February 13, 2016

Bristol Second Graders Testify on Farm to School

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Montpelier (Feb 10) – Farm to School awareness day in the state house brought many people from around the state to a joint hearing for an update on the Vermont Farm to School Grant Program. Testimony was given by various people throughout the state who are involved in the program – including a group of second graders from Bristol. The state funding for the program has been cut by 60% since it was enacted in 2007 despite a growing demand throughout the state. Many who testified encouraged the committee to consider a funding increase to help support the success of the program.

 

Since its inception, the program has grown to include 120 schools throughout the state, reaching over 30,000 students. The program has made a positive impact on Vermont schools and their students – according to Vermont FEED, schools with the program have reported twice the national average in vegetable consumption. The program connects students to where their food comes from, and helps students to understand the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. The program also gives students a tie to their local Vermont products, helping to raise a generation with an increased connection and appreciation for local products.
The Farm to School program uses fun hands-on activities as educational tools to get the students interested in learning about their food and where it comes from. The group of Bristol second graders all spoke highly of their program, saying that they loved being able to try new foods like parsnip pancakes, and that they thought the program had been beneficial to them. Hearing such positive words directly from the students hopefully showed the committee how important this program is to the state, and how important it is to increase funding to help expand the program to other schools. Even a government investment of $50,000 – $70,000 can make an impact, helping to expand the program to promote healthy, local eating to more students in Vermont.

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