A Letter To Our Upper Valley Schools

I hope this note finds you all healthy and adjusting to the routines of remote learning and teaching. I know my family and I are starting to feel a rhythm in our days and finding ourselves to be so grateful to be living in the Upper Valley. I wanted to reach out today with some resources for your schools around school meals and an opportunity to celebrate the amazing work that our school food service professionals are doing.

Friday, May 1 is National School Lunch Hero Day! Our school food service staff, as well as many others, have jumped to the rescue during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide students with delicious, nutritious, and thoughtful meals. This has been no easy task, and one that should be recognized and applauded. Join us in showing gratitude and appreciation to our lunch heroes. Look at the link provided above for creative ideas on how to celebrate them!

Believe it or not summer is just a couple of months away. I urge all our schools to start planning for their summer meal programs now. Unfortunately the USDA has not extended the waiver on the requirement that summer meals be congregant meals nor the waiver on the 50% free/reduced rate threshold to offer summer meals. These waivers are due to expire at the end of the school year. Both New Hampshire and Vermont have requests into the USDA to extend these waivers through the summer. I urge schools to start making plans to continue their feeding programs through the summer. Every day thousands of meals are going out to children across our region. If these meals were to stop, it would be an overwhelming burden on the already stressed food shelves in our region. Please reach out to us if you need assistance around these possible programmatic changes.

I wanted to connect you with some helpful resources from Hunger Free Vermont. One is a School Meal Stakeholder Tipsheet. This tipsheet is great to share with your educators to help them understand the role schools are currently playing and the other food access resources they could be sharing with their families. Hunger Free also has a School Meal Application Flyer that could be shared to encourage families to enroll in school meals and help your schools receive more funding and get you over the 50% mark in case the waivers are not extended. UNH Extension put together a Food Access Map. This is a fantastic tool to pass along to families so they can find food shelves in their area and volunteer opportunities.

We know these are difficult and stressful times. We are here to help. Please reach out and let us know if you need help with making these seasonal program shifts, want to connect to some local suppliers, or just need copies of the linked flyers.

I tip my hat to all of you and the important and courageous work you are doing everyday.

Beth Roy
Food & Farm Program Manager
Farm to School Coordinator

beth@vitalcommunities.org

802-291-9100x 105

Upper Valley Farm to School Forum: Trauma & Nutrition

Event Postponed

We will be rescheduling the forum

to the late spring or next fall

 

Upper Valley Farm to School Forum: Trauma & Nutrition

March 19 4:30-7pm

Sharon Elementary School

75 VT Route 132, Sharon, VT 05065

 

Join the Upper Valley Farm to School Network as we learn how past traumatic experiences experienced by students influence their relationship to food and the school nutrition programs they participate in.

The topic of trauma and nutrition is rich and multifaceted. In this session we will learn about what schools in Southeastern Vermont are doing to help their most vulnerable students be successful in the realm of food and nutrition. Listen to the voices of several VT youth with lived experience of trauma reflect on their experiences with school food, examine food access and universal meals as a method for reducing shame and stigma, and investigate cultural practices within schools that empower students and communities to come together in positive ways around food, such as school gardens and harvest dinners. Participants will leave with resources to support you in bringing concepts from this training back to your school community.

We are also very fortunate to be able to share a meal together during our training that will be prepared by Sharon Elementary’s Junior Iron Chef Team. Registration is free but required so we can make sure to make enough food.

 

 

Celebrate Farm to School Month With Our Fall Farm to School Forum

Meet Your Local Farm to School Network!

The Upper Valley Farm to School Network invites you to gather in your region to build local connections with peers and Farm to School practitioners, and access resources. Find support for your efforts to strengthen the work in your area. The gathering is FREE but please register. Yummy local food will be served!

Wednesday October 30th
4:30-7:00 pm
Willing Hands, 198 Church St, Norwich, VT 05055

Join Vital Communities for other events in our Fall Food & Farm Event Series.

Find other Farm to School fall Gatherings in Vermont.

April Meet-Up Series for Beginning Farmers

We have an exciting project for new farmers in the White River valley portion of our region! The High Meadows Fund is supporting a series of free peer-to-peer gatherings for beginning farmers to build community and learn. We are specifically organizing the series for new farmers in the White River valley, where there is a high density of beginning farmers. The goal of the project is to create a social network of new farmers to connect and share experiences in ways that support the success of their farm businesses. Each meet-up will feature a local expert with a short, casual presentation on an important, relevant topic. Each session also includes free dinner.

Wondering if you qualify? If you are a new or aspiring farmer who meets both criteria below, please come on out! Partners and little ones welcome, too.

  • 0-3 years of production under your belt

AND

  • Live in Randolph, Bethel, Tunbridge, Strafford, Royalton, Sharon, Hartford, and surrounding towns. This series is meant to build community within a particular sub-region. **If you live outside of the White River valley but want to participate in a similar meet-up series, let us know and we’ll see what we can do later this year!**

Find details for each session below. If this is something that interests you or if you know of other new farmers in the White River valley who might like to attend, please email lauren@vitalcommunities.org or call 802-291-9100 x107.

We’ll be meeting upstairs at (the new! the hip!) Babe‘s Bar in Bethel, Vermont for the first 3 meet-ups. The 4th meet-up will be held at the Bethel Arnold Block at 245 Main St in Bethel, VT. The meet-ups are free and dinner (pizza and salad from Cockadoodle) is on us!

