Growing Knowledge

Cat never seems to stop moving! Earlier this month she attended and presented at both the 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Burlington and the Summer Institute in Barre within about a week of each other. She came back inspired and particularly excited about Cedar Circle’s connection to DHMC and the discovery that adults seem to enjoy garden games as much as kids! The picture above was taken at Thetford Elementary School’s garden where Cat has been teaching kids to grow their own food for many years. ~Laura

The 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference which took place in Burlington, Vermont in early August was a very impressive and inspiring event. With representation from all 50 states and Canada, including ambassadors from schools, hospitals, mental facilities, assisted living and care facilities, colleges, and preschools, food producers, chefs, and farms, a broad range of perspectives were offered. Even Bernie Sanders came to give an inspiring speech in the opening plenary. He expressed how proud he was to able to support our on-the-ground work to change the food system in this country.

I attended this 4 day conference and presented on Cedar Circle Farm’s recent work with Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. As a part of DHMC’s Live Well Work Well program, inspired by the hospitals’ commitment to having ‘the healthiest population possible’ and the Healthy Food in Health Care initiative started by Healthcare Without Harm, Cedar Circle has been delivering weekly CSA’s to DHMC employees and has been participating in their Fresh Veggie Fridays farmers’ market held outside the Norris Cotton Cancer Center every Friday. We are hopeful for the future!

The Summer Institute in Barre, VT is an annual 5 day conference designed to help school food service workers throughout the state learn new skills, hone old ones, and incorporate farm to school, school gardens, and this year, the new standards that are being imposed to improve the nutrition content of school lunches. It’s an opportunity to learn from each other, from educators and administrators, farmers, and farm educators like me. I co-hosted an all day workshop with Katherine Simms who runs the Green Mountain Farm To School Program in the Northeast Kingdom. Our workshop, From Seed To Lunch Line, was broken in to three topics: School Gardening; Garden Taste Tests; and Garden Nutrition. We shared garden stories and successes, did some cooking, and played all kinds of agriculturally-based, thought provoking games including many that I regularly uses to engage students in the Thetford School Garden and on farm field trips.

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