My Plate is Georgia Grown
By Zippy Duvall
Summer is almost here, and if you’re like me, you can’t wait to start eating homegrown tomatoes and other fresh vegetables. If you don’t grow your own garden, I encourage you to check out our Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm Markets. Find a market near you that offers the Georgia commodity you’re craving and pay them a visit!
Georgia Farm Bureau has been connecting Georgia farmers with consumers since 1985 when we started our certified farm market program to help farmers sell their commodities directly to the public.
In the past year, the Georgia Department of Agriculture has relaunched its Georgia Grown program, which promotes Georgia farmers, their commodities and ag products made in our great state. Because we share the goal of helping Georgia farmers, we’ve joined forces with the Department of Agriculture to launch a new cooking segment, “Meals from the Field,” that will air monthly on our weekly television show, “Georgia Farm Monitor.”
The segment features Department of Agriculture staff who have developed recipes featuring in-season produce provided by GFB Certified Farm Markets. The first segment featuring Georgia strawberries has already aired. If you didn’t catch it, you can view it on the Monitor’s YouTube Channel.
Our Farm Bureau members who farm are familiar with the “Georgia Farm Monitor,” but for our members who don’t, this is a great way for you to learn about Georgia agriculture, the farmers who grow your food and how we grow it. Visit this page for a schedule of stations and times the Monitor airs.
Eating healthy is on everyone’s mind these days. We’re hearing more and more about the importance of getting our children to eat fruits and vegetables and less junk food to lower childhood obesity rates. Realizing this, Farm Bureau is kicking off a statewide educational campaign through our Ag in the Classroom program that will teach children proper nutrition habits as recommended by the USDA Choose My Plate program.
Volunteer leaders in our county Farm Bureaus will be visiting schools in the coming year to encourage students to eat fruit and vegetables using kid-friendly recipes such as “snakes” made of apple slices and veggie men made of raw vegetables. They’ll also throw in some educational information about how farmers grow fruits and vegetables so that children will know where their food comes from.
You can visit the USDA Choose My Plate website to get tips on healthy eating and participate in our “My Plate is Georgia Grown” campaign with your families at home.
You may have joined Farm Bureau to gain access to the member benefits our organization offers such as insurance or discounts on hotels, Ford vehicles and theme parks, but I hope you take pride in knowing your membership helps support the efforts Farm Bureau makes to promote Georgia agriculture through programs like our certified farm markets and Ag in the Classroom.
Even if you don’t farm, agriculture is important to you as a consumer. As long as we have a stable food supply that is produced in the U.S., we won’t be at the mercy of foreign countries. We are blessed to enjoy the highest food safety standards in the world.
Agriculture is also important to you as a consumer because of the economic contribution it makes to our state economy. Farming and ag businesses generated a total economic impact of $71.1 billion for Georgia and created more than 359,000 jobs in 2011.When agriculture thrives, the economies of rural communities across the state also thrive, and this is good for all Georgians.
If by some chance you’re reading my column and aren’t a Farm Bureau member, I encourage you to visit our website at www.gfb.org and check out our many programs and member benefits. I hope you’ll like what you see and become a member. It’s easy to join, just click on the icon near the top of the page that says JOIN NOW and follow the steps. You can also visit one of the 158 county Farm Bureau offices located across Georgia.
Farmers are God’s hand as they till the land and harvest the crops. As you sit down to enjoy a family meal, please thank a farmer; but remember, the farmer is only a servant whom God has blessed with a talent to produce the food and fiber we enjoy every day.
I’m reminded of Isaiah 62:9, which says, “But they that gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord.”
God is truly in control and is responsible for all good things in this life. He is responsible for farmers and the crops they harvest. Praise God!
(Zippy Duvall, a farmer from Greene County, is president of the Georgia Farm Bureau, the state's largest general farm organization.)
© 2013 Georgia Farm Bureau Federation
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