Halifax County Schools & 17 Other Agencies Awarded Farm-to-School Rapid Response Funding

Eastern North Carolina corn field. Source:  Chatesha R. Dickens, Halifax County Schools
Eastern North Carolina corn field. Source:  Chatesha R. Dickens, Halifax County Schools

Halifax County is located north of Nash and Edgecombe Counties in Eastern North Carolina

Halifax County Schools is among the eighteen local education agencies (LEAs) recently awarded Farm-to-School Rapid Response funding by the Farm to School Coalition of North Carolina. The funding is intended to support urgent needs and long-term capacity building for local food purchasing for school meals and local food educational programming in ways that increase the skills, knowledge, and connection to local foods for children and their families.

Funds from the grant will be used to purchase a shelter for the farm’s tractor. Funds will assist in purchases for seeds, plants, and supplies for planting and harvesting food for local community. Reginald Cotten, Farm Manager at Halifax County Schools, stated:

“We are grateful for any funding that we are awarded. We started with 2 acres, then 7 acres to 9 acres with plans set in place for 12 acres.  About 50% of the produce raised on the farm this year will be donated to people who have been affected by COVID-19.  Our vision is to become more self-supportive and to employ more students and increase their hours of employment. I am passionate about this initiative.”

In addition to Halifax County Schools, the following North Carolina LEAs were awarded $4,000 each in Farm-to-School Rapid Response funding:

  • Alexander County Schools
  • Avery County Schools
  • Brunswick County Schools
  • Buncombe County Schools
  • Caldwell County Schools
  • Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
  • Durham Public Schools
  • Franklin County Schools
  • Jackson County Schools
  • Lenoir County Public Schools
  • Orange County Schools
  • Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools
  • Pender County Schools
  • Richmond County Schools
  • Rockingham County Schools
  • Transylvania County Schools
  • Yancey County Schools

Dr. Smith, Director of Career and Technical Education of Durham Public Schools, is not only proud of the end-products grown on Greenleaf Farm, but she is very proud of the valuable life lessons the students continue to gain through this food to school project. She stated:

“I believe that the contribution these students make to families, schools, local communities, and themselves will build their confidence, self-worth, communication and critical thinking skills, and give them a sense of pride and ownership over their own health. Parental and community engagement increases, public-health improves, real-world, hands-on learning positively impacts the classroom, and the local and surrounding economies reap the benefits.”

The Farm to School Coalition of North Carolina brings together a dedicated group of farm-to-school stakeholders in collaboration to expand and strengthen farm-to-school initiatives across the state. The Coalition is led by partner agencies and organizations including:

  • NC Department of Public Instruction
  • NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • NC Cooperative Extension
  • Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP)
  • Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
  • FoodCorps North Carolina
  • School Nutrition Association of North Carolina

More information on the Coalition and the Farm-to-School Rapid Response Funding may be found on the Farm to School Coalition of NC website and on the Center for Environmental Farming Systems Farm to School web page.

 

Sources:  Chatesha R. Dickens of Halifax County Schools and the Farm to School Coalition of NC

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