OZARK NATURAL FOODS FUELS APPLE SEEDS TEACHING FARM: A UNIFIED VISION FORGES AN INVALUABLE PARTNERSHIPJANUARY 29, 2014
Top regional co-op, Ozark Natural Foods, validates and fuels Apple Seeds Teaching Farm from the ground level--sharing a unified vision of bringing the message of healthy eating and garden-based education to Northwest Arkansas.
On Tuesday, Ozark Natural Foods (ONF) presented Apple Seeds a check for $20,000; this, in addition to $5,000 already donated in December 2013 to help fund farm startup costs. In addition to monetary support, ONF will help promote the farm, provide educational support and shared programming.
“We are thrilled that our relationship with Ozark Natural Foods has come full circle,” said Mary Thompson, Co-Executive Director, Apple Seeds. “Alysen Land, ONF General Manager, was one of the founding members of Apple Seeds, and personally incorporated the organization in 2007. Having the support of ONF, such a trusted and trailblazing group, is vital to realizing our dream for this site. We share a vision for teaching the next generation of community leaders and expanding our reach into Northwest Arkansas. We are humbled and invigorated by the groundswell of community support.”
The Apple Seeds Teaching Farm will be 2-acre community farm and regional school garden education hub located in the center of Fayetteville, beside Ozark Natural Foods on College Avenue. The space will be used for school garden training, accessible to all schools in the region. The farm will start by hosting demonstration gardens, school garden workshops, and school field trips. In Phase 2, it will expand to include educational workshops, a tool lending library, summer camps, and farm dinners. The facility will include a barn, offices, outdoor kitchen, and tool shed.
A shared philosophy (and neighboring location!) make this a very meaningful partnership. “Education is one of the 7 Internationally Recognized Cooperative Principles, as is Concern for Community,” said Alexa McGriff, Marketing Director, Ozark Natural Foods. “Therefore, when we were approached about supporting this project in 2013, knowing that it is our vision and mission to educate our community and provide them with the resources to lead healthier, happier lives, and knowing that we strive to meet the 7 Cooperative Principles on a daily basis, we knew we couldn't pass an opportunity like this up. Apple Seeds is creating something that will be invaluable to the community of Northwest Arkansas, and with the support of ONF--and hopefully many other local supporters--they will make it the best it can be. We are happy to be a part of it.”
ABOUT APPLE SEEDS: For nearly 10 years APPLE SEEDS has been serving Northwest Arkansas. In that time the organization has made great strides, positively impacting the community—student surveys show improved attitudes toward healthy food, and heightened knowledge of nutrition. Apple Seeds provides a variety of programs, including gardening clubs, healthy cooking classes, field trips to farms and farmers markets, and school garden farmers markets. Thanks in large part to our Farm to School partnership with the Fayetteville Public Schools Apple Seeds will have reached nearly 6,000 students by the end of 2013. For more information visit www.appleseedsnwa.org.
ABOUT OZARK NATURAL FOODS: Ozark Natural Foods is a cooperative grocery store that has been a part of the Northwest Arkansas community for over 40 years. ONF is dedicated to healthful living and sustainability and is the only food co-op in Arkansas. Ozark Natural Foods serves over 10,200 co-op owners and supports over 70 local vendors. For more information visit www.ozarknaturalfoods.com.