Sponsored: How can you learn more about farming or get your kids to learn more?
Most of us did not grow up on farms and we may not even see a farm on our daily commute to work or school. How can we learn more about local agriculture and farming and how can we teach our children about the process of how food gets onto the shelves at the local Ingles Market?
Here are a few resources whether you are a parent, teacher or just want to learn more on your own.
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP)
ASAP has an annual farm tour and they also work to help local farmers market their products through farmers markets/tailgate markets and with retailers using resources like the "Local Foods Guide" ( available at some area Ingles Markets). Additionally ASAP runs the "Growing Minds" program that helps schools with school gardens, local foods cooking classes, and farm field trips to local farms.
NC Farm Bureau
Offers resources for teachers like lesson plans for various grades to teach about aspects of farming including types of farms, myths and stereotypes about farming as well as some of the challenges farmers face. Their website also identifies a book of the month that has an agriculture or farming theme. You can also have children to on-line "shopping trips" to test their knowledge of label claims and see excerpts from the movie, "Farmland" about various types and sizes of farms. The NC Farm Bureau may also be able to help connect students and classes with local farms that are able to accommodate tours.
NC Cooperative Extension Service
Most counties in the U.S. have a Cooperative Extension office. In North Carolina these are part of the NC State University and the offices are staffed by educated and trained individuals and there are offices in Buncombe, Haywood and Henderson counties. Cooperative Extension offices often offer glasses in gardening as well as opportunities for youth to learn more about farming, animal care and agriculture through the 4-H program and competing in the state fair. They also operate Farm to School programs( https://localfood.ces.ncsu.edu/local-food-farm-to-school/ ) that help communities activate programs like school gardens, Farm to Cafeteria and more.
Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN
Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian