Ready, set, chop! On Saturday, March 21, 65 middle and high school teams will compete in the state’s eighth annual Junior Iron Chef VT. This local foods cooking challenge empowers youth to connect with where food comes from, healthy eating, and from-scratch cooking. Since its founding, the competition has more than doubled the number of participants with teams coming from every corner of the state. This year’s Jr Iron Chef VT is particularly timely. Since last year’s competition, First Lady Michelle Obama and the White House administration began conversations about how to introduce basic culinary skills in schools as a way to promote healthier eating. Yesterday, U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) introduced the bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015 to increase federal resources committed to bringing fresh, local foods to schools nationwide.
Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED) is pleased to announce that a $100,000 grant received through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Program will support its efforts to better connect school cafeterias and students with local farmers and healthy eating.
Shelburne Farms will host its Annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 20, a day-long family-friendly event honoring Vermont’s farm and forestry traditions through connection with food, agriculture, and community. Over 7,000 people are expected to attend to enjoy Vermont foods, farm-based education and other educational exhibits, craft demonstrations, and performing arts. The event will take place at Shelburne Farms’ historic Farm Barn courtyard and surrounding pastures. With new local food and music festivals popping up around the country, Shelburne Farms’ Harvest Festival is unique with its deep roots – celebrating its 36th year – and use of the farm as an educational campus to bring the public closer to food and where it comes from. The event reflects and supports Vermont’s commitment to preserving the working landscape, serving the nutritional needs of the population, and strengthening the agricultural community.
On Saturday, March 22, over 270 middle and high school students will compete in the state’s seventh annual Junior Iron Chef competition. This year, organizers are taking the program to new heights. In 2008, Vermont Food Education Every Day (a partnership of NOFA-VT and Shelburne Farms) and the Burlington School Food Project founded one of the first youth culinary competitions to focus on local food and school meals. Guided by coaches – local chefs, food service directors, and teachers, student teams create original recipes that incorporate at least give local vegetables and follow USDA school meal standards. This year, teams have the added challenge of sourcing all their ingredients themselves. With these rigorous guidelines, youth contestants work through real-life challenges similar to those food service face creating healthy, nutritious meals for schools.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Vermont Agency of Agriculture (VAAFM) as the recipient of an $88,500 matching grant under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), one of the largest awards for the highly competitive 2013 program. VAAFM, in collaboration with Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing (VDTM), University of Vermont Extension, Shelburne Farms, and Vermont Agricultural and Culinary Tourism Council (VT-ACT), will utilize this funding to amplify the economic impacts and mitigate risks of agricultural and culinary tourism for Vermont farms.
The historic barns, hillsides dotted with cows, and steaming sugar houses of Vermont’s working landscape have been iconic images of the state for many years. Increasingly, visitors want to do more than drive by these pastoral images. They want to roll up their sleeves, milk a cow, dig potatoes, and learn more about the food system with all five senses. On October 22 and 23, the Farm-Based Education Network and Vermont Farms! Association are collaborating with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Shelburne Farms, and University of Vermont Extension to offer the Farm-Based Education Forum: Agritourism, Education and Economics on Your Farm.
Shelburne, VT, September 30, 2013 — October 4 - October 20 Shelburne Farms will host Of Land & Local, a Burlington City Arts (BCA) and Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing multidisciplinary exhibition designed to initiate a dialogue about the Vermont landscape. Vermonters’ shared history in land and pride for local lay the groundwork for this exhibition, featuring works from international and Vermont-based artists. Shelburne Farms is the largest of seven statewide Of Land & Local exhibition sites.
Shelburne Farms holds its 35th Annual Harvest Festival on Saturday September 21, a day-long celebration honoring Vermont’s farm and forestry traditions through connection with food, agriculture, and community. Over 7,000 people are expected to enjoy music, dance, storytelling, farm-based education, traditional craft demonstrations, and Vermont agriculture educational exhibits at Shelburne Farm’s Farm Barn courtyard and its surrounding pastures.
On Wednesday, September 11, farmer, professor, and author Philip Ackerman-Leist will lead a discussion on how just and resilient community-based foodsheds can return democracy to the table. In Rebuilding the Foodshed, Ackerman-Leist re-envisions how local food systems can transform how we eat, shop, grow, connect, and plan for the future.
Vermont FEED, Vermont Agency of Education, and School Nutrition Association of Vermont will celebrate the release of a new cookbook of national significance - New School Cuisine: Nutritious and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks. The cookbook, developed by Vermont school nutrition professionals with support from the New England Culinary Institute, includes kid-tested and approved recipes that meet new USDA dietary guidelines and feature local, seasonal foods. The announcement will take place during the weeklong Childhood Summer Nutrition Institute where school nutrition professionals receive ongoing training and professional development.
As Lynn Miller of the Small Farmer’s Journal described in the New York Times, an estimated 400,000 operations in North America use draft horses in some capacity. According to the Green Mountain Draft Horse Association, over one hundred farms in Vermont use animal power. A draft horse renaissance is taking root as people become increasingly interested in sustainable agriculture, renewable forms of energy, traditional farm equipment and practices, and greater connection with the land.
The Vermont Traditional Foods and Health Symposium will be held Thursday June 13 - Saturday June 15 at the Main Street Landing Film House in Burlington, VT and at the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, VT.Presentations, food learning stations, exhibitor booths, and a film screening will explore how traditional – or non-industrial – foods and healthy diets can contribute to wellness and longevity.
Shelburne Farms has been recognized as a 2013 “Editors’ Choice” winner for “Best Hands-On Farm Programs” in Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide to New England, on newsstands now. This designation is awarded by Yankee’s editors and contributors, who name select restaurants, lodgings, and attractions in New England to the exclusive list.