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Educator recognized for championing local food connections for afterschool students in Waynesboro

jay holly
Jameson “Jay” Holly. Photo courtesy Project GROWS.

The former program director at the Boys and Girls Club of Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County has been recognized as a 2020 Community Food Champion by the National Farm to School Network.

The recognition of Jameson “Jay” Holly includes a $500 honorarium in gratitude for the work that Holly, a local afterschool educator, has done to feed children and families in Waynesboro and Staunton.

Holly is one of 30 honorees from across the country given this special recognition by National Farm to School Network, a national nonprofit working to ensure equitable access to local food and nutrition education in order to improve children’s health, strengthen family farms and cultivate vibrant communities.

Honorees were selected by National Farm to School Network for their outstanding efforts in keeping kids and families connected to our community food system, especially during this challenging year.

“In addition to being an inspiring and tireless afterschool educator for local youth, Jay is also an excellent chef and has consistently supported and championed efforts to provide students at the Boys and Girls Club with farm field trips, cooking classes, vegetable tastings, and take-home snack packs with local produce,” said Nichole Barrows, director of education at Project GROWS, a nonprofit educational farm in Verona that works closely with the Boys and Girls Club to provide students with local food experiences.

Holly has encouraged middle school students to participate in the Youth-Run Farm Stand in the Boys and Girls Club parking lot each summer, a program which helps students build leadership skills and learn about local produce. He was also a driving force on the Super Summer Chefs video series partnership between the Boys and Girls Club, Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Virginia Family Nutrition Program, and Project GROWS, in which he encouraged students about healthy eating during the pandemic and talked to them about how common vegetables can be prepared into simple snacks at home.