Vermont Food Education Every Day (FEED) is a farm-to-school program run as a partnership of three Vermont nonprofit organizations: Food Works at Two Rivers Center, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and Shelburne Farms.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont has long been an active supporter of Vermont FEED and its initiatives. In 2012, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont's Vermont Caring Foundation partnered with Vermont FEED to focus on obesity and promoting nutrition education while also emphasizing the importance of local, community connections.
Founded in 2000, Vermont FEED has worked with more than one third of schools in Vermont to create farm-to-school programs. Vermont FEED works with schools and communities to raise awareness about healthy food, the role of Vermont farms, farmers and good nutrition. They act as a catalyst by building healthy food systems, and cultivating links between the classrooms, cafeterias, communities and local farms.
Over the past 30 years, the prevalence of obesity has increased from 6.5 percent to 17 percent for children aged 6 to 11 years and 5 percent to 17 percent for those aged 12 to 19 years, reports the University of Vermont’s Food System Research Collaborative.
Vermont FEED works with directly with communities, at every stage, providing regional trainings and technical support to build capacity. Specifically Vermont FEED provides:
- farm-to-school community action planning
- curriculum development consultations
- food service training and consultation
- an introductory overview for schools looking to learn more about the Farm to School movement and available resources, best practices and networking opportunities for starting a farm-to-school model.
Farm-to-school programs unite schools nationwide with local farms and allow for children to access healthy food. Their mission serves to improve student nutrition while simultaneously providing educational opportunities. Programs incorporate hands-on activities such as planting school gardens, cooking demonstrations and farm tours. Programs also address waste management programs such as composting.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and The Vermont Caring Foundation are pleased to partner with an important organization such as Vermont FEED. If you’re looking to promote change in your community, ask your local school whether they are already involved in farm-to-school work. You can also visit Vermont Feed’s website at www.vtfeed.org
and view their map of Vermont communities to see what’s happening in your area.