Hundreds of school food professionals are in Athens this weekend for the 64th Annual Conference of the Georgia School Nutrition Association underway at the Classic Center. Nicole James, from Butts County, is the president of the organization.
“It’s just a great opportunity to learn and to grow in our profession,” according to James.
More than 600 school nutrition directors, cafeteria managers and staff gather information from each other, learn about initiatives like Georgia Grown and sample healthy dishes to take back to their own cafeterias.
“You can learn new menu items, you can learn how to prepare it differently, you learn how to promote your program, farm-to-school, you can learn how to educate in the classroom, you can learn all kinds of things to market your program and make it better.”
James says attendees consider the benefits gained from the conference worth the extra effort.
“They give up their time in the evenings, they give up their time for the weekend.”
She says input those attending receive from their peers helps everyone develop better techniques.
“They come together to learn from each other, they drive miles and miles to be able to hear speakers that will help them to improve their programs.”
Each state has its own organization, which are under the umbrella of the national school nutrition association consisting of 59,000 members. That organization also meets once a year. Georgia’s group has more than 6,000 members.