What is Farm to School? Glad you asked!
Farm to School is an initiative being advocated at the national, state and local levels.
The National Farm to School Network is an information, advocacy and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing, school gardens, and food and agriculture education into schools and early care and education settings. (http://www.farmtoschool.org/about)
Vermont’s Farm to School Network has set a goal that by 2025, 75% of Vermont Schools will lead the cultural shift to a values-based food system that engages 75% of our students in integrated food system education; community-based learning; nourishing universal meals; and the experience of self-efficacy; purchasing at least 50% from a socially just and environmentally and financially sustainnable regional food system. (https://vermontfarmtoschool.org/about-us)
Here at Winston Prouty, October’s Farm to School effort was a hands-on deep dive into pumpkins and kale.
Needless to say, pumpkins are the region’s agricultural featured product for the month of October. AND they are perfect for small hands and curious minds to explore with all of their senses! See how the infant toddler teams demonstrate how one local crop can be used as a vehicle for exploration across all learning domains.
Teachers incorporated early literacy skills and encouraged personal connections by sharing books.
Children practiced fine motor skills as they scooped, grabbed, squished, and pulled pulp from inside the pumpkins.
Early math concepts emerged organically by discussing the properties of pumpkins, including size, weight, and comparing them with one another.
As children waited their turn, worked in close proximity to others, shared common tools, and expressed what they liked and did not like (especially when it came to particular textures), they practiced their social emotional skills.
Two of the classrooms cooked the seeds from their pumpkins and offered them as a snack, connecting the pumpkins back to the garden from which they came.
Finally, the Farm to School team procured its first Harvest of the Month crop, an abundant delivery of kale, from Food Connects. Kristie, Angela, Nancy and Kathy worked together to process the mountains of leafy greens into three healthy snacks: kale chips, kale pesto, and kale quesadillas. Check out Vermont’s Harvest of the Month page to find these recipes and more!
November’s Harvest of the Month is sweet potatoes. What’s your favorite sweet potato recipe?