- Grow Your Own (a collaboration between the Hardwick Area Food Pantry, NEK Kids on the Move, and CAE) offers free monthly workshops with hands-on skill-building related to growing, preserving and cooking your own food. This month, Hardwick Elementary School hosted a GYO workshop in its kitchen classroom space. Allison Van Akkeren, sustainable food systems faculty at Sterling College, facilitated a wonderful, informative, family oriented workshop on preparing healthy snacks.
- Local in Your Lunch! The list of Vermont products being purchased by OSSU school cafeterias is impressive! For example:
- Apples from Burt’s Orchard
- Maple from several hyper-local sugarmakers
- Yogurt and other dairy products from Cabot
- Bulk milk and yogurt from Kingdom Creamery
- Bread from VT Bread Company
- Beef from VT99 Meats
- Honey from Lyman Gilman
- Minimally processed potatoes, carrots, beets, and cabbage from the Vermont Food Venture Center
- Seasonal produce from Pete’s Greens, Riverside Farm, and others
In addition to these Vermont products, OSSU food service managers are also looking for ways to expand their local purchasing, including eggs, more fruit, more meat, and even menu changes to incorporate local tofu. With a new milk dispenser funded by a VT Agency of Agriculture grant, Lakeview has shifted away from non-local milk in cartons and is now serving bulk milk from Hardwick’s Kingdom Creamery. Less trash, more kids drinking milk – the reviews are very positive, and several other OSSU schools are considering the feasibility of this switch as well.
We salute the work of our school chefs (local procurement and menu planning is more complicated than you would imagine!) and encourage everyone to spend time getting to know more about your school meals programs.
- Meanwhile, over at Craftsbury Academy, 9th -12th graders were recently challenged to create healthy culinary masterpieces in the first annual CA Chopped Competition! Guidance Counselor Sally Guebara cooked up this event which combined team building with nutrition education and cooking skills. Grade level teams had thirty minutes to create a dish using five required ingredients (apples, carrots, beets, peanut butter and rice cakes) and up to five additional ingredients of their choosing. A panel of faculty judges sampled each entry and awarded top honors to the 11th grade apple tart made with rice cake graham cracker crust, whipped cream colored with carrot and beet juice, and a peanut butter drizzle!
- The natural world and working landscapes deeply define our sense of place in Vermont. We love that OSSU schools are accessing a variety of programs to infuse nature, agriculture, and nutrition into student learning. Here are three great examples:
- 4 Winds (formerly ELF) provides community-based natural science education monthly at Woodbury, Hardwick Elementary, Lakeview, and Craftsbury – in some cases for several decades! This is an amazing program that immerses kids in the natural world and relies on passionate community volunteers.
- Green Mountain Farm to School (GMFTS) works with Craftsbury and Lakeview schools to provide food, farm and nutrition education on site in school gardens and cafeterias. GMFTS has also become an important partner in providing farm to school professional development for OSSU teachers.
- Hardwick Elementary, Lakeview, Wolcott, REACH, and summer service programs have recently signed on to incorporate EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Programs) through UVM Extension. EFNEP educators use research-based, hands on curriculum to engage students in building skills and knowledge for making healthy life choices. Adult programs are available for free as well – click the link to learn more!