Division: Santa Fe High School, Alachua County

• Best Use of Produce

• Primary Division: West Melbourne School for Science, Brevard County

• Secondary Division: Osceola Middle School, Marion County

• Most Community Involvement

• Primary Division: Dommerich Elementary, Orange County

• Secondary Division: Osceola Middle School, Marion County

• Most Creative Learning Environment

• Primary Division: Lawton Elementary, Seminole County

• Secondary Division: Sickles High School, Hillsborough County

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services operates the state’s school nutrition program, including school breakfast, lunch, Summer BreakSpot and the HealthierUS School Challenge certification program, in all 67 counties. In the past four years, the department has worked with dozens of schools across the state to implement and support school gardens. In addition, the department began its own garden in Tallahassee that helps educate students, teachers and parents about how to start and maintain a school garden.

For more information about the school garden program at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, please visit FreshFromFlorida.com/FarmtoSchool.

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