FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Students in Fayette county can expect new nutritional opportunities thanks to farm-to-cafeteria funding given to the county.
Valley PK-8, Divide Elementary, Ansted Elementary, and New River Primary each received a $3,000 grant from Whole Foods.
With the funds and added gardening supplies, Fayette County Schools put together plans to build upon their already established partnership with surrounding farms to either continue to grow already existing garden programs or cultivate new ones.
“The grant can cover a lot of different things, so at some of the schools our garden space is a lot smaller so you can just kind of start from scratch, put in some raised beds, buy some soil some tools get some simple things,” said Kathryn Eckman, the food access program coordinator at New Roots Community Farm.
According to Eckman, schools with fully developed garden beds want to put the money towards projects focused on agriculture and gardening, aiming to coordinate the garden program with everyday education.
As Fayette County’s former Americorp Vista, Eckman applied for the four grants. With Eckman in a new role, the county welcomes a new member.
As an Americorp Vista, Morgan Preast works to give nutritional education to all of the schools in Fayette County. It is her job to break down healthy eating in a way that is both fun and enlightening. She believes the earlier you can help mold a student’s relationship with food, the better.
“I think it’s really important to start at a young age because what older people say to younger kids they take it as the gospel so it is really hard to sometimes tell them well this is good this is bad and we need to take away these labels from food,” said Preast.
Preast is excited to lead the monthly gardening classes and accompany the kids on field trips to farms around the area.