Issue #19: Late October

‘Women Can Do’ Conference: Hazen Sophomore Olivia Davison writes:  Recently, I got to go to a conference called ‘Women Can Do’, hosted at Vermont Technical College (Randolph Campus). There were many different workshops hosted there, but every girl only got to go to two (from their top 5 list). One of my favorite things that I got to do at this conference was something called the Action Expo. At the action expo, all the girls got to walk around and interact with different people from different professions ranging from pilots, to computer designers, to welders. Two of my favorite things that I learned from the Action Expo was; learning how to put handcuffs on someone else from a Vermont State Police Officer, and I got to learn how to build a computer from computer designers that work at a computer company called Logic. There were many other people there from many other professions, and other people from their professions were teaching the workshops. I would highly recommend that any girl in High School go to this conference, it is a great experience and you get to learn many new things!”


HES Harvest Dinner: 


On Thursday night, the Hardwick Elementary School gym (freshly refinished by VT Natural Coatings!) was filled with art and food and 350 community members, gathered to share a delicious, homemade feast. Special guests included farmers, veterans and local representatives. The menu included a beautiful array of dishes homemade by each class, often with ingredients from the school garden or local farmers who have hosted field trips or provided donations. This year’s menu featured:

Fifth Grader Sadie Gann spoke to the assembled crowd and delivered this message in celebration of the harvest:

“Over the years, I have been involved in several food related activities at school. I have helped to take care of the school gardens from planting, to weeding, to harvesting and preparing food.

I have been to Riverside Farm and learned about good farming practices and planting seeds.

I have been to the Laggis Farm, where our class picked and processed over 800 pounds of corn and fed our school many times.

I have helped make many loaves of homemade bread that were donated to the Food Shelf and served at Harvest Dinners.

And what I really like the best, is spending time with adults and friends working hard and having fun indoors and outside.”

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CA Food Science: At Craftsbury Academy, science students are exploring chemistry, physics and the scientific method through… pancakes!?! This year, a new food science class taught by Ethan Self is using food as an engaging, relevant and applied lens through which to grapple with science concepts. Last week, groups were cooking up experiments with pancake batter, manipulating experimental variables and creating procedures to hold other variables constant. Hooray for brain food!!


Lakeview Food Team: Over the last few years, Lakeview School has been working with a group of community partners to increase the amount of local calories served in school, engage students in learning experiences connected to where their food comes from, and strengthen school culture through a values-based meals program that brings students and the community together. Recently, this group met to reflect on the work that has been done and consider next steps. With the voices of farmers (one of whom is a student), school leaders, and community support orgs at the table, the conversation centered around weaving community, student leadership and the practice of gratitude more deeply and intentionally into the experiences students have with food at school. Stay tuned for more on where this momentum leads!IMG_20181022_190212

This gathering was made possible with help from the VT Farm to School Network, a statewide network providing leadership, coordination and advocacy toward the following goal: By 2025, 75% of Vermont Schools will lead the cultural shift to a values-based food system that engages 75% of our students in integrated food system education; community-based learning; nourishing universal meals; and the experience of self-efficacy; purchasing at least 50% from a socially just and environmentally and financially sustainable regional food system.


Issue #18: Late Sept/Early Oct

  • Hazen Harvest Meal: Remember back in August when the full OSSU faculty used the Open Space format to connect with each other and dive deeper into topics of interest with their colleagues? One result of those conversations was a team at Hazen who wanted to coordinate the first annual Harvest Meal at Open House. The result was an amazing feat of collaboration, with administration, teachers, students, school chefs and community partners coming together to put on a lovely meal featuring squash soup with veggies from the Hazen Greenhouse and Pete’s Greens, side dishes and desserts made by TSAs, leadership and coordination from NHS students, and pizza fired in the school’s outdoor oven with yummy toppings from Jasper Hill and VT99 Meats. The meal was a great success and brought the community together in the kind of way we all need more of right


  • HES REACH Cooking Class: Afterschool students at HES have been cooking up a storm with fresh, local ingredients during a weekly activity with Suzanne Bader. Check out their pickle-making session and garden scavenger hunt in the photos below!


  • Manufacturing Day: A bus load of Hazen Students visited Vermont Natural Coatings on Oct. 5th for a tour and workshops being held as part of National Manufacturing Day. On this day around the country, thousands of manufacturers host events to introduce youth to career opportunities. At VNC, students learned about the chemistry of finishes, marketing and sales, technical skills, ecology, and the variety of career paths and local opportunities within the wood flooring industry.


