Georgia Shape provides exposure to agriculture

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MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Kids in Milledgeville will have the chance to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. They might also get the chance to make a change in the cafeteria.

That is the plan for Midway Hills Academy.

The school recently received a $3,200 grant from the Georgia Shape School Physical Activity and Nutrition Grant Program.

Next month, students will have the option to join a Junior-Master Gardner Program. The program gives students the hands-on opportunity to raise a garden from start to finish. 

Good exposure for children

A’Keti Mayweather, the Baldwin County School District wellness coordinator, says it will be good exposure for the children.

“Students do not actually experience fresh fruits and vegetables at home,” Mayweather said. “Today we live in a society where it’s McDonalds and Burger King.”

Antonio Ingram, the principal of Midway Hills Academy, says the program will give students some needed skills.

“We are getting away from the agriculture industry more than technology and we need to get our kids more on the hands-on activities,” Ingram said.

Ingram says that student’s futures will also benefit from the Junior-Master Gardener Program.

“I can see them going on to the middle school already with those skills, as far as gardening, we do have our horticulture class already,” he said. “They will already have an interest in that program and then when they get to high school, dealing with horticulture, dealing with cooking. And then going to specific schools for these types of skills.”

Food grown by the students can even make a change in the lunchroom.

“These students will actually be looking at the foods that they grow and taking those foods and creating menu items that they will have their peers taste test,” Mayweather said. “If the peers like it then we can add that to our school menus.”

Oak Hill Middle and Baldwin High School also have horticulture programs for students who want to keep their thumbs green.

School officials say this program will aid in the fight against childhood obesity through nutrition and physical activity.

Georgia Shape is the governor’s statewide initiative that addresses childhood obesity in Georgia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that obesity now affects 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the United States.