About ASAP

Growing Minds is a program of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.

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2020 USDA Farm to School Grant Awarded to ASAP

In June 2020, ASAP was awarded a two-year US Department of Agriculture Farm to School grant to increase procurement of local food in Western North Carolina (WNC) schools. ASAP, in partnership with School Nutrition Directors, produce distributor Marvin’s Produce, and area farmers, will develop an efficient and sustainable local procurement system for school systems that will get local products into the distribution channels that are already being utilized by schools.

We will focus primarily on increasing procurement in rural school systems that work with local produce distributors in WNC. Once the procurement system is developed, we will expand to encompass additional counties in the second year. All of the school districts in the WNC region have free and reduced lunch rates of over 40%, and children poverty rates, according to Kids Count, average 24% (higher than the state of 21%). As agricultural education is a necessary partner to procurement, cafeteria taste tests and community trainings, promotional materials, and teacher engagement and training will also be components of this project. 

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