What is VT FEED?
VT FEED grew out of a belief that the growing disconnect from our land, our food, and our agricultural roots was neither healthy nor sustainable, and that we could simultaneously promote the resurgence of local farms and increase equitable access to fresh, healthy food for all children through education and outreach in schools.
Our vision is to engage every student and community in a local food and farm culture that nurtures child health, cultivates viable farms, and builds vibrant communities. We do this by helping to grow robust farm to school programs, acting as a catalyst for rebuilding healthy food systems, and cultivating links between classrooms, cafeterias, communities, and local farms.
Founded in 2000, VT FEED is a project that grew out of the partnership between three Vermont nonprofit organizations with a long history in sustainable agriculture: Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), Shelburne Farms, and FoodWorks at Two Rivers Center. FEED is currently managed by NOFA-VT and Shelburne Farms.
- IN FOOD EQUITY AND ACCESS. The current food system reinforces injustice and inequity. In a sustainable food system, everyone will have access to nutritious, healthy, affordable foods and opportunities to produce it.
- A HEALTHY DIET IMPACTS STUDENT SUCCESS. Students who are well-fed with nutritious foods are able to be more engaged and successful in their learning.
- PLACE-BASED FOOD, FARM, & NUTRITION EDUCATION IMPACTS THE HEALTH OF STUDENTS AND SCHOOL CULTURE. Farm to School gives students the knowledge , skills and values to make healthy choices for themselves and their communities.
- INVESTING IN LOCAL AGRICULTURE IS CRITICAL. Local food systems are essential to the health of the local economy, environment, and communities.
- A HEALTHY FOOD SYSTEM IS CRITICAL TO A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE. Food systems are a powerful lens for exploring and addressing the complex issues of sustainability.
- IN THE POWER OF COLLABORATION. School systems change when a diversity of partners and the school community align to invest in creating change together.
- provide training, mentoring, professional learning and technical assistance to schools, food service staff, farmers, and nonprofit organizations working to build strong farm to school programs
- develop tools, resources, and evidence-based best practices in the areas of food literacy and curriculum, nutrition and cafeteria practices, local purchasing and procurement, and program development
- conduct research to inform food system investments and develop new market opportunities for Vermont farmers and food businesses through institutional purchasing
- raise community awareness by organizing events like Jr Iron Chef VT to make youth voices more visible in food system change
- advocate for strong statewide and national policies supporting Farm to School work
- coordinate and serve as the lead for the Northeast Farm to School Collaborative to build a strong farm to school movement and to strengthen our collective impact
- coordinate the Vermont Farm to School Network to facilitate local connections, foster local engagement, and work to increase farm to school initiatives in the state