About Growing Minds and Farm to School
ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School program was one of the first in the country, getting its start in 2002 at Hazelwood Elementary in Haywood County. As of December 2014, Growing Minds (GM) has worked with over 120 schools in 20 Appalachian Grown counties, providing farm to school experiences to 15,000+ children (see the Growing Minds 2014-2015 Report Card for more details). And as the Growing Minds program has grown, so has farm to school grown nationally – there are now farm to school programs in all 50 states in more than 9000 schools! ASAP has served as the Southeast Regional Lead for the National Farm to School Network since 2007!
What exactly IS farm to school? ASAP defines farm to school as giving children opportunities to learn about local food and farms in the classroom, cafeteria, and community and includes one or more of the following: edible school gardens, farm field trips, classroom cooking with local food, or locally grown food served or provided via taste test in the cafeteria. It also includes preschool and university / community college settings (not just K-12).
In order for farm to school programs to thrive, there needs to be support and resources. That’s the role that GM plays. We provide training (for teachers, school nutrition staff, parents, community members, farmers/ag professionals), as well as an annual farm to school conference. Looking for resources? The GM website is chock full of lesson plans, recipes, a searchable database of local food and farm children’s literature and lots more! GM also provides seeds for school gardens, mini-grants (dependent on funding), and lots of promotional materials. Here is a full accounting of GM offerings.
We hope you take time to browse our website and that you find useful resources. Please let us know what you liked, what you didn’t, what you couldn’t find or needed…we depend on your feedback! And most importantly, we appreciate your interest in farm to school and would love to hear what you’re doing!
Happy Farm to School-ing!
The Growing Minds Team