2019 Winter Vermont Farm to School Network Project Updates

Posted on January 19, 2019

Vermont FEED coordinates the Vermont Farm to School Network with 50 Farm to School leaders engaged in collaborative action projects. The Network's goal is to engage 75% of Vermont schools in integrated food system education and nourishing meals, purchasing 50% from sustainable local and regional sources, by 2025. Here is the latest progress of the Network:

Farm to School & Early Childhood Day

On Wednesday, February 6th, we were at the State House in Montpelier to advocate for the expansion of Vermont’s Farm to School and Early Childhood programs and raise awareness of the positive impact Farm to School has on Vermont kids, our health, and the local economy. We testified in front of six different committees (House Education, Joint Senate and House Agriculture, Senate Health & Welfare, Senate Education, and House Human Services), and a Farm to School lunch special from New School Cuisine was served in the cafeteria. The day culminated with Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets' Grants Award Celebration. Pictured above, Newbrook Elementary School students prepare to sing "Dirt Made My Lunch" on the House Floor as the special Farm to School and Early CHildhood Day Devotional. Updates to follow by the Vermont Farm to School Network!

Farm to School Data Harvest

The Farm to School Data Harvest’s primary objective was to shed light on Vermont’s progress towards Farm to School integration in our schools, in relation to the Network’s goal. The report was produced by the Vermont Department of Health on behalf of the Network. Watch out for more materials about this important work and download the full report here.

Farm to School Case Studies

Vermont schools are integrating Farm to School through multiple pathways, aligned with the school’s overall priorities. In order to illustrate how Farm to School programming could work in early care and K-12 schools, the Network chose five examples from across the state. They are diverse not only in experiences but also in terms of the size of the student population, grade level, socioeconomic representation, and approaches to Farm to School. Interviewers spoke with teachers, parents, community members, administrators, food service directors, and kitchen managers, and found many paths to success. Read the case studies.

Farm to School Campaign for School Leaders

The Network will be reaching out to school leaders to demonstrate the educational benefits of Farm to School and School Nutrition programs. The Campaign will help make the case for investing in local foods and Farm to School programs, and will include a toolkit with resources to help leaders make informed decisions. Contact Dana Hudson for more information or to get involved.

Beef to Schools

The Network is exploring the potential of a statewide “Beef to Schools” program to facilitate getting Vermont ground beef into school meals. The team is researching models and exploring options, from coordinating purchasing to educating schools and suppliers. Vermont beef will be added to the Vermont Harvest of the Month program in 2019.

Interested in learning more about the Vermont Farm to School Network? Join the Farm to School listserv and sign up for the quarterly Farm to School Coordinator eNewsletter.