For Immediate Release:
January 20, 2010
Koi Boynton 802-828-2084
Kelly Loftus 802 828-3829
Montpelier, Vt – The Vermont Agency of Agriculture in partnership with the Vermont Farm to School Network, recently announced the recipients of the 2010 Farm to School grants at a special ceremony at the Statehouse cafeteria.
The Vermont Farm to School grant program is in its fourth year and works to improve kids’ diets by linking local producers and schools. The grant program encourages schools to engage students in their local food system by incorporating local food and farm education in their cafeterias, classrooms and communities.
This year, grants were awarded to eleven schools. Five are implementation grants and six are planning grants. Schools who received grants in 2009 were on hand with displays demonstrating how the money had made an impact on their school and the important role the grants played in bringing more local foods to their cafeteria while making connections with local farmers.
“Farm to School has affected me greatly and I’m able to share my knowledge of where my food comes from with my parents and my friends,” said Lucia Gagliardone, a sixth grader at Sharon Elementary. “Now that we have local food available in our cafeteria I notice kids and staff making healthier choices.”
“The Farm to School programs engages students, school staff, and educators with farmers who work to keep Vermont’s landscape productive. The long term implications of engaging our youth in positive relationships with healthy, local food and the folks that produce it are enormous,” said Representative Will Stevens, Shoreham, Vermont. “I’ve been impressed that many of the grants have been used to address some of the infrastructure issues schools often face when considering the purchase of local foods.
“When students are able to communicate the importance of connecting Vermont agriculture and local foods to education, we know we have made a difference,” said Abbie Nelson, Co-director of VT FEED.
According to Koi Boynton, Farm to School Coordinator with the agency of agriculture, through the partnership with VT FEED and the departments of health and education, the new Vermont Farm to School Network has been formed.
“The Vermont Farm to School Network steering committee has been brought together and includes stakeholders that will work to provide statewide vision and improve communication throughout the state in order to build regional and local capacity for farm to school programs,” commented Boynton.
“The CDC released a report this month stating that 70 percent of Americans will die from a diet related illness,” stated Tom Stearns, Owner High Mowing Seeds. “We need a new generation of kids that are growing up with food system literacy. They need to know where their food comes from, what healthy food is and what a healthy food system is.”
“I look around at these pictures and see kids pulling up carrots and holding baby chicks and I think about how great it is that they have an understanding of agriculture that a lot of our adults don’t have. That is why this program is so important,” said Diane Bothfeld, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.
2010 Farm to School Grant Recipients
Twinfield Union School
Stockbridge Central School
The Dorset School
Cavendish Town Elementary School
St. Johnsbury School