The school year is off to a fantastic start and the Roots Foundation team is excited to be working with all of you again. We have teamed up with FEAST to give you all an overview of what’s happening at Vance in this first quarter of the school year. Enjoy the reading!
Fall is a busy time in FEAST classes! As the days grow shorter and cooler, the garden is a flurry of following caterpillars as they transform into butterflies, harvesting the last of summer’s crop, and preparing the beds for winter. This quarter, each class has had a series of 4- 6 FEAST classes in the garden, which focus on the mission of empowering youth and families to grow, prepare, and enjoy fruits and vegetables through hands-on cooking and gardening education.


The Roots Foundation: In collaboration with Asheville Greenworks, kindergartners spent the day in the woods at Hominy Creek where they participated in three different stations and learned about trees.
FEAST: Kindergartners began tracking the migration of thousands of monarch butterflies from the northern US to Mexico for the winter. We sent paper butterflies to a pen-pal school through the Journey North Citizen Science program. Kindergartners also learned how to be outdoor learners and discovered how food can be composted into the soil with the help of wiggly worms.

First Grade

The Roots Foundation: They launched their economics unit with a field trip to Hickory Nut Gap Farm. During their project, this quarter they will learn about and grow mint that will be sold to the Chocolate Lounge and the proceeds will support FEAST classes.
FEAST: First grade started the year exploring and learning about garden soil. We explored what soil is made of, how it holds water for plants to drink, and how humans can help make soil by composting food scraps, paper, and plant material.

Second Grade

The Roots Foundation: They have been busy learning to be meteorologists using the weather station on campus. They have identified and made their own weather tools, tracked the weather patterns and had a field trip to the Arboretum.
FEAST: Second graders learned how to save seeds from tomatoes, and that some plants prefer warm weather and some prefer cool weather. They learned how to clear a bed, plant cover crop seeds to feed the soil, and prepare the garden for winter.

Third Grade

The Roots Foundation: The third graders are learning about soil and what plants need to grow indoors. They harvested radish seeds and planted them in different soil types: clay, sand, and hummus. They grew lettuce seedlings and recorded their observations of the plants.
FEAST: Third graders also started the year learning about different kinds of soil. We explored different kinds of soil and compared their effect on plant growth and learned how to build a healthy compost pile and healthy garden soil.

Fourth Grade

The Roots Foundation: In Spanish class, 4th graders learned about Hispanic food traditions and how they are connected to our global diet. They harvested golden amaranth, threshed it, winnowed it, popped it and made delicious alegrias, also known as joy bars. They shared their experiences during the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.
FEAST: Fourth graders explored how plants adapt and work together so they can survive in their environment. We applied the concepts of teamwork, interdependence, diversity, and adaptation to garden projects so we could see how we, too, are a part of nature.

Fifth Grade

The Roots Foundation: They have been exploring what ecology means and produced a quilt reflecting their ideas and inspiration.
FEAST: Fifth graders have been learning about the tradition of growing corn, beans, and squash together, also known as the Three Sisters, a project they began in the Spring as 4th graders. This fall, they harvested the corn and learned crafts that use different parts of the plant. They have also pressed fresh apple cider and plugged logs to grow oyster mushrooms!

Engage with The Roots Foundation

We love our volunteers! Parents and friends are always welcome to volunteer in the classrooms or outside, with your child’s class or others. If you haven’t already, please be sure to complete the Volunteer Verification Form.

* To work in the gardens without students, please complete a LEVEL 1

* To work indoors or outdoors with students, please complete a LEVEL 2

Let us know your availability and interest and we’ll match you up with a teacher. Questions about our volunteer opportunities and ongoing projects? Contact

THANK YOU to our volunteers so far this fall!

Wonderful parents, Warren Wilson College, Asheville Christian Academy, Grass to Greens, UNC-Asheville, Mission Hospital, Irene Wortham Center, Beverly Hanks & Associates, The Asheville School and Roots Hummus.

Ways to get involved with FEAST

➜ Volunteer with your child’s FEAST class: Most classes have a series of 5-6 classes, once a week. Let Jordan know if you are interested in lending a hand.

➜ Weekly Weed N Feed: Thursdays after school until Nov 17. Bring a snack to share! We have a potluck snack and then dig in for garden projects until 3:30/4:00. No garden experience necessary.

➜ Weekend Weed N Feed Workdays:
Saturday, Dec 2nd, 11 AM – 1 PM

Contact Jordan at or go to

Other Exciting News

🌿   On Monday of Eco Week, The Roots Foundation and FEAST teamed up with Asheville Greenworks for a fun skit “Refuse – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle.”

🌿   On October 31, All K-5 teachers and Specialists participated in a Professional Development workshop focused on Project Based Learning facilitated by The Roots Foundation.

🌿   We are building a new tool shed! The Roots Foundation has partnered with the UNCA Maintenance Staff to build us a new place to store our garden tools so that the cob building can be repurposed as a gathering space.

🌿   Garden space construction: You may have wondered why the area that once held 8 raised garden beds has been roped off and covered in plastic for the last several months. We have been fighting the bermudagrass in that space so that our veggies can have a chance to grow! Stop by and see the 2 new strawberry beds by the sidewalk. We are planting cover crops now to crowd out the weeds and enrich the soil with nutrients so that we can rotate the Three Sisters Garden to this area next year.

🌿   Garden Party and Ecology Week: Thank you to everyone who came out to the Garden Party and Eco Week Expo! It was so great to see our school community come out and celebrate student ecology projects and the bounty of our Peace Garden. A HUGE shout out to the folks that poured their time into making this party rock: Kate Millar, Kate Justen, Jessica Merchant, Brenda Dobashi, Lori Meek, Mark Rosenstein, Rachel Figura, Bonnie Millar, Vicki Magnis, Colleen Frederick, Paul Garrity, Rockelle Hancock, Andrea Burns, and all of the teachers and families at Vance.

New Team Members at The Roots Foundation

Debra Kiliru, Director of Engagement, joined us in the summer. She coordinates our community outreach, events, volunteers and communications.  She works alongside Laura supporting teachers with curriculum development and class projects.
Laura Ruby, Director of Curriculum gave birth to beautiful Flora on July 12. Her smile brightens up our workday. She can sometimes be spotted checking out all the colorful displays in the Vance hallways or having her toes tickled by happy teachers and students.

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