SNA Remembers Dr. Josephine Martin


Dr. Josephine MartinThe School Nutrition Association is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Josephine Martin (February 17, 1927-August 19, 2021), past SNA president, who was a trailblazer for the school nutrition profession. Considered the godmother of school nutrition, Josephine Martin was a fierce advocate for school lunches and child nutrition during a period when regulations were slim.

Dr. Martin began her career in 1950 at the Georgia Department of Education, serving in myriad positions, including State Child Nutrition Director and Assistant State School Superintendent for Special Services. She soon became a vocal advocate for child nutrition, influencing legislation on the community, state and federal levels, including the landmark Child Nutrition Act of 1966, and testified before Congress at least 50 times.

For decades, Dr. Martin was a pivotal member of the Georgia School Food Service Association (now the Georgia School Nutrition Association) and rose to leadership positions in what was the national Association. As the 1976-77 president of then ASFSA (now SNA), she was instrumental in securing federal authorization for the National Food Service Management Institute (now known as the Institute of Child Nutrition). She later came out of retirement to become its first full-time director.

 Throughout her prolific career, Dr. Martin received numerous awards and honors, including the 2006 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award, the Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award from the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and the Silver Plate award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter called on Dr. Martin to represent the White House at the World Food Summit in Rome, Italy.

To honor her legacy, the School Nutrition Foundation in 2012 established the Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow, a scholarship that enables winners to attend SNA’s annual Legislative Action Conference.

Dr. Martin understood that the battle for school nutrition advocacy never ends: “Every generation has to learn again. You can’t do it one time. It has to be an ongoing program that is built into the real psyche of our political leaders, parents and others if we are going to one day eliminate hunger and obesity. If we’re going to be able to meet the nutrition needs of people in America, we have to have strong public policy at every level.”

A tribute to Dr. Martin will appear in the October 2021 issue of School Nutrition magazine.

Condolences may be sent to Mr. Michael Martin, 1532 Brianwood Rd., Decatur, GA 30033-1723. Donations can be made to the Josephine Martin National Policy Fellow Endowment Fund c/o.

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