Reposted from Vermont Farm to School & Early Childhood Network
On Tuesday, October 24, students, school and district staff, Congressional delegation staff, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets Anson Tebbetts, and the Vermont Farm to School and Early Childhood Network gathered at Spaulding Education Alternatives School (SEA) to celebrate National Farm to School Month and the success of Farm Fresh School Meals for All in Vermont.
Farm to school is about engaging students with the food system and the impacts of their food choices on their own health and their community’s health. SEA is an alternative school within the Barre Unified Union School District supporting students around their social/emotional and academic needs. Within their project-based academic programs, they’re using farm to school approaches—including visits to local farms, hands-on cooking in the kitchen, building and maintaining a student garden and greenhouse, and bringing more student voice into cafeteria menu planning—to deliver rigorous academics with a real world context and build community connections.
SEA’s celebratory event highlighted these efforts, including student-made snacks prepared with produce harvested from the school garden; a tour of the school including the gardens, woodshop, and cafeteria; and words from SEA staff on the impact of project-based farm to school programming.
“Everything you’re seeing today—the students had a part in all of this,” explained Jennifer Hutchinson, District Manager of Food Programs. “They’ve started the greenhouse and gardens with the help of staff. Project-based learning is a huge part of what goes on here.”
The event included a tour of the school gardens and remarks from staff (L: District Manager of Food Programs Jennifer Hutchinson, R: Student Support Specialist Alyssa Pratt)
District Manager of Food Programs Jennifer Hutchinson works with a student in the kitchen preparing for the day’s events.