Woodson Branch Nature School receives food resilience grant from Mission Health

Press release from Madison County Community Learning Centers:

Marshall, NC (October 1, 2018) —Woodson Branch Nature School makes agriculture a core subject in its curriculum. A generous Community Investment grant from Mission Health will help the school expand implementation of its mission to help create a healthier, more food-secure Madison County.

“At Woodson Branch Nature School, we have the power to help create a healthy, resilient Madison County. Our 30-acre property of farmland and forest has the potential to FEED Madison County residents and TEACH critical skills for combating food insecurity,” said Deborah DeLisle, Founder and Executive Director of Madison County Community Learning Centers, that operates Woodson Branch and also Hot Springs Community Preschool in Hot Springs, NC.

“We apply proven methods of experiential, nature-based, interdisciplinary learning, to teach young people about healthy food, where it comes from and how to grow it, giving them tools to take into their families and the community.”

With food insecurity increasing in Madison County over recent years, access to affordable healthy foods and nutritional education were identified by the Madison County Community Health Assessment as priority areas to be addressed. With support from Mission Health, Woodson Branch can help address both of these problems, with the potential to serve at least 500 families annually by offering fresh produce to local food pantries, such as The Beacon of Hope, Neighbors in Need, the Salvation Army and local community centers and churches.

DeLisle continued by saying “This generous grant from Mission Health Community Investment will allow us to expand garden programming onsite for students and their families as well as for community partners who combat food insecurity in Madison County. We are grateful for this support that will fund our agriculture teachers and infrastructure needed to increase our production of organic produce and products. It will be instrumental as we help our community turn the notion of ‘food scare’ into ‘food share’!”

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