It is a youth-oriented community farm in the rolling hills of Augusta County, Virginia, on Berry Farm Road. We are a non-profit whose mission is to improve the overall health of children and youth in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County through community farming that includes hands-on experience, nutrition education, and access to healthy food.
Project GROWS started with a Regional Partners for Prevention Services (RPPS) planning meeting held in 2010. RPPS was founded in 1997 by agencies concerned about the lack of prevention initiatives in the area. Together, the 60 agency members of RPPS assess community issues, respond to identified needs, and strengthen existing initiatives to ensure the delivery of services to local youth and their families. RPPS also functions as a youth subcommittee for the Augusta Health Community Forum, a group of 200 members that identifies and addresses the health care needs of our community.
Several agencies participating in RPPS decided a new approach was needed to improve the health of area children and youth. After learning about the inspiring success of Growing Power in Wisconsin, they launched Project GROWS to explore ways to promote healthy living and eating through youth gardening. They recruited more partners and secured a location for the community farm at Augusta County's Berry Farm property. In April 2012, the partners created a nonprofit corporation Project GROWS, Inc.