Growing Minds Farm To School Program, a branch of Appalachain Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), generates opportunities for students to learn about local food and farms. One way they do this is by partnering with local farmers and chefs to offer taste tests in school cafeterias. Farm to School Taste Tests offer students small samples of local foods, usually fresh fruits and vegetables. “Taste tests are a way of providing kids an opportunity to try something in a laid back, nothing-to-lose kind of way,” says Growing Minds program coordinator Kim Knoppel. “I hear adults constantly say that kids don’t like to try new things and, time and time again, the kids prove them wrong and love what we have.”
Anyone can organize a Farm to School Taste Test: teachers, school administration, a chef, a parent, food service staff, a school nurse or even students. Janette Broda, director of school nutrition for Asheville City Schools, helps to organize these events at schools across the city. “This program helps highlight all of the fresh, nutritious foods available to the Asheville community that are close to home,” says Broda. “It also aids in building relationships between families, businesses and local food producers.”
Every quarter, Growing Minds will conduct a workshop around one aspect of the Farm to School program: edible school gardens; classroom cooking; cafeteria taste tests; local food served in meals or snacks and farm field trips or farmer classroom visits. These workshops will be announced in their newsletter and on their website.
For more information, visit Growing-Minds.org.