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Georgia Department of Agriculture

Local Food in Georgia's Restaurants

                                                  Georgia Grown, Georgia Restaurant Association Partner to Promote

                                                                           Local Food in Georgia’s Restaurants

ATLANTA, GA (Feb. 20, 2013) – The Georgia Restaurant Association and the Georgia Department of Agriculture announce a partnership to promote the state’s culinary abundance: the Georgia Grown Restaurant Program for restaurants and food service facilities.

Georgia Grown is the department’s powerful marketing and branding tool to expand the state’s agricultural industry, and this new affiliation reflects the public’s increasing interest in locally grown food that supports farmers and small businesses as part of a more sustainable lifestyle.  The Georgia Grown Restaurant Program is an avenue for consumers to support locally grown foods when dining out at participating restaurants in their communities.

“Georgia’s restaurants are increasingly planning their menus around locally grown foods, so it made sense for GRA to support this outstanding program,” says GRA Executive Director Karen Bremer. “We are proud to support Georgia Grown as an economic development program that helps connect restaurants with the state’s top producers. Participating restaurants can ensure that they are offering their customers top-quality food products, while supporting local growers and reducing their carbon footprint.”

With more than 16,000 restaurants in the state of Georgia, the Georgia Restaurant Association serves as the voice of Georgia's restaurants in advocacy, education and awareness. Food safety, nutrition and sustainability are three areas of focus for the association’s efforts to help their members succeed.

“The new Georgia Grown Restaurant Program enables us to further promote and foster relationships between Georgia farmers and local chefs. Our state has a great deal of culinary talent – we need to use this talent for showcasing our locally grown produce and goods,” says Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “The association also has been an advocate for sustainability, and these issues mirror the Department of Agriculture’s work through Georgia Grown and other programs.”

Two examples of the Georgia Grown Restaurant Program partnership are the Georgia Grown Executive Chef Program, which promotes the Georgia Grown campaign statewide, and the Golden Onion professional cooking competition at the annual Vidalia Onion Festival:

·         The Georgia Grown Executive Chef Program recognizes four outstanding chefs as ambassadors to promote a better understanding of the availability and quality of Georgia products. Public school culinary education and school food nutrition programs will also be a major part of the Executive Chef program, offering training and recipe development. The four chefs for 2013 are Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Resurgens Hospitality in Atlanta, Chef David Synder of Halyards, Tramici Restaurant, and Halyards Catering in St Simons, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker of Your Resident Gourmet, LLC in Atlanta, and Chef Ahmad Nourzad of Affairs to Remember Catering in Atlanta.

·         The Golden Onion Competition will kick off the 36th annual Vidalia Onion Festival on April 14, 2013, in Vidalia, Georgia. Chefs will vie to create the tastiest recipe featuring exclusive-to-Georgia Vidalia onions, one of the state’s most recognizable agricultural products.  The “Golden Onion” trophy will be passed along from year-to-year to future winners of the competition.

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About Georgia Grown:

The Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program provides a powerful branding tool as well as education, marketing and business connections to expand agribusinesses and the agricultural industry throughout the state. Learn more or join Georgia Grown at www.GeorgiaGrown.com.

About the Georgia Restaurant Association:

The GRA’s mission is to serve as the voice for Georgia’s Restaurants in Advocacy, Education and Awareness. The GRA is sanctioned by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to operate Georgia’s only not-for-profit representing the state’s foodservice industry. From large chains to start-ups, the GRA helps make Georgia a better place for restaurants to do business and helps make restaurants better for Georgia. For more information, visit www.garestaurants.org.




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