Project GROWS is a community farm in Verona, Virginia that rests on 10 acres of quintessentially green fields. The idea for this community farm originated as a solution to combat a growing obesity rate and create healthy activities and learning opportunities for children in Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro. After a few years of planning and development, Project GROWS sprouted its first seeds last year. The community farm works closely with the Boys and Girls Club and has had great success thanks to them and thanks to the rest of the farm’s extensive network of collaborators, which includes Augusta Health’s Working on Wellness Program, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club, Mary Baldwin College, Head Start, Office on Youth, Shenandoah Valley Social Services, Valley Community Services Board, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Growing Healthy Food, Learning Healthy Habits
This year marks the second season of growing for the community farm. Last year, they produced 3,000 pounds of produce. 90% of that produce was donated back to the Boys and Girls Club and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, illustrating Project GROWS’ commitment to making healthy eating a part of a child’s, and the rest of the community’s, everyday lives. This summer, Project GROWS will offer a six-week program at the farm for children to actively learn about health, nutrition and growing their own food.
That six-week program isn’t the only new event taking place – many other exciting things are happening with Project GROWS. Along with donating food that is produced on the farm, Project GROWS will also be selling to the public at the North Augusta Farmers Market and through a CSA (which will begin June 4 and extend through October 1, 2013). Other additions include several fruit trees provided by a group of Mary Baldwin students, some chickens that are currently being raised by members of the Boys and Girls Club, and later in the season, a cob oven!
Help Them Grow!
If you’re interested in helping out with this awesome project, you can do so every Thursday from 2 PM to 8 PM until October! When there, you can help plant, pick weeds, harvest, or any other farm related activity you could think of. If you just want to hang out, you can do that too – there is no obligation to work and anyone can participate in a potluck that starts at 6:30 PM!
Project Grows’ Mission: Improve the overall health of children and youth through community farming that includes hands-on experience, nutrition education, and access to healthy food.