We’ve planted our garden beds on the south facing walls. We’ve put in radishes, lettuce and carrots. It’s an early start, but with the warm weather and the sun that hits this area, we already see evidence of growth! We also are experimenting with planting some garlic. Since we are having some cooler weather now, we went out before the frost and put a few rows of garlic in. We are hoping the frost tricks it into growing! Finally, plans for our annual, Farm and Field Day, are being finalized. This year’s event will take place on May 26th! – Keenan Haley, Teacher, Sharon Elementary School, Sharon, VT
Thetford Elementary Continues to be a model school with our award winning recycling program, school gardens, composting system, and our solar array. I am pleased to announce that VT SWEEP (Vermont State-Wide Environmental Education Programs) has recognized TES as a model school. We were invited, as one of four schools, to present part of our story at the Cultivating Climate Resiliency conference on, April 9th in Montpelier. During the workshop we highlighted the First Grade Farm Stand as a project-based learning opportunity that integrated learning standards across the curriculum. – Cat Buxton, Garden Coordinator, Thetford Elementary School, Thetford, VT
The Tunbridge Central School first and second grade classrooms have been busy hatching eggs. They hatched chickens the last week in March, and ducklings the first week in April. Students candled the eggs to monitor progress and growth until hatching. They also discussed the variety of chick colors and sizes once they hatched, as well as how quickly they grow. Many students, even some who are typically hesitant to read, took turns reading to the chicks. In addition to hatching chicks inside, both grades also took advantage of the warm weather outside by tilling their garden to prepare for planting. They plan to start lettuce, tomato and spinach plants in their classrooms by mid-April. – Jen Thygesen, Farm to School Coordinator, Tunbridge Elementary School, Tunbridge, VT
Last week I joined the Hartland Elementary School’s farm to school committee. Forming a farm to school committee is one of the most efficient ways to plan and deliver farm to school programming. We had a wonderful meeting and left ready to look at enhancing the already wonderful farm to school program. One of the steps we will be working on is planning for the coming year. Planning can be daunting but it can also have huge rewards. Having a farm to school committee in place can help with the development of an action plan for your program. With a well constructed farm to school committee that includes representation from teachers, administration, facilities, and food service your planning process will be inclusive and exhaustive. I would love to be part of more farm to school committees in the Upper Valley and help facilitate the planning process that meets the needs of your school. Please contact me with questions about the process and how your school can benefit.
Farm to School Coordinator
The soups keep coming! Using our garden harvest we have just tasted our third soup. This time the 5th grade made a borscht. They named it Bernie’s Borscht after a certain Presidential candidate! We have also harvested what may be our last round of lettuce from our south facing garden beds that are along our school wall. But, with this warm weather we’ve been having, you never know what could sprout up. Back to readying the gardens for next year! Oh, and some garlic planting. Keenan Haley, Teacher, Sharon Elementary School, Sharon, VT
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 – http://bit.ly/1PMZk7s
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.
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
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
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
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