News from High School Hill: Farm to School
By Emily Hess, MACC Intern
This year the Farm to School program at Peoples Academy came to full fruition, after Jeff Brynn, the director of food service at PA, was able to create a committee dedicated to providing fresh local food to the school’s cafeteria. In May of 2017 Livy Bulger was hired as the official Farm to School coordinator at PA and with the help of a grant from the local United Way chapter, the Farm to School program was born.
The idea originated when Jeff became the Food Service director for LSSU in 2011. When Jeff began, he switched the style of cooking and food preparation from processed and frozen to cooking from fresh ingredients, from scratch. As their work continues and grows, new exciting additions continue to be added. This past summer, they began a garden to provide fall crops to the PA cafeteria, benefitting the students and providing hands-on learning opportunities for . They hope to continue to build on that by expanding the gardens to include one at Morristown Elementary (MES), as well as building greenhouse space to expand production abilities. They’ve also been conducting monthly taste tests in the MES cafeteria to expose students to new or differently cooked foods and build healthy eating habits. As far as the classroom work, Livy has been working with students in all three schools to incorporate more hands-on agriculturally-based learning. As they build the program, they are looking forward to connecting with the larger community, both agriculturally and through service projects.
When it comes to student involvement, the pair has made sure include their opinion and help. “Students were involved right from the beginning with soil tests and garden prep in the spring. They have been involved with baking pies for the local food shelf with Vermont-grown pumpkins, taste testing new foods in the cafeteria, growing sprouts for the cafeteria salad bars and helping to market local food with lunch line signage.”
And when asked about the evolving program and their hopes for the future, Jeff and Livy said, “One hope of Farm to School work is to greater incorporate LSSU into the community. This could look like visiting a local dairy farm for a field trip, helping to plant seeds for the garden, or hosting a local foods dinner during harvest time. Being that we are a new project, we exploring different avenues and ways to get the community involved.”