All You Need is Love and a Moonpie

The Georgia School Nutrition State Conference in Savannah

Rolling into the river district in Savannah, Georgia, this sign at the Thunderbird motel catches everyone’s eye.

And while it was great opening conversation, it was the conversation at the conference that really showed off what Georgia School Nutrition Association has to offer.

Georgia is Doing it Right

GSNA boasts the largest membership in the U.S. There’s good reason why.

School District Owned Memberships (otherwise known as SDMs) are memberships that school districts can keep, even if a member leaves or retires from the district. This is a money-saving way of getting more school nutrition personnel to get involved with the program, without another startup cost.

The Thunderbird Motel

The total number of SDMs for 2016 was almost 30,000 strong. And since SDMs currently account for half of the total national School Nutrition Association membership, you can see how a program like this positively impacts the numbers. All state associations are now participating in SDM. Take a look at who’s on top!

I am very proud of Georgia’s membership accomplishments. I served as the Master of Ceremonies at this event and didn’t hesitate to remind them that they are number 1!

A Visit From Famous Folks

This year’s festivities included a visit and performance from Paula Deen. She shared the story of how hard she worked to overcome obstacles in her life to become the owner of The Lady & Sons Restaurant, an author, and TV personality.

Kern Halls, proprietor of Ingenious Culinaryengaged the audience with concepts that enlightened and energized the crowd. Ingenious Culinary is a one stop consultancy for the purpose of consistently successful school food service operations, 

The 2016 conference was titled “Aiming High in The Low Country” and it was GSNA State President Vanessa Hayes’ mantra for the year. Vanessa is one of the most dynamic people you’ll ever meet. Truly a gifted speaker/motivator and awesome director of the Tift County Schools, Georgia Program. Here, she’s pictured with the legendary Josephine Martin, a Georgia citizen who is the living history of modern school nutrition.

Believe me; it was educational, informational, engaging, absorbing, and entertaining. Words don’t do it justice. Check out this shot of the last evening titled, “Throw down in the Lowdown.” A huge seafood boil served buffet style right on the Hutchinson Island side of the river.

Vanessa Hayes and Josephine Martin, both school nutrition icons
Throwdown in the Lowdown seafood boil