Friday, February 17, 2017

Campus and Community Partners to Host 3rd Annual School Lunch Challenge!

Local chefs will take on the School Lunch Challenge March 18, creating tasty dishes that meet USDA requirements for the National School Lunch Program. Attendees will have a chance to sample the creations at the cooking competition from 12-1:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Whitehead Road Elementary School.

Building on increased public interest in the National School Lunch Program, and inspired by the 2014 exhibition, Food, Power, Politics: The Story of School Lunch, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies and others partnered in 2015 to create a fun, educational event to engage the Athens community with the past, present, and future of school lunch. “Richard Russell co-sponsored the legislation which created the National School Lunch Program in 1946. We are glad to host this event, now an annual happening that draws attention to the NSLP today,” said organizer Jan Hebbard, outreach archivist at the Russell Library.
Chef Hugh Acheson demos a healthy recipe for attendees
at the 2016 School Lunch Challenge
The 2017 event will offer 200 free tickets to the general public, and offer hands-on activities and cooking demonstrations to attendees. Once again, the centerpiece of this event will be a cooking competition which invites participating teams, advised by nutritionists from the Clarke County School District (CCSD), to create dishes in accordance with USDA guidelines for the National School Lunch Program. 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 2017-2018 school year. 

Last year a team made up of family and consumer science teachers from the Clarke County School District was voted the overall winner by student judges. Led by Almeta Tuloss, program director for Seed Life Skills, a non-profit committed to revamping Family and Consumer Science curriculum, the team won over judges with a chicken and spinach pasta with lemon cream sauce alongside a mixed salad with orange vinaigrette. This recipe is scheduled to debut on the CCSD School Lunch Menu in Spring 2017. The CCSD teachers will return to defend their title against new competitors Taqueria del SolLast Resort Grill, and The Place.

Student judges rating dishes at the
2016 School Lunch Challenge
A variety of organizations connected to sustainable agriculture, community gardens, childhood nutrition and farm to school programs in the Athens area will host information tables at the event. A display of historical documents and artifacts related to the history of the National School Lunch Program will also be on display. 

The event is free and open to the public but only 200 tickets will be made available, beginning February 24 through the Eventbrite websiteThe 2017 School Lunch Challenge is sponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, the Clarke County School District, the Athens Land TrustAthens Farm to SchoolUGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences and Department of Foods and NutritionThe Fresh MarketEarthfareSeed Life Skills, and Heirloom Cafe.   

To register for tickets, visit 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Many Roles of the Georgia Department of Agriculture

The Russell Library recently opened the Tommy Irvin Papers for research. To date, Irvin is the longest-serving Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, helming the Department of Agriculture from 1969 until 2011. The papers of the previous commissioner, J. Phil Campbell (1954-1969) also reside at the Russell Library, giving researchers access to nearly 60 years of history of this critical Georgia department.
Figure 1: Photograph of Commissioner Irvin milking a cow at
the Capitol Building in Atlanta as part of Dairy Month celebration,
undated. Source: Series I, Box 10, Folder 25
So what exactly does the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) do? The department was founded in 1874, the first agency of its kind in the U.S. Initially charged with overseeing the production of and marketing of Georgia's agricultural commodities, they took on increasing regulatory authority through successive legislation and became a source for education for both consumers and farmers. Today their mission is "to protect consumers, promote agriculture both locally and globally and assist our customers using education, technology and a professional workforce."
Figure 2: Photograph of Commissioner Irvin with Jimmy Carter,
the National Watermelon Queen, and the Georgia
Watermelon Queen, undated. Source: Series I, Box 10, Folder 26.
Figure 3: Commissioner Irvin's annual Christmas card
with the Georgia Grown logo, circa 2002-04.
Source: Series I, Box 9, Folder 25.
Agriculture has developed into one of Georgia's leading industries. With a mild climate and a long growing season, Georgia farmers produce a wide range of products and are leading U.S. producers of poultry, pecans, peanuts, eggs, rye, and cotton, as well as being known for peaches, tomatoes, watermelons, and Vidalia onions. The GDA promotes Georgia's agricultural products through its Office of International Trade and Domestic Marketing. Commissioner Irvin was the first to establish overseas offices of the GDA to further develop international markets for Georgia products. Within the state, their "Georgia Grown" program is one of many initiatives that highlights Georgia products, including providing branding for local products and offering recipes for how to enjoy them, and the GDA operates a statewide system of farmers' markets to give producers a local market, including the Atlanta State Farmers Market, which started under Commissioner Campbell.

Figure 4: Cover of program for Georgia Agriculture
Day, 1997. Source: Series I, Box 1, Folder 9.
The department and the commissioners also promote Georgia agriculture and educate the public through participation at festivals and events around the state. One major event that the GDA puts on is Georgia Agriculture Day. This annual event brings together members of the General Assembly, 4-H and FFA students, representatives of various agricultural organizations, and the general public, providing groups with the chance to interact, learn from each other, and sample food. The event also features contents for the best food, student essay, and student art.

