News & Events
November 13, 2012
Getting children to try a new vegetable and having them understand where their food comes from are important aspects when creating healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School program gets kids excited about farm fresh produce by incorporating locally farmed items into schools and classrooms. Western North Carolina teachers, school administrators and food service workers gathered at the Sherrill Center on UNC Asheville's campus to take part in the annual Growing Minds Farm to School Institute.
This was the third year the Institute was held and the second year it was co-hosted by the N.C. Center for Health and Wellness at UNC Asheville (NCCHW). Attendees experienced workshops aiming at making connections with local farms, using schools gardens as an instructional tool and took part in hands-on cooking demonstrations.
"One of the things that has really been quite amazing here are all of the connections. Whether it’s funding from different grant sources, other things that are going on in other counties, or other things that are happening at ASAP...so much work has already been done. There is a vibrant community of educators out there that are doing great work," said attendee Sherrie Mahowald.
More than 120 attendees from at least 10 counties in WNC took part in the day-long training focused on incorporating fruits and vegetables into the school day and into classrooms.
“WNC has a proud history of local food and sustainable agriculture,” notes Laurie Stradley, North Carolina state lead for the National Farm to School Network and director of state and community collaboration for the NCCHW. “This institute gives us a great chance to reflect on and be proud of that history as well as grasp onto the opportunities to keep driving toward health and wellness here and in other parts of the state.” Stradley adds, “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.”
More information can be found at growing-minds.org and the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness.