Farm to School Action Planning
In a “typical” year, our summer professional learning for educators begins with the Northeast Farm to School Institute at the Coach Barn. Over a dozen teams from schools, school districts, and early childhood programs spend three days working and learning with Vermont FEED, our Farm to School partnership project with NOFA-VT. The retreat begins a year-long program designed to create robust Farm to School programs with staying power in the schools. Though the Institute looks different this year, this work is more important than ever in supporting local food systems, school-community partnerships, and hands-on learning.
Last month, we launched our first ever *virtual* Northeast Farm to School Institute with 110 participants from schools in New York City to northern Vermont! Each team’s goal: to collaboratively build a Farm to School Action Plan to bring back to their school community and implement over the course of the year. The teams each have the support of a coach, an experienced Farm to School practitioner, who advises the team throughout the year as they navigate change and overcome challenges to grow their Farm to School program.
Action planning conversations allow a school team to integrate Farm to School within larger school priorities, looking at opportunities in the classroom, cafeteria, and community. The process calls for continual reflection on where teams find success or challenges, and adjusting their strategies as they learn along the way. Find more information about Vermont FEED’s action planning process in the newly revised Connecting Classrooms, Cafeterias, Communities: A Guide to Building Integrated Farm to School Programs.