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School-farm partnership in NC

  • Subject: [cg] School-farm partnership in NC
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2005 06:03:13 -0800 (PST)

The Mountaineer, Western North Carolina

Grant offers students hands-on gardening

by PEGGY MANNING
Senior staff writer

Hazelwood Elementary can continue ag program

Students at Hazelwood Elementary School will be able
to continue learning about agriculture through a
project called Growing Minds, thanks to a grant from
the National Recreation Foundation.

The $30,000 grant, which the Appalachian Sustainable
Agriculture Project (ASAP) received, will pay for the
salary of Molly Nicholie and seeds and other materials
needed to grow a garden at the school. Nicholie will
begin the program at Hazelwood Thursday.

Growing Minds is an educational program for teachers
and students in kindergarten through fifth grades that
links the garden and agriculture with the state
standard course of study.

An interdisciplinary approach cultivates the talents
and skills of all students while also providing a
reconnection to the agricultural roots of Western
North Carolina, said Emily Jackson, Growing Minds
project director.

Growing Minds provides an opportunity for elementary
students and teachers to reap the benefits of direct
contact with area farmers, Jackson said.

What we were noticing is that most childrens
experiences with gardens had been with their
grandparents, she said.

So, senior citizens will be incorporated into the
program, Jackson said, as will the emphasis on good
nutrition.

Growing Minds not only enriches the educational
experience, it also improves childrens views on
nutrition. Children who grow their own food will eat
it and that is important, Jackson said.

A pilot project has been in operation for three years
at Hazelwood Elementary School. In the first year,
ASAP farmers worked with a teacher to integrate
agriculture into math, reading, science, and writing
for one class of third graders. This was continued the
next year with four classes of second graders, adding
participation in a vermiculture (worm composting)
project.

The Growing Minds program will continue even during
the summer, Jackson said, when gardens are typically
beginning to produce. Latch-key children will reap the
benefit of harvesting some of the vegetables.

We will be documenting the students gardening
activities and when we are through we will be putting
together a guide, Jackson said.

ASAP is a Western North Carolina community-based
collaborative focused on sustaining farms and rural
communities.

Anyone interested in being part of the Growing Minds
program should contact Emily Jackson at (828)
236-1282, or e-mail emily@asapconnections.org.

Peggy Manning can be reached at 452-0661, ext. 127, or
at peggy@themountaineer.com.


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