FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The pandemic has changed everything in one way or another, but not every way is for the worse. One local teaching farm was forced to pivot, but as a result, grew its business more than it ever imagined.
For those who don’t know, Apple Seeds is a local educational farm that teaches kids about farm-to-table and how those foods are then prepared in the kitchen.
“As soon as things started to shut down last year, a couple of things stood out. The first being a lot of the kids and students we served we’re not gonna get fed. So we’re in constant communication with those educators and they were concerned,” said Collins.
However, Apple Seeds was able to adapt in the most uncertain of times to meet the growing need.
“We moved away from just growing for educational programs, which usually requires 3500 pounds of produce a year. Last year we grew about 7000 pounds and all of that was donated,” said Collins.
The growth didn’t stop there. Not being able to have students learning on the farm forced Apples Seeds’ small team of 8 full-timers to adapt on the fly.
“We took all of our experience and educational programs and we learned how to write scripts, shoot video, and edit. But all that programming, worksheets, teacher guides, and assessment guides have all been picked up and we made it free,” said Collins.
While Collins said she’s happy they can now welcome kiddos back on the farm, their virtual programs will live on. Today the online courses they’ve developed have been picked in 21 states and 3 Canadian provinces. Growth and reach Apple Seeds may have never seen if it wasn’t for COVID-19.