Farm to School Professional Development Course Offered in Partnership with Vermont FEED

Pic for webJoin 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

3/21/17
4/4/17
4/25/17
5/9/17
5/23/17
6/6/17

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

Enjoying the Fruits of their Labors in Newbury

Newbury Elementary School: “The Newbury Elementary School has beboy in garden dec 16en 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 Newbury Elementarypurchased 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 Newbury Elementarythe 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’s Learning Fair to Focus on Farm to School

Sharon june

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

fts-month-1

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.

Learn more about National Farm to School Month, how you can get involved, and sign the pledge by visiting farmtoschool.org or vitalcommunities.org

Abundant Variety at Unity!

Abundant Variety at Unity! 
Unity-starts-e1441827638151
Unity Elementary School’s greenhouses are looking better than ever! Our school’s Builders Club members, a community service club sponsored by Claremont Kiwanis, have been growing multiple varieties of vegetables, perennials, and annuals. Some of our tomatoes, peppers, and green beans have grown 20 inches tall! – Jennifer Thompson, Teacher, Unity Elementary School, Unity, NH

Ottauquechee Farm-to-School-to-Forest!

Ottauquechee Farm-to-School-to-Forest!

OQS june

  This Spring our Farm-to-School Mini-Grant allowed us to get creative and local with cooking in our Forest Kindergarten outdoor classroom. We headed out into the woods each week with our new grate and grill/griddle to play and learn with local foods and cooking in the outdoors. Over the past months, students have cooked pancakes, bacon and eggs, stick bread with pesto, taste tested spring veggies, and frequently enjoyed Hurricane Flats popcorn all thanks to funding from the grant! – Eliza Minnucci – Forest Kindergarten Coordinator, Ottauquechee School, Quechee, VT

​ Sharon Farm and Field Day a Success!

SharonSharon-farm-and-field-day 2​ Farm and Field Day a Success!

On Thursday, May 26th, we enjoyed our annual Farm and Field Day! Children rotated through a variety of stations. Stations included: ducks, sheep, circle art, work songs, planting in the production garden, building container gardens, and two games. It was a busy day, but super fun!

We are now finishing up our planting and looking forward to working the gardens over the summer and harvesting in the fall! – Keenan Haley, Teacher, Sharon Elementary School, Sharon, VT

Garden Expansion at the Newton School!

Garden Expansion at the Newton School!838b1936-ad28-483c-9f2a-a01daca4d33c
We are deep into planting our three new field plots and our regular raised beds, 7th graders will build two new raised beds, and grade 3 has helped to overhaul our perennial pollinator garden. Last week grades 1 and 2 planted a really sweet pallet-wall garden! Thanks to Michelle at Cedar Circle Farm for the great idea and for donating the plants! – Cat Buxton, Garden Coordinator, Newton School, Strafford, VT

Perennial Maintenance at Thetford!

Perennial Maintenance at Thetford!
Thetford june

Students from all grades have planted in most of our 13 raised beds, our pumpkin patch, and have tended our fruit trees and berry bushes. Students from grades K-5 will care for the new plantings throughout the next week. Grade 4 has become the school’s new tree steward team; today we calculated how much fertilizer we need per tree and spread our own school-grown compost to ensure excellent soil health! – Cat Buxton, Garden Coordinator, Thetford Elementary School, Thetford, VT

Trek2Taste_E-Blast_2016

Join Farm to School at Trek to Taste

Trek to Taste, an annual celebration of trails, local food, and healthy living will be hosted at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park and Billings Town Park. The Upper Valley Farm to School Network will be hosting a farm to school showcase that will be highlighting farm to school projects from around the region. Learn about school-based hydroponics, cooking over an open fire, and other hands-on farm to school projects. You can also enjoy guided walks, family games, arts and crafts, demonstrations, an ice cream social, music and more.  www.trektotaste.info.

1 2 3 5