A Farm to School movement, an effort to get fresh, healthy foods in front of school kids, has taken off in the region, witnessed by more than 100 participants in a recent Farm To School Cooking conference in Asheville where chefs from the Biltmore Estate and Asheville restaurants Cúrate and Red Stag Grill, led workshops aimed at preparing teachers to cook fresh local foods with students this school year.
Educators from Cullowhee Valley School, along with students and faculty from Western Carolina University and the Jackson County Health Department, were among those who attended. Jackson County Schools have embraced the movement, including taking staff on local farm tours.
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project received a grant from the Kellogg Foundation for Farm to School initiatives and is working with Jackson County as a model.
Specific Farm to School work that is ongoing in Jackson County includes partnerships with professors at WCU and area community colleges to integrate Farm to School in the course of study for education and health science students.
Future plans include establishing Cullowhee Valley School and one Head Start Center as “learning labs,” where university and college students can be immersed in successful Farm to School settings.