The Farm to School Connection
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The (outdoor) Classroom:
2017 School Garden Planning Retreats

We know it's hard to imagine right now, but spring really is just around the corner! We'd like to invite you to join one of our two School Garden Planning Retreats this month, so you may kick off your 2017 Growing Season with some great resources and concrete plans. 

Our goal is to provide a space for teachers, school staff and parent organizers of school gardens to: 
  • Come together and share resources and ideas
  • Network with other school gardeners
  • Develop a clear plan and timeline for your school's 2017 garden
  • Identify garden needs
  • Have fun!
The retreat is intended to be helpful and productive for both seasoned and first-time school gardeners. No prior school garden experience is required, just a can-do attitude!

  • We highly encourage you to attend with a team from your school. Just like with cabbage, 2 or 3 heads are better than 1!
  • BRATTLEBORO: Wed., March 22, 4-6pm, Pole Barn at the Food Connects/VABEC office (3 University Way)
  • CHESTER: Wed., March 29th, 4-6pm, Chester-Andover Elem. School

The retreats are free, but please RSVP so we may plan accordingly. 

The Cafeteria:

Power Up with Vermont School Food! 

We know hard school nutrition staff work to prepare healthy meals each and every day for our students. The quality of school meals in Vermont has come a long way in recent years, but student and public opinion hasn't yet shifted as dramatically as the actual meals we're serving.

That's why we created Power Up VT.

This marketing campaign was designed to help High School and Middle School food service directors, Farm to School coordinators and other school food champions to celebrate and promote their meal programs. We hope to inspire students and staff to ask themselves, "What's on your plate today?" Through a set of dynamic posters, sample marketing materials, tips and support, we want to help YOU get more healthy, powerful school food onto plates.

Get Started

  1. Read the full Toolkit
  2. Print the posters and display them prominently at your school (see some examples below)
  3. Include a "Newsletter Blurb" in your next school-wide communication
  4. Try out one of the 10 Tips for Increasing Participation in School Meals
  5. Collect feedback from students, teachers, and staff
  6. Like @Powered by VT School Food on Facebook and use the hashtag #PowerUpVT on all your social media posts and stay in touch!

The Community:

Hunger Council of the Windham Region

The Hunger Council of the Windham Region is a group of local leaders who are committed to learning about hunger and improving community and household food security. Hunger Free VT's Hunger Councils, now established in every region of the state, coordinate efforts and build strong nutrition safety nets at the community and state level. This project is a comprehensive approach to addressing hunger: by educating community members about the local causes and effects of hunger and providing tools to improve nutrition and reduce hunger in their communities and beyond.

Membership in the Hunger Councils is open to anyone with an interest in furthering the Council’s vision that all Vermonters in each community in our state have access to an adequate supply of nutritious food.  Please join us!  

The Hunger Council of the Windham Region met last on January 18th and focused on the emergency and charitable food system. Meeting agenda available HERE and meeting minutes available HERE.

The Council meets next on Wednesday, March 15th and will be focusing on ensuring access to nutritious food for children while school is out. 

The Co-Chairs of the Windham Region Hunger Council are: Lisa Pitcher, Director of Our Place Drop-In Center and Margaret Atkinson, Executive Director of the Windham Child Care Association.

2017 Grantees gather with Governor Phil Scott and Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts at the Farm to School Awareness Day Reception on February 8th at the State House. 
CONGRATULATIONS to all of the 2017 Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Farm to School grantees!

A special Southern Vermont shout out to:
  • Currier Memorial School (Planning Grant & Universal Meals Grant)
  • Flood Brook School (Implementation Grant)
  • Guilford Central School (Implementation Grant)
  • Mill River Union Unified School District (Planning Grant)
Chop! Chop! Whole Grains

Professional Development for Chefs:
Chop Chop! Whole Grains

Professional Development & Continuing Education Credits
Each video in this series counts for 0.25 hours of both USDA professional development credits and SNA CEUs. Please be sure to complete the short evaluation form after watching each video in order to obtain your credits. 

Key Topics & Training Subjects covered in this video:
  • Menu Planning: 1130
  • Food Production: 2110, 2130

Time to Revisit School Lunch

Check out the latest, March 2017, issue of Parent Express for a wonderful and informative article written by Food Connects' staff member Allyson Wendt!

"School lunch is not what you remember...A steady stream of local potatoes, apples, salad greens, broccoli, kale, root vegetables, and maple syrup now makes its way into school kitchens around Windham and Cheshire counties through Food Connects’ two food hubs, Windham Farm & Food and Monadnock Menus."

"...give school lunch a try - it’s come a long way from the mystery meat patty of the past. "

A recent meal at Academy School in Brattleboro featured meatloaf with flax seed, mashed local red potatoes, and carrots glazed with local maple syrup. Photo by: Donovan Hunt.

Funding Opportunities

Grow Grants, New England Grassroots Environmental Fund
Deadline: March 15th

Action for healthy kids, grants for school breakfast, nutrition or physical activity initiatives. 
Deadline: April 7th

Food Service Equipment Grants, to buy new or replace worn-out or broken kitchen equipment, highly competitive, schools must provide 50% matching funds. 
Deadline: April 7th

Harvest of the Month

Visit the HOM website!

Download this month's free HOM Resources:
Next Month:

(Click image to access resources)

Sign the Pledge to let us know you're participating!

Upcoming Events & Trainings

Mar 9: Applications due for the 2017-18 Northeast Farm to School Institute

Mar. 22: School Garden Planning Retreat (Brattleboro) 

Mar. 29: School Garden Planning Retreat (Chester)

Yoga Locally! Vinyasa Yoga by donation to support Food Connects! Tuesdays 5:00-6:30 PM & Saturdays 10:30-11:45 AM
Copyright © 2017 Food Connects, All rights reserved.

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