School system administrators in Ware County have announced that they’ve added yet another “Georgia Grown” product to their menu for students to enjoy.
Regenerate, the 100 percent blueberry juice grown and produced in Georgia, gives students the chance to enjoy an all-natural, no additive beverage while at the same time supporting their local economy.
“Regenerate is one of the healthiest, best-tasting beverages available that just happens to also be a locally-grown product. We want to make it available to our students,” said Ware County schools nutrition director Laura Deen.
Farm to School is a nationwide movement that connects schools and local farms in an effort to serve healthy meals in school cafeterias and to improve student nutrition. It has been shown that students involved in comprehensive Farm to School programs choose more fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria and consume more fruits and vegetables through farm to school meals (+.99 to 1.3 servings/day) and at home.
Additionally, students exhibit an interest in trying new foods and healthier options.
Locally-grown produce also supports Georgia’s economy. A recent University of Georgia-Athens study found that if Georgia families spent $10 a week on local foods, it would generate almost $2 billion dollars for the state economy.
“Since the Georgia Department of Education is the state’s largest food service provider, imagine the impact if Georgia schools spent five percent on local food,” said a local spokesman.
With blueberries now being the largest producing crop in the state, Regenerate is the perfect product. Regenerate utilizes fresh blueberries to make a 100 percent no additive, never from concentrate juice that can be served throughout the year. In fact, just one 4-ounce carton of juice is equivalent to a one-half cup serving of fruit.
Finally, investing in the health of children in the state now is critical, a spokesman said. Georgia spent nearly $2 billion on obesity-related health care last year, and more than a third of Georgian’s children are currently considered obese.
“Georgia’s childhood obesity is a serious problem. Making healthy options available is part of teaching children to have lifelong healthy eating habits,” said Deen, who also noted that, “Blueberries are known as nature’s super fruit because they are packed with disease –fighting antioxidants and are the number one berry to boost the immune system.”
Everyone should continue to look for more local “Georgia Grown” products in the near future in the local school system.