Grant to help school food program expand
The average school meal travels more than 1,500 miles.
No more than a third of Vermont children eat the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
And 26 percent of Vermont children are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.
Those statistics, from Vermont FEED, the state Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, were enough for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recently award $476,000 to one local farm vowing to change what is served in Vermont schools and how students choose to eat.
Shelburne Farms, partner and fiscal agent for Vermont FEED — Food Education Every Day — received the nearly half million dollar grant earlier this month to expand Farm to School programs statewide — providing students with more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis and providing professional development, technical assistance and training for teachers, food service professionals and communities across Vermont, according to information from VT FEED.
The grant, provided with the help of Sen. Patrick Leahy, will also go toward evaluating the effectiveness of Farm to School programs in increasing healthy living habits in schools.
The work will be conducted by PEER Associates with the University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies and Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
VT FEED is a collaborative partnership of nonprofit organizations, charged with initiating school food system change by cultivating links between the classrooms, cafeterias, local farms and communities, according to VT FEED.
For more information on VT FEED and Farm to School programs, visit www.vtfeed.org.
— Staff reports