Londonderry farm to table garden needs summer volunteers

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LONDONDERRY >> According to Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day), Farm to School programs bring healthy food to children nationwide. The goals of most Farm to School programs are to serve healthy meals in cafeterias, improve student nutrition, and provide food, farm, and nutrition education opportunities. Farm to school programs help show children where their food comes from and how food choices impact their bodies, the environment, and their communities at large.

The Farm to School committee at Flood Brook School in Londonderry has been working to develop a sustainable Farm to School Program. Members of Flood Brook School faculty, administration and staff have been learning about opportunities to integrate community, classroom, and cafeteria, the "3 Cs" of Farm to School programming, into the K-8 curriculum at Flood Brook. Many activities and projects have begun to inform the school community about Farm to School. Last year the school garden was a perfect place for experimenting, implementing and having fun with the new Farm to School initiatives on campus. For example, students, teachers, volunteers and parents enjoyed planting, weeding and harvesting potatoes, dry beans and sweet basil. All three of these crops can be stored easily for the kitchen to use in the preparation of fresh, local meals for the 2015-2016 school year and beyond.

Over the winter, the Farm to School committee, comprised of teachers, school administration, parents and local farmers, was chosen by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture as one of nine Vermont Farm to School "Planning Grantees." This spring, FBS was one of 10 school teams from New England to participate in the Farm to School Summer Institute. The Flood Brook team spent June 28 to 30 at Shelburne Farms to further develop Farm to School initiatives and curriculum for the 2016-2017 school year.

In addition to the cultural Three Sisters garden activity, current FTS practices at Flood Brook include recognition of Vermont Harvest of the Month and student participation across grade levels in the FBS "Ladder of Environmental Responsibility". The Ladder of Environmental Responsibility involves students and teachers in ongoing tasks that care for the school environment and gardens.

For the 2016-2017 school year the Farm to School committee plans to increase programming to include regular Harvest of the Month taste tests, participate in Northeast Organic Farming Association's Farmer Correspondence program, and increase student participation in both crop production and soil health in the school gardens. As with any successful school program, community member participation is critical.

Volunteers can help tend the gardens in July and August by contacting Laura Brown, Farm to School coordinator at lbrown@floodbrook.org or Sonja at sthorley@brsu.org.


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