ATLANTA — A Midway child-care center recently was named a Georgia SHAPE Award winner at the 2013 Farm to Preschool Summit. Family Day Care Home operator Eva Polite of Midway was among 11 providers and centers across the state to be honored at the Sept. 13-14 event, which was coordinated by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, the Georgia Department of Public Health and Georgia Organics. The award winners were recognized for going above and beyond Georgia’s licensing standards in the areas of nutrition and physical activity.
More than 150 people attended the Atlanta summit, which was the first of its kind in the nation. Regional experts shared best practices in gardening, food education, and innovative local food-procurement strategies.
Department of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Bobby Cagle said the summit accomplished multiple goals.
“This emphasis on greater use of locally grown fruits and vegetables in child-care programs helps fight the childhood obesity that plagues our state and our country,” he said. “It also encourages collaborative relationships between child-care programs and local farmers and producers, which is great for our economy.”
On Saturday, Cagle was joined by Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, in presenting the Georgia SHAPE Awards.
“Farm to Preschool and SHAPE recognized day-care facilities provide a foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating and physical activity for our little ones, beginning at a very early age,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re talking about our future, so reducing obesity among our preschoolers is critical.”
The Department of Early Care and Learning recently received a $337,000 Team Nutrition training grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant will allow the department to expand the Farm to Preschool Program and its Caregivers Promoting Healthy Habits initiative to other parts of the state.