  • Wolcott School 3rd Annual Fall Garden Workday: Always an amazing, productive, joyful day when the full faculty and student body takes time to work together in tending to the school garden. This time, activity focused on weeding, planting garlic, weeding, setting up and planting the low tunnel with late season greens, weeding, treasure hunting for carrots and radishes and worms, weeding, planting fall flower bulbs, weeding, and sowing a cover crop! This winter, the school is excited to collaborate with a local architect who will work with students on a new garden design to be built in the spring! Can’t wait to see what they come up with!


  • Hazen Union Career Cafe: The Partners in Learning Committee, a result of the Hardwick Vermont Community Rural Development visit in 2016, is proud to present the Career Cafe at Hazen Union. The series furthers the committee’s mission to diversify the student learning experience and understanding of opportunities in the Northeast Kingdom. The Career Cafe is a weekly forum during which students hear about diverse career paths from community members. This program will include entrepreneurs, business and trades people, and experts in their field. This project is in collaboration with WonderArts, Hazen Union, the Center for an Agricultural Economy, and Green Mountain Technology and Career Center. Hazen students have heard from Andrew Meyer of VT Natural Coatings, Game Warden Russ Shopland, and health care professional, Betty Stewart.

Copy of a table forIf interested in being a Career Cafe speaker, contact Jen Olsen, the Work Based Learning Coordinator at Hazen Union. Phone: 802-472-2716 Email:


  • Atkins Field in Hardwick is a fifteen acre community space managed by the CAE that hosts farmers markets and events, community gardens, hoop house and orchard, a bicycle pump track, and more. After listening, learning and building community partnerships, a redevelopment project is underway to add an open-air pavilion, parking lot, and history and nature trails. This video promoting the project features some local OSSU students and teachers talking about what Atkins means to them!            FinalImageSWSketchfullcolor



Issue #17: Early September 2018

Update on the The Great Greenhouse Pumpkin Adventure: On September 14th, HES third graders returned to the Hazen Greenhouse to harvest the pumpkins they had planted as second graders in the spring. Not only were they gleeful to discover the big, beautiful fruits of their labor, they also discovered evidence of squirrel, groundhog, and bear friends who had clearly been equally gleeful to find the delicious bounty. Despite unexpected donations to the wild animal community, there were still plenty of pumpkins to meet our human needs, and the harvest of over 70 pumpkins was distributed to both Hazen and HES cafeterias as well as to the Hardwick Trails for the annual community Pumpkin Walk.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge the fantastic and multi-faceted collaboration that was at play throughout this pumpkin adventure:

  • Hazen Green Team – ninth graders catalyzed project to revitalize the greenhouse
  • Service Week workers- Hazen student teams cleaned and prepped beds
  • HES teachers and students – started pumpkin seeds in their classrooms, fall harvest
  • Hazen engineering students – built irrigation system for greenhouse
  • Hazen Teachers – greenhouse systems support, coordination of student involvement
  • Summer Services Greenhouse Learning Camp – greenhouse summer care
  • Summer Employment Opportunities Program – greenhouse summer care
  • Community gardeners – greenhouse summer care
  • CAE – project coordination
  • High Mowing Organic Seeds – seed donation
  • Hardwick Trails Committee – use pumpkins for Pumpkin Walk
  • Hazen Kitchen – prepare pumpkins for community meal
  • HES Kitchen – prepare pumpkins for community meal
  • Bears, woodchucks, cucumber beetles, and powdery mildew – keeping it real


Near the Wolcott School Garden last week was spied this evidence of teachers putting their Farm to School professional development work into action! This “Brown Bag Botany” activity combines a relay race with an exploration of the six plant parts and their functions. You can also see the new raspberry patch planted by students in the background 🙂IMG_20180910_140403


For many years, HES students have been going to Laggis Farm to pick corn for the school cafeteria. Last year, they picked enough corn to last for two years of school meals (!!!) so this year a new corn partnership was formed with the Hardwick Area Food Pantry. In the pictures below, fourth grade students are processing corn with Food Pantry Director, Laura Wilkinson, who was pleased to have another fresh, local product to offer her clients. Yum!