The GDA also plays an important role in consumer protection by maintaining safety and quality standards, enforcing regulations through licensing, and inspection. They have responsibility for the entire food production process, including the seeds, pesticides, and other components used to grow the food, livestock health, any facility where food is processed, stored, or sold, and the products themselves. They also have responsibility over nurseries and lawn care, exterminators, scales and fuel pump accuracy, and the pet and animal industries.
Figure 5: "Be Informed Before You Shop" pamphlet
produced by GDA for consumers about food safety, 1984.
Source: Series I, Box 4, Folder 27. 
One unique regulatory role for the GDA came with the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta when they had responsibility for monitoring the horses competing in the games. Controversy arose over whether horses with piroplasmosis, a blood-borne parasitic condition spread by ticks, should be permitted in the state. Concerned that attempting to ban these animals would result in an international decision forcing Georgia's hand, Irvin instead worked out a compromise that allowed the horses to compete while taking safety measures that prevented the spread of the illness.

The GDA also provides assistance to farmers through policy, research, and education.  Both Campbell and Irvin oversaw important disease eradication programs, including hog cholera (1971) and brucellosis and cattle tuberculosis (1974), and programs to control pests like screwworm and the fire ant. They also advocate for farming legislation and aid in the event of drought and other national disasters to keep Georgia agriculture competitive.
Figure 6: Photograph of Commissioner Irvin inspecting tobacco
leaves with two farmers, 1984. Source: Series I, Box 10, Folder 31.
So by helping the farmer, the consumer, and Georgia agricultural products, the Georgia Department of Agriculture significantly impacts the lives of everyone in Georgia, whether we realize it or not.

Post by Adriane Hanson, Digital Curation and Processing Archivist, Russell Library 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

ACLU of Georgia: Disability Rights

This is the sixth and final post in a series of posts about the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia Records, which were processed in 2015 and are now open for research. These records document the ACLU of Georgia's litigation, lobbying, and public education efforts to protect civil liberties for all Georgians. Their work, which began in 1963, involves issues such as freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, due process of law, and opposing discrimination against many groups. This post was written by Adriane Hanson, Digital Curation and Processing Archivist, and Shaniqua Singleton, a student at the UGA School of Law, who was instrumental in processing these papers.

Cover of handbook, "Your Rights in Georgia's
Mental Health Facilities," by the Georgia
Division of Mental Health, undated.
Source: Series II, Box 28, Folder 22.
The disability rights movement has long sought full and equal participation in life for people with disabilities in a wide variety of areas, such as receiving an education, access to public buildings and to homes, being able to use public transportation, and fair treatment in the judicial system, to name a few. The ACLU of Georgia has been actively involved in efforts to end discrimination against people with disabilities on many fronts. They protest the over-representation of people with disabilities in civil and criminal institutions such as nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and prisons, which isolate them from society. And they advocate for equal access to jobs, homes, education, healthcare, and families. Ultimately, their goal is for people with disabilities to be "valued, integrated members of the community" and for everyone to understand that "disability is a normal part of life."
Cover of the ACLU's amicus brief
for Olmstead v. L.C. in the U.S.
Supreme Court, 1998.
Source: Series III, Box 83, Folder 4.

One legal case that is well-documented in the records is Hightower v. Ledbetter, a class action suit brought in the 1990s by a group of patients at Central State Hospital, a state-operated mental health facility, challenging the unlawful administration of psychotropic medications without their consent. Under Georgia law, mental health facilities were permitted to administer medications without consent when physicians concluded that refusal would be unsafe to the patient and others. The District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, upheld the state policy, finding that the forced medication did not violate plaintiffs’ substantive and procedural due process rights. The records also include materials related to ACLU's amicus brief in Olmstead v. L.C., a landmark case related to the deinstitutionalization of people with disabilities, and Sierra Club v. Georgia Department of Transportation, challenging Atlanta's regional transportation plan for failing to consider those living with disabilities.

Sticker in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act, undated.
Source: Series II, Box 13, Folder 13.
Pamphlet for The Disability Action
Center of Georgia, ca. 1996.
Source: Series II, Box 13, Folder 13. 
In addition to the case files, the records include subject files on controversies involving people with disabilities, including the passing and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, the right of people with disabilities to protest, access to public transportation, access to public buildings and the Georgia Dome, abuses at mental institutions and prisons, and education for "special needs" children.

The Russell Library actively collects on disability history in Georgia. For a list of collections, see the Georgia Disability History Archive finding aid. To further these efforts, the Russell Library is an active partner in the Georgia Disability History Alliance.