Professional Development

On the Farm to School Institute:

The coaches help follow up on projects, ideas, and planning, and they've been invaluable in that process. It gives us a chance to sustain our efforts. Farm to school is really hard work - hard in a world of competing priorities in public school, and it takes a lot of commitment and organization. The design of this program has been the best that I've experienced in a long career of quality professional development.

- Bruce Williams, Superintendent of School, Two Rivers Supervisory Union

"It has all been very educational and insightful. It's nice knowing we are not alone in our obstacles but are inspired from others' success stories. Connecting with other schools has been helpful. Loved all the speakers. Workshops were great."

-Kerrie Mathes, Champlain Elementary

VT FEED offers a range of professional development opportunities around the state, as well as customized courses upon request. These professional development opportunities can also be facilitated in partnership with your local or regional Farm to School organization. We also may be available for workshops outside of Vermont on a fee-for-service basis. Our offerings range from stand-alone workshops to graduate-level courses and our renowned yearlong Farm to School Institute. We offer courses for communities, schools, food service programs, educators, and more. Browse our offerings below and search the events page for upcoming trainings. You can contact Ryan Morra, VT-FEED Professional Learning Coordinator, to learn about upcoming professional development opportunities, customizing a training for your group, organization or staff, or partnering with us to bring a course to your region.

Click on the titles for expanded information.

Farm to School Courses

Level I: Cultivating Farm to School

(1 credit of graduate continuing education available for additional fee)

Our Level 1 FEED Course is designed for a mixture of school staff, faculty, administrators and community members. You will explore and expand personal and professional knowledge and experience related to Farm to School education while building and strengthening community connections. Participants are encouraged to bring shared learning experiences back to their communities and classrooms and to develop the vital relationships necessary to make farm to school education a real and lasting part of the community, classroom, and cafeteria!

Interactive class sessions include a balance of hands-on cooking, networking, guest expert presentations, dialogue, small group activities, and practical experiences.

The course is generally comprised of six separate 3-hour long class meetings that occur after school hours hosted on site at a school or other community location. A typical Level 1 course arc is as follows (specific content or order of classes can be altered):

Class 1: Introduction to 3Cs of Farm to School

  • Community Connections, Classroom Context, Cafeteria & School Nutrition 101
  • Case studies and stories of Farm to School

Class 2: Hunger, Food Security & Nutrition

  • Hunger awareness
  • School meals & summer food programs; Key nutrition principles

Class 3: Curriculum Connections

  • Exploring K-12 curriculum ideas, Understanding by Design techniques & tools for integrating farm field trips, food, nutrition, cooking and taste tests into your classroom.
  • Designing food, farming, and nutrition lessons & units in alignment with NGSS and Common Core State Standards

Class 4: Farm- and Garden-Based Education

  • School Garden education & activities
  • School community garden events, summer care, and tools for program sustainability.
  • Farm visits and opportunities for classroom connections

Class 5: School Nutrition 201 and Taste Testing

  • History of school food programs, commodity (USDA Foods) and distribution
  • Local food purchasing and Values-based Tiered Buying
  • Taste tests & FFVP snack program

Class 6: Celebrating Local Foods and Growing School Communities!

  • Final presentations of course projects
  • Assessment & evaluation

If you would like to see a Level 1 course offered for your region, contact your regional Farm to School Organization or VT-FEED Professional Learning Coordinator Ryan Morra at rmorra@shelburnefarms.org.

Level II: Farm to School Curriculum Connections

(1 credit of graduate continuing education available for additional fee)

Our Level 2 course is designed specifically for classroom teachers or other educators in the school community who are looking to deepen or expand their curriculum and project-based learning related to farm to school including: nutrition, food systems, classroom cooking, and garden-based education. The course is generally comprised of six separate 3-hour long class meetings that occur after school hours hosted on site at a school or other community location.

Each course is designed uniquely in response to goals set by participants in order to focus on teacher needs. Designed to be dynamic and democratic, this emergent course offers teachers the time and space to develop projects of personal interest while providing opportunities to learn from colleagues and other leaders in the farm to school field. Interactive class sessions will feature a blend of individual work time, peer-to-peer feedback, resource sharing, hands-on food preparation, and large and small group discussions.   

If you would like to see a Level 2 course offered for your region, contact your regional Farm to School Organization or VT-FEED Professional Learning Coordinator Ryan Morra at rmorra@shelburnefarms.org.

Farm to School Institute

The Farm to School Institute is a year-long professional development opportunity for twelve school teams from New England and New York. Learn more about this unique learning opportunity and how to apply. Learn more >

Culinary Workshops for Child Nutrition Professionals

(each class earns 2-3 credit hours towards SNA Certification)

For child nutrition professionals, in partnership with the School Nutrition Association of VT (SNA-VT). Topics are selected based on feedback from previous workshop participants. These workshops are held at locations throughout the state and are designed to help child nutrition professionals:

  • develop hands-on professional skills
  • use scratch cooking techniques efficiently
  • facilitate nutrition education programs for students
  • reduce sodium in food served at school
  • create lunch and breakfast items

If you have a workshop topic you’d like to see offered please contact VT-FEED Program Director, Abbie Nelson of NOFA-VT, at abbie@nofavt.org.
Past course topics have included:

  • Mastering the Basics: Expert Food Preparation Techniques Fast and Fun
  • Fresh Foods Galore: Preparation and Cooking Techniques Spanning the Seasons
  • Spice it Up: Bring a World of Flavors to School Food
  • Back to Basics: Cooking Techniques You Use Every Day
  • Time is of the Essence: Developing an Efficient Kitchen
  • A Pinch of This, A Pinch of That: The Art and Science of Scratch Baking
  • Kids in the Kitchen
  • Sodium Solutions: Shaking the Salt Habit

ABCs of Farm-Based Education offered by Shelburne Farms

Designed for farm-based educators, and open to school teachers looking for new ideas for an existing program or interested in exploring the opportunities of farm-based education. Discover easy and fun ways to develop agricultural education programs with engaging, kid-tested, educator approved activities! If you are looking for new ideas for an existing program, or are starting to explore the opportunities of farm-based education, this workshop is for you! Spend three days of hands-on, discussion and activity based learning and exploration of the Shelburne Farms campus, including the dairy, farmyard, garden, and forest classrooms. Experience activities from Shelburne Farms’ publications Project Seasons and Cultivating Joy and Wonder as we discuss ways to engage school groups and farm visitors.  Workshop topics include: creating a safe learning environment, developing programs, resource sharing and networking among participants, and more!

ABC’s of Farm-based Education is offered twice annually (Winter/Spring and Fall) and is co-presented with the Farm-Based Education Network, a project of Shelburne FarmsPlease contact Vera Simon-Nobes, Farm-Based Education Network Coorindator at Shelburne Farms, vsimonnobes@shelburnefarms.org