The PLACE Program, a project of UVM and Shelburne Farms has come to Greensboro Bend!  This program is described as, “Working directly with local schools, town commissions, historical societies, and conservation organizations, PLACE staff members develop an integrated series of presentations, field trips, workshops, and visioning forums designed to celebrate and honor a town’s cultural heritage and ecological potential.” Graduate student Lauren Sopher, sponsored by the Greensboro Conservation Commission, has been the on-the-ground PLACE researcher in Greensboro this past year. Recently, as one component of her project, Lauren has engaged with Lakeview School, CAE, WonderArts, and the Bend Revitalization Initiative to explore ways to bring youth voice to community initiatives. She is also developing community-based curriculum in collaboration with Lakeview school, one example being a workshop that weaves the concepts of forest ecology together with food systems by exploring the relationship between Jasper Hill and the local sawmill that produces the bark wrappers for some of their cheeses.


Issue #16: August 2018

Happy New School Year! Already so much to celebrate!

  • Congratulations to Hazen Union for being one of fourteen Vermont recipients in a competitive grant program through the Northern Borders Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership for economic and community development in northern ME, NH, VT and NY. Hazen’s project is a multi-year collaboration with local organizations and businesses to build a community-based, entrepreneurship and artisan career academy within Hazen’s course of study that will align student interests and graduation requirements with the skill needs of local employers, focusing on entrepreneurship, mentorship and work-based learning experiences. Governor Phil Scott, Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Peter Welch were present at the award ceremony to congratulate recipients.  FullSizeRender
  • Six weeks of OSSU’s new Greenhouse Summer Learning Camp culminated with a beautiful meal of stone soup and salad prepared by the twelve students and shared with family, community partners and school leaders. The program was so successful in connecting kids to healthy habits, rich learning and new friendships that teachers and administrators are moving forward with plans to extend program components throughout the school year!

stone soup


School Food News:

  • The Hazen Cafeteria is now serving fresh, local Kingdom Creamery milk – supporting local farmers, nourishing kids, and reducing waste!IMG_20180828_112957
  • Local beef from VT99 Meats has been featured in all of the OSSU schools over the last year, and this year Wolcott and Lakeview are switching fully to sourcing their beef locally! Yum!
  • Starting this fall at Hardwick Elementary School, the meals program will be expanding to offer a nutritious after school meal, free to all enrolled students! It takes a lot of work to plan, apply for and implement a new school meal, so thanks to Val Hussey, the OSSU business office, Hunger Free VT, HES school board, REACH, and teacher and parent focus group members for helping get this going. Stay tuned for more details about the program as it gets up and running in October!
  • Check out Woodbury’s flourishing school gardens! Without an in-house meals program (meals now being provided by HES), Woodbury is getting creative with ways of incorporating their school garden harvest into learning activities and classroom projects!  


    Spotlight on August Inservice Week: Witnessing teachers in action as they prepare to launch a new school year is pretty incredible. Here are a few highlights from last week:

    • On Tuesday over one hundred teachers from OSSU participated in a process called Open Space. First, teachers identified topics of interest, from “bringing more joy to your work,” to “outdoor learning opportunities,” to “restorative justice/restorative practices in schools.” Then each person self selected the conversation they wanted to join, and colleagues engaged in small group dialogue – the rules being: Whoever comes are the right people, whatever happens is the only thing that could have, and if you are no longer gaining from or contributing to the conversation you must move to a different one. Debriefing the experience together, teachers described Open Space as a valuable, respectful use of their time that fostered rich conversation, connection, creativity and commitment. 
    • On Wednesday, OSSU’s PD Academy launched this year’s amazing set of professional learning courses, including:
      • Walking with Horses: An Equine Assisted Approach to improving classroom relationships
      • Bringing Back Books
      • The Harkness Method of Classroom Dialogue and Mindfulness for Teachers
      • Intro to MTSS (Multi-Tiered Support Systems)
      • M3: Mindset, Metacognition and Motivation
      • Relevance and Rigor through Farm to School Integration
      • Restorative Practices in Schools
      • Transform your Practice through Action Research
      • Proficiency-Based Learning Assessment and the Collaborative Classroom within Music Education
    • On Thursday, HES teachers joined partners from CAE to explore local, walkable outdoor learning spaces at Atkins Field and the Hardwick Trails, planning for building more cohesion and energy into their school-wide work around sustainability themes.

