Tony Norcia is a dietetic intern at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Lenoir-Rhyne is a partner in ASAP’s Growing Minds @ University program, which equips pre-service students with knowledge and experiences to be able to incorporate local food and farm to school/farm to preschool activities into their careers as dietitians. Tony is currently completing a 12-week Community Nutrition and Administration rotation at Bearwallow Valley Farms with farmer/owner and registered dietitian Nicole Coston (who we’ve profiled in a past farm to school educator spotlight).
Melinda Aponte is the nutrition coordinator for the YWCA of Asheville’s Early Learning Program. The YWCA is part of ASAP’s Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program, working with Ivy Creek Family Farm to provide fresh, local produce for the children. She is pictured on the left with farmer Anna Littman of Ivy Creek.
Whitney Rea Smith is the Director of Family and Community Partnerships at Verner Center for Early Learning. Based in Asheville, Verner provides 5-star comprehensive care and education to over 300 children and their families at three centers and through a home-based Early Head Start program. Verner received a Growing Minds mini-grant this spring to purchase lumber,
Nicole Coston is a Registered Dietitian and farmer at Bearwallow Valley Farms in Hendersonville, NC, which she owns and operates with her husband, Brent, a fourth-generation farmer. The Costons run an innovative CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model, and also participate in community-building activities, like hosting farm field trips for schoolchildren and internships for college students.
For our February 2021 Farm to School Educator Spotlight, we’re featuring the work of Jordan Diamond, the FEAST Program and Garden Coordinator at Lucy S. Herring Elementary School (formerly Vance) in Asheville. Jordan received a Growing Minds mini-grant last fall, which she used to purchase equipment to help transition her lessons to the virtual learning environment. In
ASAP works with a number of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs in the region to highlight local food education for their clients. Lori Bradley at Henderson County WIC explains how her staff demonstrates farm to early childhood education in action.
As part of our Growing Minds @ University project, the Growing Minds team is a preceptor to Dietetic Interns during their community rotation. This fall Maddie from Lenoir-Rhyne University worked with us to provide local food and farm to school activities to our community. As part of her time with us she compiled some of her favorite fall recipes using local produce.
We are thrilled to announce that our own Emily Jackson, ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program Director, is one of 40 selected applicants as a Culture of Health Leader, a program co-led by the National Collaborative for Health Equity and CommonHealth ACTION with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.