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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Special Projects

If you are trying to gain support for a farm to school or farm to preschool program at your school, a workshop or presentation by a member of the Growing Minds team can help inspire staff, parents, administrators, and school board members.

Growing Minds @ University ([email protected]) is a partnership between ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program, Dietetic Internship programs at Western Carolina University, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and Appalachian State University, and Dietetic Internship preceptors.


A combination of project activities will further develop regional supply chains to serve the needs of school districts in the region, develop and implement a promotional campaign in support of farm to school initiatives, and create a model Farm to School program that integrates local food in the cafeteria with experiential food and farm‐based education in classrooms.


Preschooler enjoying a snack

Farm to school activities are the perfect fit for preschools and childcare centers. Check out our resources for this age group!

(2012-2013) ASAP’s Farm to School to Community Project focused on multiple intervention points to positively impact food environments, promote healthy food relationships for children, and build a stronger, more transparent local food system. This two year project, funded through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, begun with a focus on Farm to School in three communities in year one and expanded to include restaurants, groceries, Head Start centers, hospitals and colleges in year two.


(2012-2013) The Haywood County Farm to School Project was a collaboration of the NC Center for Health and Wellness (NCCHW) at UNC Asheville, ASAP, and Haywood County Schools. Funded by the Community Foundation’s Fund for Haywood County, the project brought Farm to School activities to five Haywood County schools and approximately 3,000 participants for the 2012-2013 school year.


(2010-2011) As an Extension agent, your work with agricultural producers, youth, and community education puts you in the unique position to offer an integrated approach to Farm to School and become a leader in the movement. As Farm to School continues to grow, farmers and other community members will look to Cooperative Extension for help implementing Farm to School initiatives.

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 […]

FIG: Farm to ECE Implementation Grants
ASAP, on behalf of the North Carolina Farm to Preschool Network was awarded funding in the Fall of 2020 from the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN). With this funding, the Network is awarding 40 Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) Implementation Grants (FIG) to North Carolina childcare centers and family childcare homes who are interested in starting or enhancing their daily routines with Farm to Preschool programming. Childcare centers and homes selected for the FIG will receive a mini-grant, Growing Minds Farm to Preschool Toolkit, literacy box, and virtual training opportunities. They […]