Each Thursday, ASAP’s programs take you behind the scenes of their work. This week, our Growing Minds program relives the excitement of their recent Farm to School Conference!
From ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Team
We wish you all could have been at our Farm to School Conference, held earlier this month. The excitement was palpable! More than 150 folks attended from 10 different states, and attendees represented all levels of the educational system—from preschool to college. And, we were fortunate to have the executive director of the National Farm to School Network (who just moved from Chicago to Cary, NC) on hand to connect our state and regional efforts to the larger (and growing!) national Farm to School movement.
The GM team learned a lot from this year’s event. After reviewing evaluations, we know that our new preschool track was a BIG hit. We’re thrilled that the Farm to Preschool subset of the movement is taking off, connecting the youngest students with local food and farms. (Read more about our involvement in Farm to Preschool.) After being a part of the Farm to School experience at such a young age, these students are sure to grow up to be advocates for local food systems. What’s more, we learned that the preschool track was valuable to folks working with older students, too. A high school teacher shared that what she learned in a preschool breakout session helped her see how she could approach Farm to School with her high schoolers.
Speaking of young local food advocates, we were somewhat surprised and extremely happy to see both high school and college students at the conference. Teachers and professors brought their students along to attend workshops, sharing that when students hear about Farm to School from their peers, it has a huge impact. This got us thinking: Perhaps we should outreach to current students for the 2014 event? Should we plan a workshop just for them?
Our wheels are spinning for next year, and we’ve already set the date: November 1, 2014! If you haven’t yet seen our photo booth album of all these new faces from different places, be sure to browse.
PS: We have to give a HUGE shout-out to Chartwells, the food service management company at UNC Asheville (where the conference was held). They did a great job sourcing food from local farms, and they whipped up some seriously delicious fare. Also a big shout-out to our friends at the NC Center for Health and Wellness for serving as gracious hosts.
Attend and have ideas for the 2014 event? SHARE with us!Tags:Farm to Preschool, Farm to School, Farm to School Conference, Local Food, National Farm to School Network