The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) has administered the Vermont Farm to School and Early Childcare Grant Program since 2006. Enabled by the Rozo McLaughlin Farm to School Act of 2006 (6 V.S.A. § 4721), the grant program helps schools develop and sustain relationships with local producers, enrich the educational experience of children, improve the health of Vermont children, and enhance Vermont’s agricultural economy.
Beyond the grant program, the agency collaborates on several strategic initiatives that aim to increase demand for local food in schools, make farm to school more accessible for Vermont schools, and shape policies that better integrate farm to school into classrooms, cafeterias, and communities. VAAFM provides support for the Vermont Farm to School Network in a variety of ways that include facilitating meetings, funding projects, conducting research, convening stakeholders, and connecting producers and consumers to resources.
Each year, the Vermont Farm to School & Childcare Program continues to grow and innovate, serving our most vulnerable and enabling equitable access to healthy food, achieved through a focus on viable school meal programs and early exposure to farm to school principles. Farm to school programs not only promote healthy lifestyles in children but have also been shown to improve children’s behavior and academic performance at school.
The 2018 grant round included childcare providers as eligible applicants for the first time, enabled by an update to the Rozo McLaughlin Farm to School Act in 2017. Including the early care community in our program deepens the impact of this effective strategy to improve equity among Vermont’s children and families.
Reports & Resources
- Vermont Farm to School and Childcare Program 2020 Annual Report
- Milk Service in Vermont Schools: Decision Making Criteria, Best Practices and Case Studies
- Milk in Vermont Schools: A Decision-Makers' Guide to Milk Service
- Economic Contribution and Potential Impact of Local Food Purchases Made by Vermont Schools
- FINE Farm to Institution Resource Database
- What Happens When Schools Buy Local Food?
- Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Changes in Fruit/Vegetable Consumption After Implementation of Farm to School Grants
- School Health Profiles: Nutrition Environment and Education in Vermont Secondary Schools among Vermont Farm to School Grantees