Fletcher, Vt.- Governor Phil Scott, Ag Secretary Anson Tebbetts and other farm to school partners joined students from Fairfield Center School to celebrate Vermont’s robust presence in farm to school at the Sweet Farm in Fletcher.
Vermont was the first state in the nation to implement a farm to school grant program and the USDA has modeled their program after it.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important farm to school is in Vermont. It’s always been a source of pride for our state, and that pride grows as our grant program continues to get stronger,” said Gov. Scott.
Surrounded by curious cows and intrigued students, the Governor shared his enthusiasm for Vermont’s highly effective model of farm to school and its unique ability to bring real-life learning to the classroom, while also supporting the economy and student health.
With help from the Agency of Education, the Department of Health and other partners, more than 40,000 Vermont students have become more connected to local food, farms and their community through the Farm to School Grant Program.
“Through the Agency’s grant program, more than $1M has been invested in 138 Vermont schools. It’s really connecting people to the land, the animals and giving them lifelong skills that are so valuable to all of us,” said Sec. Tebbetts.
The visit highlighted the many benefits of the farm to school model:
- Every $1 spent on local food in Vermont schools contributes an additional 60 cents to the local economy.
- According to 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, students whose schools have a Farm-to-School program are more likely to eat at least two fruits and three vegetables a day.
- Last school year Vermont schools served 46,000 meals a day, thanks to the farm to school program these meals are becoming more nutritious, helping kids eat and learn better.
The students were at Sweet Farm as part of their Dairy in the Classroom program, which is made possible with funding from our dairy farmers, through the dairy check off program. A special partnership between The Agency, New England Dairy and Food Council and Shelburne Farms allows this program to flourish.
The event also served to highlight what’s new with the Vermont Farm to School Grant Program. This year, Vermont-based childcare providers are now able to receive funding to help improve their food programs. The program is currently accepting applications, until November 14th. Visit agriculture.vermont.gov and search “Farm to School” to apply or contact Ali Zipparo at Alexandra.email@example.com or call 802-505-1822.