Grants totaling $2,500 to North Carolina schools and early childhood education programs in Watauga and Ashe Counties interested in building or expanding their garden-based education programming. Funds will assist schools and teachers with implementation, program sustainability, and professional development.
Funding may be used to start a new Farm to School Preschool or High School project or grow an existing one.
Farm to school/preschool works to connect children in a school or an early childhood education setting with growing food, local farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors. Farm to school/preschool projects vary depending on factors unique to each setting. Generally, they include activities that increase the amount of locally grown foods available to children and provide related hands-on educational opportunities.
Farm to school/preschool programs have been shown to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables while increasing their knowledge of and desire to eat healthier foods. Farm to school programs have also been shown to improve student comprehension in a variety of subjects from math to science to social studies as well as behavioral and attitudinal measures. Increased awareness of food systems and local food economies is another beneficial outcome.
Funds are for direct support of school garden programs, including but not limited to:
-Purchase of seeds, plants, supplies, or equipment
-Stipends for Garden Coordinators
-Professional development opportunities
-Supplies and materials for projects that enhance connections between the school garden and the classroom, cafeteria, waste reduction program, or local farms and farmers.