- Agronomic: potatoes
- Fruits: apples, citrus, melons
- Vegetables: sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbages, cucurbits, greens (leafy), onions, peppers, tomatoes
- Animals: bovine
- Education and Training: technical assistance, farmer to farmer, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study
- Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, new business opportunities, partnerships
Research on the profitability of the Farm to School market in the region finds that while the costs of selling to schools is higher and the market size smaller, school markets are more profitable than other types of market outlets. Current demand is concentrated in a few products but strategies that include season extension and collaboration with Child Nutrition Directors on menus have the potential to increase the amount of local produce sourced. Research on the impact of Farm to School activities with students, parents, and teachers shows that Farm to School activities – farm fieldtrips and cooking with local, seasonal foods – increases awareness of local farms and increases interest in trying and eating local foods.
Objective #1 “Research and assess existing/potential conditions for Farm to School (F2S) in western NC”: Survey Child Nutrition Directors and their staffs to gather information regarding: preferred food products/level of processing, insurance/liability coverage, quantities. Extrapolate information to conclude what crop would be the most profitable, how many farmers F2S could provide a market for. Farmers interviewed for data collection of current F2S market, opportunities/barriers to this market, develop business plans
Objective #2 “Educating market participants and consumers to expand market potential”: Provide information/training to Child Nutrition Directors interested in sourcing locally grown food for school. Outreach/training to recruit new farmers to market. Provide 5 farm trips and 5 local food cooking classes to schools to promote the F2S market. Evaluate effectiveness of this educational experience on the market potential for farmers.