Register by October 7 for ASAP’s Farm to School
Photo by PAUL M. HOWEY
Thanks to ASAP’s Farm to School program, “Growing Minds,” students benefit from early exposure to the local food movement. Through farm field trips, nutrition education, school gardens, and local food in cafeterias, these young consumers can learn more about why eating local is healthy and beneficial for the whole community.
On November 10, ASAP’s Growing Minds’ Farm to School Program will host WNC’s first Farm to School Institute from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event, which will provide school staff and community members information to implement new programming as well as strengthen existing Farm to School programs, will take place at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center, home of the N.C. Center for Health and Wellness.
“We have more than 10 years of experience in Farm to School training and programming,” explains Growing Minds’ program director Emily Jackson. “We can’t wait to share a decade’s worth of creative ideas and practical applications for school environments with both long-term Farm to School supporters and those newly interested in the flourishing movement.”
“This institute gives us a great chance to reflect … as well as grasp onto the opportunities to keep driving toward health and wellness here and in other parts of the state,” notes Laurie Stradley, N.C. state lead for the National Farm to School Network and director of state and community collaboration for the N.C. Center for Health & Wellness. “We’ve got the eyes of the nation on us because of ASAP and the strong partnerships between community leaders, schools and chefs: all the folks who make this kind of work not only possible, but run so smoothly and have such a broad reach.”
This day-long institute will inspire collaboration between individual schools and school districts. If everyone is on board with the initiatives and the “how,” then programs like Growing Minds can become more sustainable and affect school productively.
Keynote speaker Tim O’Keefe has been a classroom teacher for almost 35 years and currently teaches in South Carolina at the Center for Inquiry, a small school partnership between Richland District Two and the University of South Carolina. He will kick off the event, which will also consists of three breakout workshop sessions specifically geared toward teachers, early childhood educators, child nutrition staff, chefs and parents. “Teams” from the same school or organization are encouraged to sign up and take these workshops together.
The institute is sponsored by Biltmore, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Foundation and the N.C. Center for Health & Wellness.ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. Growing Minds, ASAP’s Farm toSchool program, works to connect farms and schools and give children positive experiences with healthy foods.
In honor of the abundant resources for nutritional education in our region as well as October as “National Farm to School Month,” anyone interested must register by October 7 to attend this informative event. The $30 fee includes a resource notebook and a local food breakfast and lunch.
For more information about Growing Minds and to register, visit online at growing-minds.org. For information about ASAP’s work in the region, visit asapconnections.org, or call 828-236-1282.