      May we all feel increasingly connected to each other, energized by our communities and inspired by youth as this new year begins!

Issue #15: July 2018

  • Greenhouse Summer Learning Camp: OSSU elementary students participating in the new Greenhouse Summer Learning Camp are meeting their summer learning goals through a program built around cooking, nutrition, gardening, and outdoor exploration. Based at Hazen with access to forest trails, a kitchen classroom, greenhouse space and summer meals, lead teacher Cindy Osgood and her team are piloting an amazing model for socially and intellectually rich, integrated, engaging summer services. Nutrition and wellness activities led by Katie Black of UVM Extension have also been a wonderful weekly component of the camp. You may remember reading about the planning for this program in prior blog posts; now it is so exciting to see those plans manifesting with such spectacular results! And these kids made it onto the front page of the Hardwick Gazette!

    A big thank you to the Summer Learning Camp students for helping keep the Hazen greenhouse watered during this hot summer. As you can see, the pumpkins are going wild!



  • School leaders headed to EFS Leadership Academy: Amy Masse (Woodbury Principal) and Patrick Pennock (HES Principal) have begun a year long professional development program through Shelburne Farms in which they will be part of a cohort of educators from around the country studying Education for Sustainability (EFS) and leadership strategies for school transformation. EFS includes aligning educational goals with ecological integrity, economic vitality, and social justice. Last year Eric Erwin and Heather Freeman participated in this program, along with Reeve Basom from CAE. With Pat and Amy attending this year, the EFS community of practice in our local school system is truly growing and deepening.  


  • Summer Meals: Did you know that free meals are available throughout the summer for children 18 and under (and for adults at $4 per meals, after all children have been served)? The summer meals program in our area is coordinated by Christine Shatney with support from Hazen Union, VT AOE, and Hunger Free Vermont. Sites at Hazen (11:30 – 12:30), HES (11:30 – 12:15) and the Greensboro Methodist Church (11:30 – 12) serve up to 250 lunches per day, including meals coordinated with local summer activities and camps. The Hazen site also has breakfast available between 8-10 am. This summer, the program runs through August 17th, and there is a weekly raffle for participants with items donated by local businesses. Donated local products also make it into some of the meals – yesterday’s mac ‘n cheese was made with delicious cheddar from Jasper Hill!


  • VT Digger Article on Work Based Learning: This recent article takes a look at the growth and impacts of work-based and community-based learning in Vermont. While the examples they cite are not from our region, the stories resonate with the work unfolding in OSSU. Check it out!

Issue #14: Late June 2018

It may be summer break, but the list of things to celebrate about OSSU never ends!


  • Woodbury has completed some major upgrades to its school garden hoop house. Despite school meals no longer being prepared onsite*, the Woodbury staff are strongly committed to growing and integrating food into their school programs. As teacher John Kordet wrote about the hoop house project, “I’m really looking forward to the fall when I can get the kids out there and explore agronomy with them. What an asset it will be!”
    *Woodbury meals are now prepared by the Hardwick Elementary School Food Service team and delivered daily.




  • Student Survey: You’ve read about the Student Survey Project in several past posts and seen the resulting data that shows a strong desire for outdoor and nature-based learning experiences. One final piece to report out is how the students who led this project were impacted. In a debrief session at the close of the school year, the student survey team reflected on what the project meant to them. Highlights of the experience included:
    • being seen and taken seriously
    • feeling accepted, appreciated, important and happy
    • having conversations with adult audiences
    • changing people’s thinking
    • being known as, “The kid that made a change, not just so-and-so’s daughter.”

The team also thought about what they could improve on or do differently next time, including getting more kids involved in leading the project, surveying more students, presenting to additional audiences, and more practice responding to anticipated questions from the audience.


  • Effects of Farm to School on Student Behavior: As part of a collaborative project with Green Mountain Farm to School, the CAE has been collecting and analyzing data from several schools (both in and out of OSSU) to compare behavior referral rates on days with and without farm to school activities. Our initial findings are exciting and do seem to show a trend: the rate for office behavior referrals on days with farm-to-school activities in specific grades are about half the rate for other days. This initial work is exploratory and our first round of data has limitations, so we are curious to hear your thoughts and reactions. Can you think of factors that might lead to a false trend showing up? Do you have anecdotal or other evidence that this trend seems to make sense, or not? Are we barking up the right tree? We appreciate all feedback as we explore the idea of a larger study.


