WNC Farm to School Jumpstart Grants

We want to help fund your farm to school project in Western North Carolina! 

ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School program connects schools, preschools, and community groups serving children and families to local agriculture and local food. We work to give children positive experiences with fresh local foods through the four components of farm to school: farm field trips, local food cooking/preparation, school gardens, and local food taste tests or meals.

  • Farm to school jumpstart projects must feature at least one (1) component of farm to school (tasting/cooking local food, incorporating local food into meals or snacks, farm field trips/farmer visits to classrooms/organizations, edible gardens), but can incorporate more than one (1) component of farm to school. 
  • Projects should directly engage at least one of the following groups: children/students, families, or adults who work with children/families (ie. for local food professional development experiences).
  • Funding can be used to start new projects, or to expand upon existing activities. 

Sample projects include (but are not limited to) the following ideas:

Community Edible Garden Grant

Funding to create a demonstration or teaching garden at a community site that serves children and families, such as a library or social services agency. 

Farm to School Activity Bundle

Funding to purchase supplies for the school garden, take students on a farm field trip, and purchase farm to school children’s books for the classroom, allowing farm to school activities to build upon each other throughout the school year. 

Serving Local Food in the Cafeteria

Funding to implement a Local Harvest of the Month program, offer seasonal local food taste tests, incorporate local food educational materials into the school cafeteria, or try out new menu items that feature local food items throughout the year.

Local Food Education CSA Share

Funding to purchase a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription of local produce for an early care and education (ECE) site, school, or other organization at full cost or cost-share. CSA items could be used for taste tests, experiential learning activities, incorporated into meals/snacks, used for family engagement events, etc.

Farmers Market Kids Booth (Growing Minds @ Market)

Funding to offer farm to school-themed activities for kids and families at a farmers market, such as local food themed-arts and crafts, activities, cooking demos, or taste tests. Funding could be used to purchase supplies, equipment, or market staff stipends.

Dietetic Intern or Educator Pre-Service Project

Funding to implement farm to school/local food activities as part of a pre-service project at an organization or school serving children or families.

Grant amount:

Schools/organizations can apply for funding in the amount of $500 to $1,000 to support their farm to school project. Allowable expenses may include stipends for staff/volunteer time, gardening or cooking equipment or supplies, locally grown food, farm to school children’s literature, mileage, and other expenses as needed. Funds should be spent within 1 year of receiving the grant. Schools/organizations should maintain receipts for grant supported purchases for 2 years. In addition to funding, grantees may request supplemental training and/or technical assistance from the Growing Minds staff to help implement their project.

Deadlines to apply:

Applications are due January 15, 2022. Applications will be reviewed and awarded within three weeks of the grant deadline. 

Who is eligible to apply:

Pre-k through 12 schools, homeschool groups, and community-based organizations serving children and families are eligible to apply (see below for more details). Schools/organizations must be located within the 23 westernmost counties of North Carolina (Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watagua, Wilkes, Yancey) or the Qualla Boundary. If you are unsure if you are eligible to apply for funding, please email us at growingminds@nullasapconnections.org to confirm eligibility before submitting your application.

Eligible grantees:

  • Preschools, Early Care and Education Centers, and K-12 Schools (public or private)
    • Project can be schoolwide or an individual classroom
    • Can be afterschool programs
    • Application can be submitted by a teacher, school nutrition professional, school support staff, or member of the public working in cooperation with a school
  • Homeschool groups serving multiple families
  • Teacher and nutrition education programs
  • Community-based organizations serving children and families, including:
    • Libraries
    • Churches
    • Healthcare agencies (doctor offices, health departments, etc.)
    • Social service agencies
    • Community / rec centers
    • Farmers Markets

Additionally, the criteria for selection will be based on the following areas:

  • For schools, priority given to Head Start or high percentage of students receiving subsidy, and schools with high rates of free and reduced lunch.
  • Proposals that plan for hands-on student experiences, and/or authentic local food and farm experiences (consider planning your activity(s) with the idea that smaller groups make the experience better).
  • Integration of funded projects into a unit of study and connection to Standard Course of Study/Common Core/NC Foundations requirements.
  • Connection with multiple Farm to School components (i.e. you are asking for funding for local food cooking in the classroom, but also plan to tie it to the school garden).
  • Projects that cultivate connections between children/families and the broader community.

If you have questions or would like suggestions for your project, such as farms to visit, recipes to try, or ideas about connecting to other farm to school components, please contact us at growingminds@nullasapconnections.org.

What is required of Jumpstart Grant recipients:

After you are awarded funding and the activity has taken place, you are required to complete the following:

  • Complete a brief online reflection about the activity that you used the grant funds for.
  • Submit electronic pictures of the activity.
  • Submit photo permission slips (provided by ASAP) for all students in the pictures you submit.
  • If you or your school includes mention of this grant in any publications or announcements, we ask that you send us a copy. We will provide a document with talking points for any publications or announcements that you do around your farm to school activity and receiving the grant.

Ready to apply? Complete and submit the application below.

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