ASAP Farm to School Conference

A Farm to School-Filled Fall
October is National Farm to School Month, ASAP’s Farm to School Conference follows

ASHEVILLE, NC (October 7, 2013)—October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate the connections happening all over the country between schools and local food. ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program reports there is a lot happening—as it does year-round—here in Western North Carolina.

At Mills River Elementary in Henderson County, Farm to School is flourishing. As part of ASAP’s USDA-funded Farm to School Project, Mills River school administrators, teachers, and cafeteria staff received training and resources before the 2013-2014 school year began. This fall, taste tests in the cafeteria and experiential Farm to School activities in the classroom have been a big success—with students crunching on fresh local cucumbers in September and local cabbage this month.

Students and school staff at Jonathan Valley Elementary School are also serious Farm to School supporters. After participating in the Haywood County Farm to School Project in 2012—a collaboration of ASAP, the NC Center for Health and Wellness at UNC Asheville, and Haywood County Schools—Jonathan Valley has not only kept up but is increasing Farm to School activities this year. They’ve established a Farm to School Day for the school on October 11 in celebration of National Farm to School Month. Students will take a trip to Seasonal Produce Farm in Waynesville for a corn maze and hayride, meet pygmy goats, and learn about kale from Steven Beltram of Balsam Gardens in Sylva. For more information, contact Alison Francis, Haywood County child nutrition director, at

To cap off the month-long celebration, ASAP’s Growing Minds team will host their annual Farm to School Conference on November 2, from 8 am-4 pm at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center. This year’s conference will feature workshops focused on four specialized tracks: Preschool, Higher Education, Getting Started, and Digging Deeper. Workshops are for everyone involved in education and school food: teachers, early childhood educators, professors, education and nutrition students, parents, child nutrition staff, farmers, and community health professionals. Registration is $35 before October 15 and $45 on/after October 15; the conference is open to those in WNC and outside of the region. Cost includes a local foods breakfast and lunch + comprehensive resource notebook. Learn more and register online at, or contact conference coordinator Brittany Wager at or 828-236-1282 ext. 103.

[High-resolution photos of Farm to School in action are available. For more information, images, or to connect with participating schools, teachers, and farmers in your community for stories, contact Communications Manager Maggie Cramer at]

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. Growing Minds, ASAP’s Farm to School program, works to connect farms and schools and give children positive experiences with healthy local foods. Experiences include farm field trips, nutrition education, school gardens, and local food in cafeterias.

To learn more about Growing Minds, including how WNC is celebrating National Farm to School Month, visit For information about ASAP’s work in the region, visit, or call 828-236-1282. To connect with the National Farm to School Network, visit


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