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Nicole:  00:07 Our mission is to be the urban agriculture and community gardening resource of Ashville and Buckham County .

Nicole: 00:15 My name is Nicole Hinebaugh and I’m the program director with Bountiful Cities. We’re part of a number of different collaborative initiatives that are working to achieve food sovereignty, how can we grow enough food right here for people to be able to eat and meet their food needs. Education is extremely important and that’s why programs like FEAST and like Strong Roots are crucial.

Summer: 00:45 I’m Summer Whelden  and I’m the cooking and garden teacher for FEAST at Hall Fletcher Elementary. We have a pretty diverse group of kids that go to this school. This was the most economically challenged school. It had the highest percentage of free-and-reduced lunch. Kids are dealing with different stress and different trauma for different reasons. The garden is a place where they can decompress and be connected to the natural world.

Kate: 01:10 Being able to make choices that are healthier choices or to put something in your body that makes you feel good versus just putting something in your body is really important. Having this school-based program where students get the opportunity to play with zucchini. They get to dissect it. They get to taste it raw. They get to taste it in all these different ways. And kids really like that freedom to do things. They get super excited. They come running up to you and like, “What are we gonna make today?” And, “How can we do this?” We bring in multi-colored carrots. So purple and yellow and…thinking about how they taste, and that the color of the carrot doesn’t actually change the fact that it’s still a carrot. We can talk about that and the differences and say it’s just like us. If you look around, we’re all different. We don’t have to judge ourselves on those things and what we look like. Food is the same way. It’s such a great tool for education and such a great tool for just self-reflection. Like you have a kid that’s gonna go sit in the garden and think. That’s pretty powerful.