  • A visual update on the Hazen Greenhouse: getting jungly!


Issue #13: Early June 2018

  • Craftsbury Woodlot – On June 13th, a bus carrying the entire Craftsbury Elementary School pulled up to a clearing on a forested hilltop outside of town. A sign at the clearing’s edge reads, “Craftsbury Academy Woodlot,” but it has been many years since this piece of land was used regularly as part of the school program. Now, with the collaborative investment of teachers and Craftsbury residents, the woodlot is being reintroduced to students. As the group stepped off the bus they were greeted by a group of community members, each with something special to teach the students about this piece of land – tree identification, forest crafts, forest stories and history, forest games, and a little bit of forest magic. We look forward to seeing how this beautiful outdoor classroom continues to be utilized for rich learning experiences and community connections!


  • Woodbury Dairy in the Classroom Field Trip – After five weeks of exploring the many facets of dairy farming in Vermont, Woodbury students and teachers in grades K-2 were welcomed to the Laggis Brothers Dairy Farm in East Hardwick for a culminating field trip to see cows and farmers in action! Students learned about how nutrients are recycled on the farm and how farmers work to promote animal health and productivity throughout the lifecycle. The Laggis family has been a wonderful partner to OSSU, hosting corn gleaning and many field trips over the years.
  • Hazen’s J-Term, now in its second year, offers students two weeks of experiential learning at the end of the year. This year the program has expanded to include the high school as well as the middle school and students each choose from an array of engaging seminars designed by teachers, often with elements of community collaboration. Hazen’s website homepage currently features some great photos of J-Term activities, from fly fishing and watershed conservation to cheesemaking. Take a look!


  • Wolcott School Board and admin, inspired by the Lakeview Student Survey (previously featured in issues 1, 7 and 8), is planning to collaborate with CAE on a student survey project for next school year! Three cheers for the importance and power of student voice and participation in decision making!


  • What are you most proud of about your school? I asked OSSU school leaders this question, and heard responses that reflected both the individuality of each school and the strength of a shared vision for providing high quality education. Two themes stood out clearly among the many points of pride:
    1. Cultivating an empowered, motivated staff culture that increasingly supports innovation, collaboration, risk-taking, and adaptive leadership for facilitating authentic, meaningful learning experiences with children.  
    2. Opportunities for student leadership and student voice.

I hope you will ask yourself this same question and use it to spark some great conversations!


Issue #12: Late May 2018

Community Partner Celebration: The second annual Community Partners Appreciation Breakfast was held at Hazen on May 15th. This year, Hazen has partnered with over 140 community members or entities (that’s amazing!!), and the thirty or so who were able to attend this breakfast included farmers, engineers, police officers, businesses, nonprofits, and more, all of whom engage with Hazen in some way to enrich the learning experiences of students, whether it be hosting interns, providing informational interviews, visiting as a guest speaker, or collaborating on school projects. A panel of students who shared about their experiences with community partnerships was a highlight of the morning, and it was clear that these relationships are of real and reciprocal value. The event was organized by the Partners In Learning team – if you would like to know more or get involved, please contact Reeve Basom or Jen Olson:,


Pumpkin Planting Party! Last week, HES second graders hiked intrepidly through the rain to plant their pumpkin starts in the Hazen Greenhouse. Hazen High School students have been working hard to prepare the greenhouse space for planting and were on hand to work with their younger friends as baby pumpkin plants were carefully tucked into their warm new home. These pumpkins will become the supply for HES’s annual Pumpkin Walk in the fall, and the greenhouse will be growing tomatoes, melons, herbs and flowers for use by summer programs and the Hazen kitchen.

On May 23rd, some of the Hazen Students involved in the Greenhouse revitalization presented their work to peers from around the state at the VEEP Youth Climate Leaders Academy in Montpelier. Maker:S,Date:2017-8-2,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y


New ESY Summer Program: Also connected to the Hazen Greenhouse is an exciting new opportunity for OSSU students with Extended School Year Services (ESY) that is being piloted this year by the OSSU Student Services team. Located at Hazen, the program will make use of the greenhouse, the outdoor trails, and the home ec kitchen classroom to focus on student’s individual goals through hands on, experiential projects. Katie Black with UVM Extension will also be teaching a nutrition strand as a piece of this program.


