Which work crew at Sterling allows you to make broccoli cheddar bites with fifth grade students, assist in processing vegetables (that came from the Pete’s Greens farm five minutes down the hill) for school lunches, guide the third and fourth grade in making bread for a community feast, and host a conference featuring keynote speaker Bill Yosses, the former White House pastry chef?
I have a feeling you guessed right. It’s my work crew. I’m one of two Sterling Farm-to-School coordinators.
Farm-to-School is a national program bringing nutrition and agricultural education into the school system by uniting classroom, cafeteria, and community. This semester at Sterling, I’ve been cooking with kids, getting them out in the school garden, organizing community events, picking lots of apples, and chopping lots of carrots and potatoes.
In Craftsbury, we’re lucky to be in close proximity to so many generous farms and to have open-minded teachers who are excited about Farm-to-School. Many of the children in this area are familiar with farming, either growing up on one or living in close proximity. In a small rural village, getting involved in the community comes naturally.
But this program is not exclusive to towns, or even just Vermont. Green Mountain Farm-to-School fits into a larger network of this education model, bringing food-centered curriculum into schools everywhere from Calaveras County, California to New York City.
In a time of growing disconnect and confusion about the food we eat, how it is prepared, and where it comes from, programs like this are trying to do something about it. They’re providing opportunities to plant garlic in the fall and harvest it at the end of the school year, make mashed potatoes and parsnips, save bean seeds, and support school lunches made with food from local farms.
This fall, as a Sterling Farm-to-School coordinator, I’ve gotten to be a part of bringing children close to their food, and as a result, closer to the earth.