Wednesday, March 04, 2015

We're Having a Food Fight!

Are you ready for a good food fight?

Then we hope you'll join us on Saturday, March 28th in the cafeteria of Barrow Elementary School (100 Pinecrest Drive) as local chefs take on the School Lunch Challenge -- creating tasty dishes that meet USDA requirements for the National School Lunch Program for attendees to sample!

Building on the increased public interest in school lunches, and inspired by the ongoing exhibition, Food, Power, Politics: The Story of School Lunch currently on display in our gallery, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the Clarke County School District, the Athens Land Trust, Athens Farm to School, and UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences have partnered to plan a fun, educational event to engage the Athens community with the past, present, and future of the National School Lunch Program. 

The centerpiece of this event will be a cooking competition which invites participating teams, drawn from local restaurants and non-profit organizations, and advised by members of the Clarke County School District (CCSD) nutrition staff, to create dishes in accordance with USDA guidelines for the National School Lunch Program. Each team will create plates including meat/meat alternate, grain, and vegetable components that can appeal to a K-12 audience. Event attendees will be invited to a sample-size serving of each plate created, and will vote for a crowd favorite in each category. A panel of student judges drawn from CCSD schools will vote to determine an overall winner. The winning team’s plate will be incorporated into the CCSD school lunch menu during the 2015-2016 school year.

Attendees can also pick up information and talk to local representatives about sustainable agriculture, community gardens, and farm to school programs in the Athens community, and explore a display of materials related to the history of the National School Lunch Program. 

Competing teams will include The National, Heirloom CafĂ© and Fresh Market, newly opened Goodie Two Shoes, and the non-profit Athens Land Trust. Each team has been paired with one of the four local middle schools, and encouraged to incorporate that school’s colors, mascot, or other identifying features into their dish or plate presentation. The event will be free to the public but attendance will be capped at 150 people. Tickets are available through the Eventbrite website

Members of the planning committee hope parents and families associated with the local school system, as well as community groups and individuals interested in school lunch and related food initiatives will come out to the event. But, they hope that anyone who has a passion for healthy, delicious food will join the fun. 

“We hope to engage the Athens community with the topic of school lunch, providing some information about the history of the program, and helping to connect that history to the ongoing changes to the program through recent legislation on the federal level,” said organizer Jan Hebbard, outreach archivist at the Russell Library. “Hopefully this is a chance for community members to have some fun and also get a better understanding of school lunch locally, especially ongoing efforts to incorporate community gardens and local produce into cafeterias in CCSD.”

For more information, contact Jan Hebbard at or (706) 542-5788. To obtain tickets visit

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