A planned project to build an urban “teaching farm” on College Avenue in Fayetteville got a huge shot in the arm Tuesday.
Ozark Natural Foods donated $20,000 to local non-profit Apple Seeds Inc. to help build the farm on the two-acre property just north of the natural foods store in Fayetteville.
“We are thrilled that our relationship with Ozark Natural Foods has come full circle,” said Apple Seeds Co-Executive Dirctor Mary Thompson. “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.”
The farm will include demonstration gardens to teach children how to harvest healthy foods, and will offer educational programs designed to teach children the importance of eating a healthy diet. The planned facility will eventually include a barn, offices, outdoor kitchen, and tool shed.
Ozark Natural Foods marketing director Alexa McGriff said the project aligns perfectly with the goals of the co-op. The store had already kicked in $5,000 to the farm during a fundraiser Apple Seeds held late last year.
“Education is one of the 7 Internationally Recognized Cooperative Principles, as is Concern for Community,” McGriff said. “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 be able to make it be the best it can be. We are happy to be a part of it,” McGriff said.
Apple Seeds Inc., a non-profit that seeks to inspire “healthy living through garden-based education,” had already raised $10,000 toward the project via a Kickstarter campaign last fall.
Board member Bernice Hembree said Apple Seeds has already hired a farm manager for the project, and the hope is to break ground on the farm March 1.
Hembree said the group will also host a fundraiser on March 1 at Smoke & Barrel Tavern to help keep momentum going for the project. The event will feature performances by several local musicians, including Mike Bewley, Dave Baer, Effron White, Shannon Wurst, Air Loom, Candy Lee & The Sweets, and Cutty Rye.
For more information about Apple Seeds Inc., and the teaching farm project, visit appleseedsnwa.org.