February 12, 2016

A plea to increase funding for Farm to School program reaches the State House

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Montpelier (February 10) – A large crowd gathered in Room 11 at the State House this Wednesday to speak of the benefits of the Farm to School program.  Among the crowd were many young students from Bristol and Northfield Elementary Schools.  Despite their age the stories shared about their experiences with the Farm to School program seemed to hold a lot of weight.

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Second grade teacher Peg Sutlive, pictured above, spoke about how Farm to School improved her students’ personal connection with the food while creating a feeling of ownership over it.  One of Sutlive’s students, Charlotte Crum, said “I hope you keep doing the Farm to School so that I can keep trying new things” which was the general consensus among the students there to testify.  “My favorite part is the hands-on cooking and trying new recipes. Farm to school is important to me because I’ve learned a lot and had fun with it” said Orrin Price, a student at Northfield Elementary.

One of the reasons behind asking for an increase in funding is to expand the Farm to School program to pre-schools.  By introducing children to local food and healthy eating practices in pre-school they won’t be surprised by them when they reach elementary school.  The purpose is to begin healthy practices as soon as possible because often children bring what they learned home with them which create healthy homes and subsequently healthy communities.  Susan Camp from the Vermont Department of Health stated there has been a “slight decrease in obesity” in high school students and a “slight increase” in fruit and vegetable consumption in those same students.  She goes on to say it is unknown if that is in direct relation with the Farm to School program but she feels that it is helping.  At the end of the testimony it was very clear that the legislators were in favor of increasing funding to Farm to School programs but the state budget likely won’t allow for it.

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