Season-Extending Techniques for Your School Gardens

Season-Extending Techniques for Your School Gardens
Are you the lone garden volunteer at your school through the summer months? Is your school empty over summer break? Consider only growing during the school year, by using season-extending techniques like row covers and cold frames, or growing crops and flowers better suited to the “shoulder season” (spring and fall). Join Upper Valley Farm to School on a field trip to the Sullivan County Department of Natural Resources in Unity, New Hampshire. Department staff, Lionel Chute and Phylicia Schwartz will tour us through the Conservation District’s Community Garden, Demonstartion pollinator garden, and experimental high tunnels to discuss focusing school gardens to be most active in the spring and fall.

Date: Thursday, May 26, 2016
Time: 4-6:30 PM
Location: Sullivan County Complex, 95 County Farm Road, Unity, NH
Fee: FREE!

Sprouting at Newton School!

Soil sprouts_7types_7days_Newton_2016

Third and fourth grade students from Strafford’s Newton School grew seven types of soil sprouts in the classroom. Students each planted a tray with a one variety of seed. After four days in a dark, warm place they were moved to the sunny grow lab. It’s fun to watch them turn green so quickly! Within about ten days from planting the sprouts are ready to harvest, wash, and taste! Students will vote on which varieties to keep growing.

Farm to School Educational Forum – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Making it Happen At School

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Making it Happen At School

Being mindful of waste is good for the planet, is educational, saves you money, and adds strength to the social fabric of communities. Learn about the critical ingredients for success in managing recycling and reducing waste at schools, what the options are, and what compliance with Act 148 (Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law) looks like. We’ll help you identify the challenges and opportunities in your school community, demystify the process of source separation and on-site composting, and leave you inspired to get started in your school with a plan in hand.

When – Tuesday, March 22 – 4-6:30 pm

Where – Windsor Schools – 127 State Street, Windsor, VT

Registration –



Cat Buxton runs Grow More, Waste Less – Food Systems Consulting, in Sharon, VT. She has the practical know-how necessary to integrate complex systems around food, ecology, community and learning. She is an effective and enthusiastic teacher, presenter, community organizer, and an advocate for healthy food systems and the policies to support them. She works with three Upper Valley schools, is a life long gardener, a certified compost operator and a Vermont Master Composter.

Ham Gillett is the Act 148 Recycling/Composting Outreach Coordinator for the S. Windsor/Windham Counties and the Greater Upper Valley Solid Waste Management Districts. He has twelve years of experience in the solid waste/recycling industry. Ham was instrumental in the start-up of a small solid waste/recycling company in Vermont and was responsible for educating several communities when municipal recycling was first mandated. For four years he collected field data and engaged in research for an internationally recognized solid waste consulting firm, DSM Environmental Services. He has spoken to numerous schools, businesses, and civic organizations about solid waste, recycling and composting issues. He recently completed class work for the  UVM Extension Service Master Composter course.

composter logo small

Digging in with Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union

Most of the districts around the supervisory union were able to plant garlic for the first time last month.  November was amazing for getting students outside to the gardens and they had a terrific time preparing the soil and cloves to plant! We also completed the third planting of perennial fruit-bearing bushes with Upper Valley Apple Corps. Next spring we hope to collaborate with UVAC again at our fourth school. The Vermont HOM taste test of kale was another success, and we are proud of our students who love to taste new seasonal foods! As the next season progresses we will turn attention to indoor growing projects. – Amy Richardson, WSESU FEAST Program Coordinator

Raising Funds at the Farm Stand in Thetford

An end of year highlight at TES was the First Grade farm stand. Every day after school the week before Thanksgiving the students sold mini ‘glitter gourds’, popcorn, roasted pumpkin seeds, and mini pumpkin-oat muffins, all from the garden. The students earned over $100 in pennies and nickels and completely sold out of everything! Many thanks to all of the students, teachers, and parents who contribute to our beautiful gardens. – Cat Buxton, Garden Manager, Thetford Elementary School, Thetford, VT

A Busy Holiday Season at Newton

Strafford’s Newton School students are creating a variety of farm and food based gifts to sell at the town craft fair to raise money to support their farm to school program including herbs, harvested from the school garden and dried in the classroom, and popcorn grown at Hurricane Flats. Third graders have a new batch of seeds growing in the science lab and sixth graders have planted the garlic and mulched all of the garden beds for a winter slumber. – Cat Buxton, Garden Manager, Newton Elementary, Strafford, VT

Living the Farming Life with Upper Valley Waldorf School

The 3rd grade class at Upper Valley Waldorf School has had many gardening and farming experiences so far this School year. We began the year with a school garden that was wildly bountiful in beans, kale and tomatoes. We had a special meal where we set our table and served fresh homemade tomato sauce, green beans, and kale salad.
We have also had several trips to farms this fall. We visited Spring Brook farm where we learned about cows and making award winning cheese. Also this year, our class has the wonderful opportunity to visit Cedar Mountain Farm throughout the entire school year. So far this fall we have focused on harvesting for their CSA and market. Over the winter we will work with the animals and in the spring we will focus on preparation of the land and planting. We will finish the year with an overnight trip to a farm where we will get to experience what it is like to live and work on a farm for a couple of nights. – Daniel Masi, Teacher, Upper Valley Waldorf School, Quechee, VT

Upper Valley Farm to School 2016 Mini-Grants!

I am so excited to announce the 2016 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!


Application deadline – Friday, February 19, 2016HSS - Green team at market 1

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.

For additional information on eligibility, the application process, and possible projects, please download an application or contact me.

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.

Tunbridge - Garden Day TeamworkBeth Roy
Farm to School Coordinator
Upper Valley Farm to School Network
802.291.9100 x105

Taste of Tunbridge a Huge Success!

The third annual Taste of Tunbridge community dinner was a huge success. We had a fantastic crowd of more than 100 people in attendance, plus a successful take-a-chance table and Thanksgiving turkey raffle to help raise funds for our Farm to School program. This potluck dinner had one requirement, each dish shared must include at least one local ingredient. Each TCS grade and TA had a hand in preparing part of the meal, and created delicious dishes such as applesauce, carrot soup, Swedish apple bake, kale chips, baked wheat crackers, homemade rolls, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, and more. We hope to replicate the event next harvest season! – Jen Thygesen, Farm to School Coordinator, Tunbridge Central School, Tunbridge, VT

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

Join Upper Valley Farm to School and Vermont FEED for Integrating Farm to School into the Classroom with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. This professional development  course is designed for classroom teachers who are looking to deepen or expand their curriculum and project-based learning opportunities related to Farm to School including: nutrition, food systems, classroom cooking, and garden-based education.  Based on the feedback from past classes, this course has been developed with the needs of teachers in mind.  Designed to be dynamic and democratic, this emergent course will offer teachers the time and space to focus on projects of their choice, while also providing opportunities to learn from colleagues and others leaders in the field of Farm to School.  Interactive class sessions will feature a blend of individual work time, connections to standards, peer to peer feedback, resource sharing, hands-on food preparation, and large and small group discussions.

We are very fortunate to be able to provide free tuition to all New Hampshire teachers. New Hampshire teachers 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 or contact Beth Roy, Farm to School Coordinator at 802.291.9100 or

1 2 3 4