Wolcott School’s Third Annual All School Spring Gardening Day!

  • Raspberries for a new school patch donated by Bear Swamp Farm, harvested by 5th graders and transplanted by 6th
  • Pumpkins planted by Kindergarten
  • Cukes by 1st grade
  • Greens, garlic, carrots and radishes by 3rd and 4th
  • Beans and peas by 2nd
  • So much hard work and so many smiles!


A final treat for this issue – check out these living willow play structures from Lakeview’s Playground!

Issue #11: Early May 2018

Hazen Service Week

1200 hours. This, incredibly, is the amount of community service recently performed by Hazen High School students in just one week. As seventh through ninth graders dug in to a week of standardized testing, the rest of the student body dug, raked, painted, and pruned their way through four days of volunteer work at area farms, business, and organizations. In our visits to many of the work sites, we spoke to hosts who were thrilled by the positive energy and productivity of the student workers. We saw students smiling and laughing and problem solving together, sometimes accomplishing tasks that the host hadn’t assumed possible. We heard students excited about employment opportunities that arose from their service work, and we heard teachers inspired to pursue new collaborations and curricular connections with community partners.  

Connective tissue between classrooms and community members is a key ingredient to the vitality of our school system and our community as a whole. It is wonderful to witness these relationships being joyfully exercised and growing stronger.

Thank you to all those who helped make the first annual Hazen Service Week possible, including students, teachers, school staff, and the community partners recognized below.

Work project hosts this year included:

  • Hardwick Town House
  • Hardwick Area Food Pantry
  • VT Natural Coatings
  • Center for an Agricultural Economy/Atkins Field
  • Hardwick Trails Association
  • Craftsbury Community Care Center
  • Greensboro Nursing Home
  • Highland Lodge
  • East View Farm
  • Hosmer Point
  • Harvest Hill Farm
  • Agape Hill Farm
  • Heartbeet Lifesharing
  • Hardwick Elementary School
  • Brown’s Beautiful Blueberries

Snack donations provided by:

  • Pete’s Greens
  • Jasper Hill
  • Sterling College

Wellness activity provided by:

  • Craftsbury Outdoor Center Rowing Team

Greenhouse Project
New life is being breathed into the Hazen Greenhouse! So many hands and heads have come together to transform this space and return it to a living part of the school community. While Hazen students cleaned, weeded and prepped the space (before and after pics below), Hardwick Elementary students started pumpkin seeds in their classroom which they will transplant to the greenhouse on May 22nd. Over the summer, a new extended year services program will be based at Hazen and will help out with summer care of the greenhouse crops, which will include basil, tomatoes, flowers and melons as well as enough pumpkins for the annual Pumpkin Walk.



Dairy in the Classroom at Woodbury

Woodbury School K-2 students are participating in the New England Dairy & Food Council’s Dairy in the Classroom program for the next five weeks. On the first day, visiting educator Virginia Holiman led them through games, stories, costumes and songs to learn about farming and milk production. Homemade butter was the culminating (and very delicious!) activity.  


For those wishing to know more, here is a synopsis of the program from NEDFC’s website:  Dairy in the Classroom is a program offered to PK-3rd grade teachers in Vermont schools and funded by Vermont Dairy farmers. The program was designed by Virginia Holiman to increase students’ appreciation and knowledge of dairy farming, dairy products and healthy eating.


  • Five 75 minute classroom visits from a Dairy in the Classroom educator
  • Variety of fun hands-on activities related to cows, dairy farming, and the production of dairy products
  • Field trip to a cow-based dairy farm
  • Grant funding of $200 per classroom to cover field trip expenses


Spring in the Garden at Wolcott Elementary

Spring Fling day at Wolcott Elementary was sunny and beautiful. All of the students took some time to reconnect with the garden and check on how the new orchard survived the winter. Discoveries included: DELICIOUS spinach and other greens that weathered the deep freeze inside the low tunnel, lots of deer activity, daffodils popping up around the new apple trees where students had planted bulbs in the fall, and garlic shoots rising greenly up through their cozy covering of straw.

An all school garden work day is planned for May 30th and will include a project to add a raspberry patch! The raspberry plants are being donated by nearby Bear Swamp Farm where a group of students will travel to dig up the transplants and bring them back to school.

Issue #10: April 2018

  • 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!