Southern SAWG has joined the National Farm to School Network as the Regional Lead Agency in the network’s South Region. Activities and information exchange in this region – Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama – has been previously been coordinated by New North Florida Cooperative Association (NNFCA). Beginning December 1st, Southern SAWG will pick up where they left off. Thanks to Glyen Holmes and his crew at NNFCA for helping us get oriented to this new responsibility!
We will also be learning from and sharing the exciting work being done by the Southeast Regional Lead, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). The Southeast Region is comprised of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
ASAP’s efforts to promote local food in school lunches – and in children’s minds – goes well beyond their role as Regional Lead Agency for the National Farm to School Network. An ASAP program, Growing Minds, has four areas of focus: local food in schools, farm field trips, local food cooking, and school gardens. Curriculum-based activities that get kids engaged with local food on a personal level ensure that local food placed on their plate ends up in their stomachs. The program website features a new video that describes the integrated approach.
The website showcases many resources to be used by folks involved in various aspects of farm to school work. Resources developed and gathered through a two-year project supported by a grant from the Southern SARE Program are especially useful for Cooperative Extension personnel. This project focused on activities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, but the resources are useful beyond those states.