Tag Archives: VT FEED

New Funding for VT FEED

Vermont Food Education Every Day ( VT FEED) just received word that “Building Demand for Fruits and Vegetables in Vermont Schools” will be funded by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, through the Specialty Crop Block Grant program!

The goal of this 18-month pilot project is to explore increasing the viability of schools as a consistent market for Vermont fruits and vegetables by providing tools, training, and technical assistance to school food programs, teachers, and farmers.

Specifically we’ll be focusing on USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), promoting use of the program in classrooms and facilitating the process for using Vermont fruits and vegetables in the program. The FFVP allotment of funds for Vermont schools is over 1.8 million dollars. If schools used only 10% of the FFVP dollars to purchase Vermont produce each year, Vermont specialty crop producers would receive an additional $180,000 annually.

For more information, please contact Amy Gifford at amy@nofavt.org or call (802) 434-4122

2015-2016 Farm to School Institute schools chosen

The  VT FEED Farm to School Institute is a unique year-long professional development opportunity being offered to ten diverse school teams from Vermont and, this year thanks to an USDA Farm to School Grant, the Northeast.

FEED Farm to School InstituteThrough 3 days of immersed training and planning this summer, participants will have time and support to develop a comprehensive Farm to School action plan and receive in-school mentoring to guide the implementation of their plan over the 2015-2016 academic year.

See what St. Albans City School, who participated 2013-2014, is doing in their farm to school program by watching this video.

Vermont schools that have been accepted are: South Burlington HS, Milton HS, Bradford Elementary, Essex Town Middle School, Guilford Elementary, Hardwick Elementary,  Manchester Elementary, Champlain Elementary.

More about FEED »

New School Cuisine finds its way to the White House

While visiting school kitchens around the state, representatives from the School Nutrition Association of Vermont (SNA-VT) and Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED, a program of NOFA-VT and Shelburne Farms) took note of the delicious offerings being served to Vermont schoolchildren by talented school nutrition professionals.

Cookbook-Cover-DraftHow could they share these ideas, techniques, and recipes with other school food service? New School Cuisine: Nutritious and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks is the result of their wondering, fundraising, and collaborating. With support from a USDA Team Nutrition grant, SNA-VT and VT FEED together with the Vermont Agency of Education began a year-long culinary adventure. Fourteen school chefs were invited to submit innovative cafeteria creations and worked closely with professional recipe developers and testers to learn how to modify and standardize their recipes. Each recipe underwent thorough testing—by the school chefs in their own cafeterias and students at the New England Culinary Institute.

Called “groundbreaking” by Ann Cooper, a powerful voice for school food reform, New School Cuisine is the only cookbook created by school nutrition professionals that meets the 2012 USDA guidelines, is kid-tested, and features farm-fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.

The cookbook, available as a free download from VT FEED  and for purchase through the Shelburne Farms online store, is being put to use in schools across the country, at last count in 25 states.

07.17.14 PJL letter to S. KassAnd now, thanks to Senator Patrick Leahy, it’s in the hands of Sam Kass, President Barack Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy and Let’s Move Executive Director. Here’s an excerpt from the letter that Senator Leahy sent with the cookbook:

New School Cuisine represents Vermont’s commitment to transforming school meal programs by offering healthy and nutritious options that still taste good. By educating students about the local food found in their cafeteria, Vermonters not only gain an understanding about the origin of each ingredient, but they also cultivate a relationship with their local farmers and greater agricultural community. As nationwide problems such as obesity and malnutrition continue to rise, school cafeterias struggle to find options that are both healthy and delicious for children who rely on school meal programs. New School Cuisine offers school cafeterias recipes that prioritize the health and wellbeing of students, while educating them about the importance of where their food comes from.”

By sharing this first-of-its-kind resource with the White House Senator Leahy is providing Mr. Kass and First Lady Michelle Obama with a powerful tool they can use to advance their mission of changing the way we feed children across the country. We hope they will come to regard it as a valuable resource in their work toward improving the health of our nation’s youth.

 

Talking Farm to School

This pasphotot Saturday, Bear Pond Books in Montpelier hosted author Gail Gibbons and NOFA’s own Education Coordinator, Abbie Nelson, for a short discussion on local foods and their role in schools.

The two women discussed the incorporation of healthy practices into school systems and the importance of agricultural education for our youth. Amongst the crowd were several teachers from Barre Town School, and other educators across Washington County.

Throughout the talk, Abbie focused on the ways that Vermont FEED (a partnership between NOFA Vermont, Shelburne Farms, and Food Works) has worked statewide to get local food into schools. She discussed the importance of young students associating a fruit or vegetable on their plate with where it came from on a farm or in a garden.

Abbie also introduced the New School Cuisine cookbook, which will be released within the month to every school in Vermont as well as every Childhood Nutrition program throughout the nation. This cookbook includes a wide variety of farm fresh, healthy recipes in large serving sizes for cafeteria use. It allows students to associate with healthy foods on a daily basis in the classroom. Lastly, Abbie discussed the Nutrition Education Guide for schools. The Nutrition Education Guide serves as an educational tool for teachers to assess where they can incorporate nutrition education and the best ways to make it work.

BPBGail Gibbons, author and illustrator of over 150 children’s books, also spoke about her influence on child nutrition education. Originally in the film industry, Gail recognized the need for nutrition awareness while working with NBC television programs. After traveling to many different cities across the country for research, she acknowledged that many children did not know where their food came from. Her first book based on agriculture titled The Milk Makers goes into the development of milk in a cow and the processing it must go through to make it to the refrigerator. Other books include The Vegetables We Eat, Apples, Corn, and The Honey Makers. Check out Gail’s website and list of publications at http://www.gailgibbons.com/.

>> For more upcoming events that connect Vermont’s communities and farms, check out the second annual Agricultural Literacy Week, November 18-24.

[Post by NOFA Vermont intern Maggie Callahan]