Bristol Second Graders Testify on Farm to School

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.

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

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. 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.

President Sullivan Appeals for Funds

Montpelier, Jan. 27—UVM president Tom Sullivan presented to the Vermont Senate Education Committee at the statehouse on Wednesday, requesting an increase to next fiscal year’s appropriations from the state government. This was one of three presentations the President gave to the legislature that day. Sullivan emphasized the new STEM complex, which is the highest-cost building project UVM has ever undertaken. He stressed that the complex will benefit the state as well as the university, saying “I think every one” of the construction workers associated with the project is a Vermont native, and that UVM “could be seen as Vermont’s biggest engine for economic development.” This claim stems from UVM’s status as a “talent magnet” for out-of-state students and researchers, as well as the University’s status as the state’s largest employer*.

Sullivan Testifies Before House Education Committee

Montpelier (Jan 27) President of the University of Vermont, Tom Sullivan, testified this morning before the House Committee of Education urging the committee to consider an increase in state funding for the University. President Sullivan heavily emphasized the importance of the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) project that is currently underway, arguing that this improved program will attract more Vermont students that can contribute to the future of Vermont. This new facility will also improve the University’s already strong research programs, which has a direct relationship with Vermont. President Sullivan used the opiate addiction research being done at UVM as an example of how this research is currently aiding the state in figuring out how to fix the opiate abuse that is currently plaguing the state.  

The committee members displayed a clear concern with the number of students from Vermont that are able to take advantage of UVM, and the number of students that stay in Vermont after graduation.

Sullivan Asks for Increased Funding

 

Montpelier(Jan. 27) -,President Thomas Sullivan highlighted the 2014-2015 year at UVM and asked the House Committee on Education for an increase in funding. Sullivan covered a variety of topics, from the new STEM building, to the university’s efforts in attracting and graduating low-income Vermont students. Sullivan asked the committee for a 5.2% increase in funding for FY 2017. He said over 1,000 Vermonters graduate from UVM every year and that one of their goals is to increase that number by giving low income Vermont residents the ability to afford a college education.

An Investment in Education is an Investment in Vermont’s Future

Montpellier (Jan 27) – University of Vermont’s President, Tom Sullivan, provided testimony on Wednesday in front of the House Committee on Education, asking legislators to consider increasing state appropriations for the state’s only public land grant university. Among his arguments, President Sullivan made the case that “investing in education is an investment in the future of Vermont,” and through the expansion of the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) facilities and educational offerings at UVM, graduates of the university are directly benefitting Vermont’s economic development. The value of investing in educational opportunities for Vermonters, Sullivan argued, is a decrease in the social, economic and medical costs that are often associated with populations with lower levels of education. Making UVM affordable and attractive to Vermont students is among the President’s top priorities. Given 32,000 UVM alumni live and work in the state, UVM is providing the foundation for a future of economic activity, innovation and development throughout the state.