Harvest of the Month
As blueberry season ends and the first of the storage potatoes and onions make their way into the farmstand, many families are making the shift from summer to back-to-school mode. Returning Thetford Elementary School students were greeted with a rainbow of sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias in the school garden. The carrots, beets, kale, potatoes, and tomatoes that the students planted last fall are almost ready to harvest. And students will soon be returning to the farm on field trips to pick pumpkins and help harvest the potatoes that they planted here last spring.
Over the past seven years, Cedar Circle Farm and Thetford Elementary School have worked together to build a farm-to-school program called the “Food Loop” from the ground up, engaging every student from grades K-5 in the growing, harvesting, cooking and composting food at the school. Creating a successful farm-to-school program was no easy feat, however, and until recently, there have been few tools and resources available to help make it happen.
Fortunately, our friends at Green Mountain Farm to School, Food Connects, and Vital Communities now have some exciting educational tools to share. With guidance from educators across the state, these three organizations formed the Harvest of the Month program to support educators and community members seeking to strengthen or kick-start their farm-to-school program.
Harvest of the Month provides ready-to-go materials for the classroom, cafeteria, and community to promote the use of local, seasonal foods. Their newly launched website highlights a new vegetable each month with flyers and guides that you can download and print to use in the classroom and cafeteria. By signing their online pledge and committing to supporting local foods, pledgers receive a beautiful “Harvest of the Month” poster in the mail each month and join the hundreds of other schools, markets, organizations, and restaurants who have already signed the pledge.
With the help of these tools, we’re hoping more and more students each year will return to schools with gardens full of fresh vegetables and exciting farm-to-school programs.
To learn more or sign the pledge, visit Vermont Harvest of the Month.