I am so excited to announce the 2018 mini-grant program at Upper Valley Farm to School! We have funding focused on both Vermont and New Hampshire schools. Start dreaming up your farm-to-school projects – we want to support you!
How does BFGK Self-Directed Group Baking work?
Learn how easy (and fun!) it is to bring our very popular free BFGK Self-Directed Program to YOUR students. We’ll show you how it works, how to access helpful information, and practice some roll shaping skills! Take home BFGK Program materials and enjoy some homemade pizza!
Instructor: Paula Gray, is the Manager of the Bake for Good Kids Program. She has been an educator/presenter for over 30 years, and is an employee owner of the King Arthur Flour Company in Norwich, VT
When: Monday October 30, 2017, 5:30-7:00PM
Where: Culinary Learning Center, COOP Food Store, 12 Centerra Parkway, Lebanon, NH 03766
Register: Contact Beth Roy at Beth@VitalCommunities.org or (802)291-9100 x105 or register on-line
Join Upper Valley Farm to School and Vermont FEED for a Level I Professional Learning Course: Cultivating Farm to School. This learning opportunity is designed for school educators, staff, administrators, and community members to explore and expand their personal and professional knowledge and experience related to Farm to School education while building and strengthening school community connections. Participants will be encouraged to build and develop shared learning experiences for their students while building and developing the vital relationships necessary to make Farm to School education a real and lasting part of their community, classroom and cafeteria.
Interactive class sessions will include a balance of hands-on cooking, individual work time, networking, guest presentations, dialogue, small group activities and practical experiences that will serve to deepen participant understanding of the various elements and promising practices of farm-to-school programs.
The class will take place at Mascoma Regional High School 4:00-7:00pm
We are very fortunate to be able to provide free tuition to all New Hampshire participants. New Hampshire participants will also be eligible to apply for a mini-grant to support a farm to school project in their school. Funding for this opportunity is from the Wellborn Ecology Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
To learn more about the course and to register please visit http://bit.ly/2kQvAyY or contact Beth Roy, Farm to School Coordinator at 802.291.9100 or Beth@VitalCommunities.org
Mini-grants are designed to help your school, afterschool program, or school-related wellness program launch projects related to farms, our agricultural heritage, farm products, food production, or local food consumption at the school itself.
A broad range of projects has received funding in recent years including field trips to local farms, food from a local farm, materials for gardens and garden activities, and stipends for farmers, teachers, or FTS coordinators. Funds could also be used in the cafeteria, to pay for training, supplies, or equipment.
The Upper Valley Farm to School mini-grant program is made possible thanks to the Couch Family Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Wellborn Ecology Fund.
Newbury Elementary School: “The Newbury Elementary School has been enjoying the fruits of many labors with the success of our first “Grow-a-Row” program. Throughout the summer, green-thumbed and generous community members tended an extra row or two in their gardens and then sent along the harvest to Chef Paul, our energetic food service director. Instead of piling up produce in the kitchen and walking away, these same folks and others met on certain days to help Paul process and freeze the offerings so that they could be used throughout the school year in our lunch program. It’s such a win-win and the program continues to gain interest and develop. We enjoy wonderful community support here.
We’ve added two new components to our program that helps support the Grow-a-Row program and our commitment to eating more locally: we purchased a large, walk-in freezer and a small greenhouse. The freezer has already been pressed into action holding the processed vegetables we acquired over the summer. The beautiful new greenhouse will be utilized by the students and teachers as we continue to learn together about gardening and botany.
We held our first of the year staff meeting about our Farm to School program. Staff members learned about our plan for the next five years, the resources available to them, and in the process, made a really delicious “massaged kale salad” to enjoy during the meeting. The Farm to School team did a great job informing the rest of the staff about easy ways to build in farm to school lessons and values into the curriculum through project based learning. Students helped “put the gardens to bed”… all except one: our 5/6 team planted a bed of garlic to be used in the kitchen next year. It is now sleeping under this first snow of the year!
