Food Systems Learning as a Bridge to Farm to School Readiness

Posted on July 29, 2019

Every year, Vermont FEED gears up for our Northeast Farm to School Institute, reaching out to schools and early childhood programs to recruit the next cohort of educators, administrators, and school nutrition professionals that will bring Farm to School back to their community. However, building a Farm to School team across the school community can take time. Meanwhile, educators are eager to integrate hands-on food, farm, and nutrition concepts into their curriculum.

This summer, the weeklong Shelburne Farms Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability focused on food systems as a means to bridging this perceived gap. “Not only has the lens of food systems led to powerful discussions about social and environmental justice during all of our professional learning programs,” says Jen Cirillo, Shelburne Farms Director of Professional Learning, “But food systems are at the center of successful Farm to School programming. Educators and students are learning about the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the decisions we make every day about the food we choose to eat.” Participants can deepen their understanding of these issues, bring that learning back to school, and get colleagues interested in more comprehensive Farm to School opportunities. And as that interest spreads, the Farm to School Institute feels like the next step!

Designed to be dynamic and engaging, the Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability offers teachers the time and space to explore content and skills, and develop projects or units while providing opportunities to network with colleagues and leaders in the field of Education for Sustainability. The overall goal: provide teachers with the opportunity to develop connections between their curriculum, local environment, and community and reflect in an inspiring setting that models sustainability and systems thinking.

Photo by Bob Schatz.