A leader in the growing Farm to School movement in Vermont, Food Connects’ Farm to School program supports educators, food service directors, farmers, and community members in cultivating healthy farm and food connections in classrooms, cafeterias, and communities across Southern Vermont.
WHY FARM TO SCHOOL?
The local food system in Vermont is vibrant but it’s leaving many people behind. The statistics about the health of our children are striking. One in three children are on track to develop Type-2 diabetes. For the first time in American history, researchers estimate that children will live shorter lives than their parents. In Southern Vermont, where Food Connects works, 12.5 percent of population lives in poverty and 1 in 4 children are food insecure. Unless we do something to put this run-away food system back on track, we’re headed for the biggest and most expensive health care crisis we can imagine.
Sixty-thousand children in Vermont eat school food five days-a-week, getting more than half their calories from school lunch, school breakfast, and school snack. What we feed our kids in schools and what we teach them about food matters. It affects how they grow, how they learn, what they will feed their own families, and how long they will live. School is where it all begins.
Farm to School programs seek to address this need through three types of activities:
Educating kids about healthy food
Hands-on engagement with fruits and vegetables in school gardens and kitchens
Access to healthy food from local farms in school cafeterias
For schools seeking improved student behavior, engaged learners, healthy kids, and a thriving local economy, farm to school programs work to:
Increase availability of fresh, healthy, local food
Create demand from kids for good food
Offer hands-on learning opportunities
Support local farms