Here’s the line-up:

1)  Monday, March 25, 5-7 pm. Theme: Business planning with Vital Communities’ Nancy LaRowe, who owned and operated Hogwash Farm (pastured pork, beef, chicken, and lamb) in Norwich for 15 years. She now supports local farmers with technical assistance and coordinates Vital Communities’ Local First program. Plus, a visit from Steve Mortillo of the White River Junction NRCD office, who’s looking forward to sharing information about the resources, including cost-sharing opportunities and incentives, that our NRCD district has on offer for local farmers. Location: Babe‘s Bar, Bethel.

2)  Monday, April 1, 5-7 pm. Theme: Community Revitalization with Michael Sacca from the Alliance for Vermont Communities, Abbe Meiling and Dee Gish from BALE (Building a Local Economy), Kirk White and Lylee Rauch-Kacenski from the Bethel Revitalization Initiative, and Zac Freeman and Morgan Easton from RASTA (Randolph Rochester Area Sports Trails Alliance). Come learn from this panel about the opportunities that exist in the White River valley for community revitalization and what they see for the future. This is less agriculture-focused, and bent more towards supporting the human side of your new(ish) farm operations–happy, engaged farmers in thriving communities are more likely to stay farmers! Location: Babe‘s Bar, Bethel.

3)  Thursday, April 4th, 3-5 pm. Theme: Pasture Management with Kimberly Hagan. Kimberly has owned and operated Osprey Hill Farm (grass fed lamb) for 30 years, and now serves as UVM Extension’s Grazing Specialist at the Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Pick-up some know-how as Kimberly runs through the ins and outs of pasture management and answers alllll your questions. Location: Babe‘s Bar, Bethel.

Location for final session: The Arnold Block, 245 Main Street, Bethel, VT

4)  Thursday, April 11, 5-7 pm. Theme: Chat with Charlie, a longtime Chelsea farmer, about his experiences over the years and his perspective on the path of local agriculture. Location: Arnold Block, 245 Main St, Bethel Vt.

—  —  —

We look forward to chatting, learning, and dining on good pizza with you all. Please RSVP to lauren@vitalcommunities.org if you plan to attend.

Apply for a Farm to School Mini-Grant!

We are excited to announce the 2019 mini-grant program from Vital Communities’ Upper Valley Farm to School Network! Funding is available to both Vermont and New Hampshire schools. Start dreaming up your farm-to-school projects—we want to support you!

Application deadline: Friday, March 29, 2019HSS - 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 have 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 maximum mini-grant award is $500. Both New Hampshire and Vermont schools are eligible to apply for funds. Recipients in both states are required to present their project at Trek to Taste in Woodstock, Vermont, on June 1, 2019 (in addition to other grant requirements). We encourage schools to include costs related to project presentations and attending Trek to Taste in their grant budget.

For additional information on eligibility, the application process, and possible projects, please see our online application form, download a printable form, or contact Beth (802.291.9100 x105).

Tunbridge - Garden Day TeamworkThe 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.

September Market-Fresh Cooking Demos

Love to shop at the farmers’ market, and want to learn a new tip or recipe for cooking with all the great produce that is available this month?

Join local chef Holly Pierce for weekly cooking demos at the Hanover and Greater Falls Farmers’ Markets during the month of September!

Shop with Holly as she visits the market vendors to select ingredients from the bounty of local food available this time of year.  Then watch her create a dish that you get to sample. She’ll share the recipe as she goes and have other recipes to share that highlight enjoying the abundance of the Upper Valley late summer harvest!

Wednesdays at the Hanover Area Farmers’ Market from 3-6 pm
September 5, 12, 19, 26

Fridays in Bellows Falls at the Greater Falls Farmers’ Market from 3-7 pm
September 7, 14, 21, 28

  

the Flavors Sextet

Yes, we sing about Flavors

Confession: we sing a little tune about Flavors of the Valley, around the office, in meetings, while photocopying…. Click here and watch with sound if you dare- the big reveal is at the end. Treat your ears today and your tastebuds on Sunday, April 8 from 11 am- 3 pm at Hartford High School.  All the details, discounts, specials, information about 45 local food vendors and their samples, and more are on our Flavors of the Valley page. Thank you CATV 8/10 for our CATV debut.

Upper Valley Farm to School 2018 Mini-Grants!

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!

 

Application deadline – Wednesday March 28, 2018HSS - 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 have 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.

 NEW FOR 2018: The maximum mini-grant award is now $500. Both New Hampshire and Vermont schools are eligible to apply for funds. Recipients in both states are required to present their project at Trek to Taste on June 2, 2018 (in addition to other grant requirements, below). We encourage schools to include costs related to project presentations and attending Trek to Taste in their grant budget.

For additional information on eligibility, the application process, and possible projects, please go to our on-line application form, download a form 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
Beth@VitalCommunities.org
802.291.9100 x105

Farm to School Forum: King Arthur Flour Bake for Good Kids Program

Join Upper Valley Farm to School Network as we learn how to make the dough!

 

 

KAFBFG

King Arthur Flour Bake for Good Kids Program

  • Kids LEARN to make bread from scratch. Math + science + reading + baking know-how = something delicious!
  • Kids BAKE. They practice their new skills and use ingredients we provide to bake bread or rolls.
  • Kids SHARE within the community, and give part of their baked goods to those in need. (They keep some to enjoy!)

How does BFGK Self-Directed Group Baking work? 

  • 5-50 kids, grades 4-12
  • Kids watch BFGK video with you
  • KAF provides flour, yeast, recipe booklets, dough scrapers, video lesson, and more
  • Kids work in teams, bake together with you, and donate rolls

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

Fee: FREE!

Register: Contact Beth Roy at Beth@VitalCommunities.org or (802)291-9100 x105 or register on-line

1 2 3 5