Inspired About Connecting Farms with Schools

| Posted by BCBSNC Foundation | Leave a comment | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Guest post courtesy of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

ASAP is inspired. We’re inspired by the efforts of the many great organizations featured here, and by all of you who have shown support for our work. We’re also deeply inspired by our partners. This campaign has given us the opportunity  to reflect back on the pilot portion of our Farm to School Education Project in Jackson County, which is discussed in our video and was funded through the generous support of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. The Inspired campaign led us to ask, “Where would our project be now without the BCBSNC Foundation and without the partners who jumped on board with us—no questions asked (well, hardly any!)—right from the start?”

There is no road map when it comes to integrating Farm to School into education and health science courses of study. Yet professors, teachers, faculty, and students at Western Carolina University and Jackson County Public Schools embraced our idea of working “upstream,” training pre-service students and nutritionists in Farm to School programming so they could incorporate the methods from day one of their careers. These partners have offered vital assistance, support, insight, and guidance along the way. They have embraced this approach and are now fully engaged in spreading the benefits of Farm to School. Their enthusiasm is affirming, and they certainly deserve a big thanks from us.

Sarah Malcolm, who participated in the pilot as a Western Carolina University student and who is interviewed for our Inspired story, recently shared with us that she feels the Farm to School portfolio she created helped her secure her first teaching job.

Again, this is wonderfully affirming. What’s more, the success means we get to continue this exciting work! We get to continue working with Western Carolina University and Jackson County Public Schools, to continue learning from them. And, we get to begin another project—one which has grown from the seed of our pilot project to a full-fledged new approach. Currently, schools throughout our region are submitting their proposals to receive funding to become Growing Minds Schools—schools just like those in Jackson County, where Farm to School is front-and-center in the classroom and cafeteria. We can’t wait!

If you’ve not watched our Inspired video, we hope you will, and that you’ll share our story with others. To learn more about this work and our new project, visit, and follow ASAP on Facebook (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) and Twitter (asapconnections).

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Capturing Inspiration

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Behind the Scenes


Not quite a Hollywood soundstage, inspiration was captured at make-shift sets across the state. Here, the Kids in Parks story shines under the bright lights as Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation CEO, Carolyn Ward tells of their great work.





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Finding Inspiration

| Posted by Kathy Higgins | 2 Comments | Tags: , , , ,


There’s no doubt that inspiration comes from many places.  For artists it might be the perfect landscape.  Students, the passionate teacher.  Parents, something as simple as the smile on their child’s face.  While I have been fortunate to see those perfect smiles, have the one-of-a-kind teacher and take what I think is a pretty good picture, as a grantmaker and as a North Carolinian, my inspiration most often comes from what I see each and every day when I come to work.  In fact, I might have the best job in the world.  Here I am a witness to what makes North Carolina so special, neighbor caring for neighbor – communities defining what it truly means to be a community. 

And that all becomes very tangible as a grantmaker, as we partner with the nonprofits and leaders across our state at the center of so much good.  Not a day passes where I don’t hear, read or get introduced to an amazing story that reminds me of just how fortunate I am, and just how fortunate North Carolina is, to have such a committed and vibrant nonprofit community.

It is difficult to admit there are times I think about how challenging it seems to keep my life in order, to care for all the needs of my family.  Yet all around us are individuals and organizations caring for entire faith congregations, for urban neighborhoods lacking basic health care, for children in need of healthy food.  And what is more evident than anything is the sense of honor they exude in going about their life’s work.  These folks are not burdened.  They are inspired – inspired  by their work, inspired by the difference they are making in others lives.

It is this inspiration that led to the creation of Inspired.  These stories need to be told.  They deserve to be told.  You see, these aren’t faceless organizations, these are everyday people who have made the very deliberate choice of improving the world around them.  A dentist who could be practicing anywhere, yet he has chosen to be where he is needed most.  A family doctor and his medical student who still see value in and make time for house calls.  And the hundreds of women in and around Kinston who are making lifelong bonds and life-changing health decisions thanks to the efforts of one woman.

These, and many others, are the stories of Inspired.

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