Home Outdoor education Farm-to-school programs grow thanks to WNESU | Community-News

Farm-to-school programs grow thanks to WNESU | Community-News



BRATTLEBORO – Chroma Technology is expanding the farm-to-school programs through the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union (WNESU) this school year by being the primary farm-to-school donor for Food Connects, a non-profit based school. in Brattleboro in Windham County.

The Food Connects Farm to School program focuses on the “three Cs” of farm to school – classrooms, cafeterias and communities. The generosity of Chroma Technology allows Food Connects to continue and strengthen its work within WNESU. “We are extremely grateful for the support that Chroma Technology is giving us this year,” said Sheila Humphreys, Food Connects Farm to School coach. “Their dedication to farm-to-school initiatives in our community ensures that more students can access locally grown food and can experience an engaging farm-to-school program. “

“One of Chroma’s core values ​​is to be an active and caring member of our community,” said Newell Lessell, CEO of Chroma Technology. “Chroma supports Food Connects’ Farm to School program because helping children develop healthy eating habits through education and access to nutritious, locally grown food is good for children’s health,” said Chroma. farmers in Vermont and built healthy communities. “

So what impact do these funds have on the schools and, more importantly, on the students of WNESU?

School food

Students at Bellows Falls Union High School and other students across the district saw lots of local produce throughout the summer thanks to the Farm to School summer lunch box initiative Coffee. This program provided students and their families with fresh, nutritious food throughout the summer, regardless of their financial situation. As part of Vermont Act 67 and the Local Food Purchase Incentive, students will begin to see more local foods on their platters this school year. The Food Connects Farm to School team is working hard to help school nutrition programs navigate this new incentive, in conjunction with offering foods grown and made in Vermont through its Food Hub.

School gardens

School gardens are an essential tool for hands-on, outdoor learning. Westminster Center School is a shining example of how well school gardens can be laid out. In May, the whole school participated in Garden Day, a day where students plant seeds and seedlings in the school garden. As the students reap the last fruits of their labor, the garden continues to see an increase in infrastructure. Most notably, a frost-proof water faucet, a chicken coop, a small outdoor prep station, fire pits for cooking outdoors this winter, and blueberries. Food Connects provided the school grant, marketing materials, and hands-on support in the garden – and looks forward to supporting future garden projects, including the annual Farm and Field Day later this month.

Farm to school teams

Food Connects works with Farm to School teams across the region. This task is essential in helping to develop, guide and implement Farm to School action plans, provide program and grant support, and create materials and marketing for these programs. Central Elementary School has formed a new Farm to School team this year that is participating in the Northeast Farm to School Institute. This school year, the school plans to expand its gardening and do more hands-on cooking in classrooms, including monthly taste tests held by the second year. Food Connects looks forward to working with the Farm to School team at Central to help implement best practices for gardening and cooking with kids.

Grafton Elementary School is also deepening its Farm to School programming this year, with plans to add new grow labs, a hydroponic aquarium, and kitchen tools, including a new oven to make teaching easier. cooking to the students. Food Connects will continue to support these new initiatives through coaching resources and curriculum.

Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit organization that provides locally produced food as well as educational and advisory services aimed at transforming local food systems. The Food Hub brings together and delivers over 150 regional farms and food producers to over 150 buyers in Southeast Vermont, Southwest New Hampshire, and West Massachusetts. Their educational services focus on Farm to School programming.

Recognized as a statewide leader, the program supports more than 30 schools to increase local food purchases, attendance at school meals, and food, agriculture and nutrition education. Together, these core programs contribute to a vibrant local economy by increasing local food purchases by schools and improving student nutrition and academic performance. Food Connects is frequently hired to provide leadership and advisory services for efforts to support food systems initiatives across New England and act as a catalyst for change.