A year-long professional learning opportunity for Northeast school, district, and early childhood teams.
Since 2010, the Northeast Farm to School Institute has been bringing teams together to build relationships, skills, and a collaborative action plan for their schools. With the support of a coach, teams spend the school year putting their plans into action and strengthening their capacity to impact classrooms, cafeterias, and communities, with change that lasts. Join us to cultivate vibrant communities, just food systems, and healthy kids.
How to Apply
Applications for the 2023–24 program are now closed. Applications for the 2024-25 program will open in January 2024.
This opportunity is provided by Vermont FEED and funded at least in part with Federal funds from the US Department of Agriculture.
See the Program in Action
The Northeast Farm to School Institute offers a professional learning experience for school and early childhood teams that goes beyond learning the basics of farm to school. Our focus is helping teams build the relationships, skills, and connections you need to implement robust farm to school programs that align with your school’s priorities. You’ll walk away with more than just an action plan for farm to school.
- Forge strong cross-departmental relationships that enable classroom teachers, administrators, and child nutrition staff to build shared leadership and capacity for the long haul.
- Cultivate foundational skills that reinforce the basics of the 3Cs—cafeteria, classroom, and community connections—which facilitates an integrated, schoolwide farm to school program and culture.
- Build valuable connections with experienced practitioners, other teams, and like-minded community partners who can provide support, resources, and inspiration.
Building a Team
Schools, districts, and early childhood programs must apply as a team. We encourage and seek diverse teams that contain members of different racial and gender identities, experience levels, and program roles. Identify your farm to school team of 4–7 participants comprising a diverse set of stakeholders:
Teams must be composed of 4–6 individuals representing various constituencies in the school and community. Teams must have representation from the three following roles: administration, teachers, school nutrition/food service. Additional members can include: family members, farmers, community partners, school nurse and other staff, school board, etc.
Teams must be composed of 5–7 individuals representing various constituencies in the school and community. Teams must have: district-level administration, teachers, and school nutrition/food service. Additional team members can include: family members, farmers, community partners, school nurse and other staff, school board, etc. In your application, please identify one or two particular schools in your district to focus on implementing your farm to school action plan that can serve as an example for other schools within the district. We have found this to be the most successful way to guide district teams through the planning process.
As a team, participants develop a values-based, school-wide farm to school action plan that integrates curriculum, local procurement, youth voice, and family and community connections. Every team is paired with an experienced coach from their state’s farm to school or early childhood network. You’ll meet with this coach throughout the school year to assist you in implementing and adapting your action plan to meet the changing needs of your school.
Join us in supporting youth in connecting the dots of where their food comes from and how their food choices impact their bodies, the environment, and their communities at large.
This is a year-long program kicking off with an in-person summer retreat. Teams will implement their action plans during the following school year with the support of a coach.
- Spring: Accepted teams attend virtual team orientation to prepare for the exciting work ahead!
- Summer: Attend a three-day summer kickoff retreat at Shelburne Farms to dive into action planning, network with peers around the region, and explore farm to school possibilities.
- Fall–winter: Meet regularly throughout the school year with your coach to implement your action plan. Individuals will participate in affinity groups organized by roles and attend virtual workshops. Participants support program growth and improvement through data collection, evaluation, and storytelling.
- Spring: Prepare a year-two action plan with the support of your coach, and regroup with your cohort to share your progress and reflections in a year-end virtual gathering.
Meet the Core Instructors
Jen Cirillo, Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools Director of Professional Learning
Courtney Mulcahy, Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools EFS Professional Learning Facilitator & Educator, School Programs Coordinator
Kayla Strom, NOFA-VT Farm to School Coordinator
Lauren Griswold, NOFA-VT Farm to School & Food Access Programs Director
The Northeast Farm to School Institute is a program of Vermont FEED, a partnership project of Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools and NOFA-VT. Together, we share over forty years of experience in farm to school, supporting teachers, school nutrition staff, early childhood providers, farmers, administrators, students, and community-based organizations.