How Does a 10-acre Farm Improve the Health of Local Youth?
When folks come out to the farm and experience the volume of produce we grow, their reaction is typically one of shock in regards to just how much can be produced on the four acres we currently have in production. The most frequently asked question is “Where does all the food go?”
Over my three seasons managing the farm, we’ve increased the percentage of our food that goes straight to youth in our service area. We’ve increased kids’ exposure through selling directly to public school cafeterias and providing fresh veggies through the programming we do with students like our Farm to School Tastings.
The most rewarding feedback I receive as a farmer is to hear kids say they love eating the vegetables we grow. Through my work at Project GROWS, I also hear parents telling stories of vegetable-averse children not only eating, but requesting veggies at home for the first time after tasting a vegetable in school that we grew at the Project GROWS farm. We know that when children are exposed to garden-based education they are more likely to try new vegetables, and it’s been humbling to watch it happen at our farm.
As we continue to grow as an organization, the volume and variety of produce we’re able to provide for the youth in our area will grow as well. The new barn will allow our team on the farm to wash and pack in a food safety-approved space where we can efficiently process the vegetables that are headed straight to the lunches of children in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County.
We’ve seen the ways that our work directly impacts youth, and we invite you to join with us! If you would like to support us consider pledging to our Barn-Raising Campaign today!
Laura Smith, Farm Manager