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

Garden Cleanup in White River

The White River School Community Garden got a face lift before Thanksgiving break.  About ten people joined in an effort to revive the garden after summer construction prevented us from growing over the summer. We had to let the garden re-wild, which isn’t such a bad thing since the growth will help to build soil. This is the 4th year of what we call the “1/4 Acre Farm” that includes apple trees, gooseberries, medicinal herbs, perennials and raised beds.  On behalf of the Creative Lives After School Program (CLASP), we thank everyone who came out and for all the support! – Karen Ganey Restorative Ecology Curriculum Specialist, CLASP, White River Junction, 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

Soup for all in Sharon!

What a growing season! Most of our gardens have been put to bed, but we are still harvesting some herbs, kale, potatoes, leeks and HUGE guilfeather turnips. The Third Graders just made a wonderful potato/leek soup for the whole school. Next up, the fourth graders will make a Wild Apple/ Banana Squash soup. In fact, every class will be making a soup in the coming weeks for the school to eat. And the best part is, almost all the ingredients are right from our school yard! – Keenan Haley, Teacher, Sharon Elementary School, Sharon, VT

Garden Fresh in Sharon!

We are back in session and our gardens are in full bloom! During our First Day celebration students harvested veggies. Some of these veggies ended up on the salad bar that day! We are also busy processing our produce for later use in the cafeteria. Today we were treated to a Caprese salad. The tomatoes and basil were picked right outside our classrooms! – Keenan Haley, Teacher, Sharon Elementary School, Sharon, VT

The Dough was Flying in Woodstock! (UVFTS Mini-Grant Showcase Project)

For the 7th year in a row, the Woodstock Union Middle and High School Farm to School groups served up delicious wood-fired pizza from the Nordic Hut at Trek to Taste. We’ve established a wonderful partnership with NOFA-VT in the use of their mobile pizza oven and head baker. This year, we had more volunteers than ever, which was great because we went through half of our dough in the first hour of the event! We served more than 140 pizzas to almost 500 trekkers! Our bakers got really creative with topping combinations to make specialty pies. Some included spinach, arugula, and basil grown by students in the greenhouses at school and from Fable Farm in Barnard, bacon from Green Mountain Smokehouse, sauce from Pizza Chef, apples from Champlain Orchards, maple syrup from the student-run operation at the King Farm, and wonderful cheddar from Plymouth Cheese. A great time was had by all! – Kat Robbins, Place-Based Education Coordinator, Woodstock Union Middle and High School, Woodstock, VT

Sprouting Community in West Fairlee – (UVFTS Mini-Grant Showcase Project)

The Westshire Elementary School students were eagerly awaiting spring planting time. Last year’s gardens were just a big beautiful memory when we gathered together this spring. In June we built our raised beds and proved we could grow vegetables in them. This year we wanted to learn about starting and transplanting seeds so we decided to enlist a local farmer, Janet Taylor, from Crossroad Farm. Many of our students’ families buy produce and flowers there so the students already had a connection to Janet and what she does at the farm. With the help from our farm-to-school mini-grant, Janet came to a special assembly one afternoon in early April. She talked to us about what seeds need to grow and how to plant them. The kids loved looking at the seed samples she passed around. Some seeds were huge and some could barely be seen as they were so tiny. She showed us examples of plants that were just peeking up out of the trays and larger plants that she had planted several weeks before. She also demonstrated how to transplant seedlings into larger pots. Janet left us a whole tray of marigold seedlings which we transplanted into bigger pots and gave to our mothers for Mother’s Day and to the Kindergarten families who will be joining us next year. After we listened and asked great gardening questions, we all went to our classroom stations and planted trays of seeds in potting soil donated by Vermont Compost. We planted sunflowers, broccoli, cucumbers, oregano, parsley, and all types of yummy veggies. We look forward to our fall harvest thanks to support from our community, Crossroad Farm, and Vital Communities. We learn more from each other every year and this information helps to empower our students to be connected to their school and community! – Jen Shatney, Volunteer, Westshire Elementary School, West Fairlee, VT

Garden Day Brings Tunbridge Together – (UVFTS Mini-Grant Showcase Project)

The Tunbridge Central School held their second annual “Garden Day” on Thursday, May 28. Students and teachers celebrated and enjoyed TCS’s Farm to School program by getting their hands dirty and working together in the school gardens all afternoon. We appreciate support from Upper Valley Farm to School mini-grant program for funding a variety of garden supplies such as tools, plants, and mulch for this special event. To kick off Garden Day, students enjoyed a delicious lunch of local foods including pulled pork sandwiches and sloppy joes with local meats from Back Beyond Farm and Howvale Farm, caprese salad and salsa (made by grades 6 & 7) with tomatoes from Long Wind Farm, potato salad with potatoes from Chapelle’s Vermont Potatoes, yogurt from Stonyfield Organic, and a salad of mesclun greens from Tunbridge Hill Farm. After lunch, all students from grades K to 8 were divided into teams where they weeded, spread compost and planted in the gardens, made scarecrows, went for a hike, did trail work, pruned and mulched bushes and plants, and cleaned up tree limbs that blew over in the previous day’s storm. Teams of student photographers also recorded the day’s work with cameras in hand. A quick passing rainstorm sent everyone inside a little early, but many students were back out planting and pruning as soon as possible after the storm passed. Finally, each student potted and took home their own marigold, and all enjoyed popsicles at the end of the day. Thank you to all the teachers and volunteers who invested so much time and enthusiasm into creating a successful Garden Day for TCS students. There’s still a lot of work to do, but what a rewarding start to the gardening season! – Jen Thygesen, Farm to School Coordinator, Tunridge Elementary School, Tunbridge, VT

Planting for the Bees on Maple Avenue – (UVFTS Mini-Grant Showcase Project)

What is the buzz all about at Maple Avenue Elementary School in Claremont, NH? The pollinator garden! Students in Mrs. Tetu’s 4th grade class learned about various pollinators and the critical roll they fulfill. These junior gardeners researched the parts of the plant and the optimal plants for our  region. Beebalm, coneflower, phlox, and more were added to an existing garden by the students to form a pollen paradise. – Skylar Tetu, Teacher, Maple Avenue, School, Claremont, NH