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Council Celebrates The First Local Food Champion Award Winner Highland Youth Garden

For Immediate Release

March 25, 2019

  Highland Youth Garden

Highland Team[COLUMBUS-OH] The City of Columbus and Franklin County Local Food Board in conjunction with the Franklin County Local Food Council are pleased to announce Highland Youth Garden as the winner of the inaugural Local Food Champion Award. Councilmember Priscilla Tyson honored Highland Youth Garden with a resolution at tonight’s Council meeting.

The Local Food Champion Award recognizes and celebrates grassroots community efforts that support the Columbus and Franklin County Local Food Action Plan’s vision of a fair and sustainable food system that benefits our economy, our environment and all people. The Local Food Champion's work embodies one or all of the goals outlined in the Local Food Action Plan:

  • Goal A: Enhance coordination and communication among existing food resources and agencies.
  • Goal B: Improve access to and education about healthy food, affordable food and local food.
  • Goal C: Increase the role of food in economic development.
  • Goal D: Prevent food-related waste.

“Highland Youth Garden has performed significant work to improve access to and education about healthy food as well as local food.  This honor is well deserved for their gardening education efforts in the Hilltop community,” said Councilmember Priscilla Tyson. "I am happy to see this inaugural award go to such a dedicated garden."

The Highland Youth Garden’s achievements were honored during a special ceremony at the Franklin County Local Food Council meeting on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at Columbus Public Health.

Highland Youth Garden is celebrating 10 years of exceptional educational gardening in the Hilltop community. They serve 350 youth with two part-time staff members and 500 volunteers. The garden offers garden education lessons to students from Highland Elementary and Educational Academy for Boys and Girls, an afterschool club and summer camps. The garden offers monthly Harvest Gatherings where 75 community members, volunteers and sponsors harvest produce and celebrate with a meal.

The City of Columbus and Franklin County Local Food Board was established November 22, 2016, by a resolution of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. It is comprised of 12 influential community mobilizers and food system experts. The City of Columbus and Franklin County appointees oversee, prioritize and guide implementation activities of the Columbus and Franklin County Local Food Action Plan. The Plan provides a framework of common goals that serve to unify residents, schools, community organizations, businesses and local government in supporting a healthy, strong and resilient local food system. 

Franklin County Local Food Council (FCLFC) is an independent advisory council that brings together people from across the food system, from growers to eaters, with a particular interest in people and neighborhoods most affected by food system policies and programs. This organization provides space for education and information sharing and supports community engagement, food system-related campaigns, and mentorship for food system ideas. It also serves as a way for residents of Columbus and Franklin County to be involved in the implementation of the Columbus and Franklin County Local Food Action Plan.

Nominations will be open April 15, 2019, for the next Local Food Champion Award. For more information visit To stay up to date, join the FCLFC listserv at