We wish all of our Farm to School friends happy holidays and a great start to the new year. The attached photos show our 5/6 grade “Falcons” and “Otters” working in the permaculture garden and harvesting squash in one of the raised beds this fall. The top photo shows Chef Paul addressing our Grow-a-Row community group.” Kim Goody, Farm to School Coordinator
Sharon Elementary School: “Our gardens are put to bed, but the cooking and learning continue here at Sharon. The first and second grade classrooms made two school wide snack taste test. The school enjoyed applesauce and roasted butternut squash. The apples came from a local orchard and the butternut squash came from our garden! As a school, the staff met to discuss the future of our farm to school program. We’ve decided to focus our annual learning fair this year on farm to school! Classes will be busy developing what they want to share with the community!” Keenan Haley, Third Grade Teacher
Celebrate National Farm to School Month in October
October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate connections happening all over the country between schools and local food!
Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education settings. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips.
Over the past decade, the farm to school movement has exploded across the United States, reaching millions of students in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Farm to school is an important tool in the fight against childhood obesity and food insecurity. In addition to improving child health, when schools buy local, they create new markets for local and regional farmers and contribute to vibrant communities, a win-win-win scenario!
The 2016 National Farm to School Month theme, One Small Step, will highlight the simple ways anyone can get informed, get involved and take action to advance farm to school in their own communities and across the country. Join the celebrations by signing the One Small Step pledge and take one small step to support healthy kids, thriving farmers and vibrant communities this October.
Whether you are a food service professional, a farmer, a teacher or a food-loving family, there are plenty of ways to celebrate and get involved in National Farm to School Month! The National Farm to School Network offers a variety of free resources on its website, farmtoschool.org, including posters, stickers and a communications toolkit.
The “Love Your Farmer” Scavenger Hunt takes kids around the market to find, count, taste, and tell us what they love about farms and farmers at the market. When the child returns from the hunt, every kid gets a small prize for participating and is entered in to a raffle to win a grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to Riverview Farm. It’s simple to participate! Visit one of the participating markets near you (see below) and find the Scavenger Hunt table to begin your fun and tasty hunt around the vendor tents.
Eleven farmers’ markets in the Upper Valley are partnering with Vital Communities to host scavenger hunts the week of August 15-21. In New Hampshire, the Lebanon, New London, Hanover, and Canaan markets will host the scavenger hunt. In Vermont, the Bellows Falls, South Royalton, Hartland, Windsor, Norwich, Chelsea, and Barnard markets will host scavenger hunts.
This project is supported by the Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program.
For more information, Contact Beth Roy at Vital Communities: Beth@VitalCommunities.org
Planning for the Future in Newbury
We ended the school year with various classes “adopting” raised “laboratory” beds, perennial, and permaculture gardens around the school. Within these we have a team of students that planted a garden committed to serving our salad bar and lunch programs, another few classes creating food for storage for cooking/baking projects, a class that planted a butterfly garden- with an off-site milkweed patch to promote monarch habitat, and yet another team of classes planted a “stone soup” garden. We received funding for a staff member to tend the gardens over the summer months- always a hiccup in the process of gardening at school. Over time, our school has become increasingly committed to using farm to school curricula to support student learning and engagement. We also purchased a beautiful new greenhouse kit and will put together a group of staff and community members to erect it so it can begin to be used once school is back in session.
Finally, we’re really excited that we’re sending a team consisting of administrator, parent, chef, and teachers to the three-day Farm to School Institute at Shelburne Farms! After completing two farm to school grants, our team is poised to create a plan that will allow our program to continue to grow and become sustainable. We feel very fortunate!
Growing Gardens in Canaan
In the winter of 2015-2016 it was brought to my attention that Canaan Elementary School would support the creation of a food garden. I was allowed to work with second and fourth graders to create this garden so that they could learn (first hand) how to plan a garden, use organic methods, and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. Another goal was to educate them on making healthy food choices.
The students began planting seeds indoors in early March under grow lights. They tended the seedlings throughout the spring, planned how to build the raised beds, set cardboard down on the walkways, mulched the walkways, built the raised beds, filled them with compost and soil, transplanted seedlings, and sowed seeds directly. They learned that straw mulch retains soil moisture and mulched the beds as well. They have been weeding, watering, observing, and even harvesting some salad greens. Students made sketches about how to direct rain water from our outdoor classroom roof (which is next to the garden) into a water collection barrel. The rain collection system is currently under construction.
Our school will host a summer recreation program and the staff has agreed to have the students tend the garden throughout the summer. Each day the cafeteria will prepare two meals and include what the children harvest.
Students have been very enthusiastic about this project and have enjoyed accomplishing a lot of work in a short time.