Registration is now open for the Vermont Farm to School Conference taking place November 2-3 at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) and Vermont FEED in partnership with the VT Farm to School Network will be orchestrating this exciting two-day event designed to “Grow the Movement” by gathering all members of the Vermont Farm to School community to share knowledge, ideas, and inspiration. For more information and to register visit: www.vermontfarmtoschoolconference.org.
The November conference will bring together Vermont’s key stakeholders in the Farm to School program – school administrators, teachers, farmers, Food Service distributors, government officials, policy makers, non-profit partners, and of course, students. Anyone interested in the Farm to School movement is encouraged to attend in order to learn more, share innovative ideas, and be part of strengthening Vermont’s growing Farm to School movement. The conference agenda will include 26 workshops led by national, regional and local leaders in the farm to school movement, including two extended afternoon sessions on Wednesday, November 2nd focused on curriculum design and storytelling. National Director of the USDA Farm to School Program Deborah J. Kane will address the conference as keynote speaker on Thursday, November 3rd.
Wednesday evening’s dinner celebration will include a creative and delicious menu of local foods including dishes prepared using Vermont grown beans! Betti Wiggins, Executive Director, Detroit Public Schools Office of School Nutrition, a 25+ year school nutrition veteran will present “How F2S Made Me a Triple A Threat” that evening.
The conference is one of 74 projects spanning 39 states receiving support this year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Program, an effort to better connect school cafeterias and students with local farmers and ranchers.
“Farm to school programs work—for schools, for producers, and for communities,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secretary Vilsack. “By serving nutritious and locally grown foods, engaging students in hands-on lessons, and involving parents and community members, these programs provide children with a holistic experience that sets them up for a lifetime of healthy eating. With results from our Farm to School Census indicating schools across the nation invested $785million in local products, farm to school also provides a significant and reliable market for local farmers and ranchers.”
Studies have revealed a wealth of benefits from Farm to School activities. Most notably, students are choosing healthier food options both at school and at home and have a new appreciation and understanding of our agriculture systems. Local farmers benefit from the increased demand for their product, thus enriching the local economy and reducing the carbon footprint of food transportation.
“Farm to School programs are a vital tool we can use to promote agricultural literacy in schools so that, from an early age, students understand the value of nutrition, develop healthy eating habits, and appreciate where their food comes from,” said Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Ross. “This state-wide conference is an exciting opportunity for all members of Vermont’s Farm to School network to put our heads together to explore new, better ways to foster healthier and more resilient children, communities, and farms throughout Vermont via Farm to School connections."
“Vermont is a leader in the national Farm to School movement with innovative programs across the state supporting youth to eat healthier and to connect with where their food comes from,” said Betsy Rosenbluth, Project Director of Vermont VEED. “We are working towards healthier kids, more viable farms and stronger community connections. The conference is a chance to share our best practices and to spread farm to school to every VT community.”
Registration rates will increase October 8. To register and receive early rates, visit: www.vermontfarmtoschoolconference.org