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New Curriculum Tackles Food Insecurity in Rural US

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Grow Food Where People Live gardening and food curriculum produced in partnership with the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA) and The McCullough Institute for Conservation, Land Use and Environmental Resiliency.

The curriculum is the fruit of more than a year-and-a-half of action research conducted by UNCA student Julia Krebs-Moberg under the mentorship of UNCA professor Alison Ormsby. Ms. Krebs-Moberg won a 2016 McCullough fellowship to investigate best practices and develop a curriculum for community resilience and food security. The curriculum contains 13 hands-on lessons to teach essentials skills for growing, preserving and cooking healthy food, and introduces market gardening concepts that successful gardeners can use to turn their home-scale production into a micro-enterprise.

Ms. Krebs-Moberg and Dr. Ormsby conducted field research and tested the lessons they developed during the summer of 2016 with residents at Ashley Meadows, an affordable housing facility located in Polk County North Carolina where Groundswell implemented its two-year Grow Food Where People Live pilot project. In addition to receiving support from numerous UNCA faculty and students, Groundswell worked closely with many Polk County stakeholders, including the Office of Agricultural Economic Development, Polk County Department of Social Services, and Thermal Belt Outreach Ministries.

Grow Food Where People Live empowered dozens of families to improve their own food security and generated valuable lessons and products, including the curriculum, that are informing other organizations and initiatives in the US. In Polk County, the non-governmental organization Growing Rural Opportunities, which was formed during the pilot, is utilizing the curriculum in its ongoing work at Ashley Meadows and elsewhere.

We greatly appreciate the hard work of the many people that made this curriculum possible. We especially want to thank Julia Krebs-Moberg, Alison Ormsby, Grace Lewis, Saige Hopkins, Sydney Klein, Patrick McLendon, Dawn Jordan, Dawn Yanna Fishman, Candace Krebs, and all of the participants at Ashley Meadows.

The curriculum is available for free through the Growing Rural Opportunities website.

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