At Canaan School this past October, Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) and the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) hosted the Vermont Farm to School Network’s Regional Fall Gathering for the Northeast. The gathering served as a celebration of farm to school (FTS) efforts and successes around the state. It allowed Northeastern Vermont FTS coordinators and advocates to build local connections and relationships with peers and find solutions to strengthen and maintain their FTS work. Participants also had the opportunity to connect with regional and state FTS support persons to understand how their resources could help support their own FTS efforts.
Canaan was a unique location for this Fall’s regional gathering. Bordering both New Hampshire and Quebec, Canaan School is situated far north of the rest of the Northeast Kingdom, further removed from an already isolated area. Despite these challenges, Canaan has found solutions just across the Connecticut River, in a partnership with schools in New Hampshire, most notably, Colebrook Elementary School.
The Supervisory Union that oversees Colebrook received a grant from the Niel and Louise Tillotson Fund to support area FTS collaboration. This grant allowed them to hire a FTS coordinator, in partnership with New Hampshire Farm to School, that managed a school garden with students, provided professional development for teachers to support farm to school in the classroom, and also provided year-round FTS programming for students in both Colebrook and Canaan Schools. During breakout sessions at the gathering, representatives from both Canaan and Colebrook were excited about this successful partnership, and engaged in conversations about how the NH/VT border area can further work together to provide more FTS opportunities for students.
Participants also noted their appreciation of the gathering allowing them to hear what other folks are doing in FTS, which helped them in picturing the bigger scheme of what they were all working towards. GMFTS was happy to share expertise and resources with attendees, and is excited about the future of farm to school in Canaan and across the border.
To learn more about the Vermont Farm to School Network and join a future regional gathering, click here.