Hot Summer, Big News!

It has been a busy few months at BCS! We love summer, and this one has been full of wonderful stuff so far. Our preschoolers have been trekking to the Intervale to study the pond, we have been checking on the garden, playing in the treehouse, walking around town, and of course.... eating delicious food for lunch!
We had a fantastic family dinner way back in June. Everyone ate curry couscous with raisins and carrots,  a beautiful  salad made with Digger's Mirth greens,  bread and watermelon. It was a beautiful night and a smaller than usual turnout for us, but everyone ate, relaxed, and chatted away for longer than usual.

This past week Sarah and I were lucky to attend the 6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference right here in Burlington! The theme of the conference was Digging In! with a logo designed by Burlington artist (and great friend of gardens and local food) Bonnie Acker.
It was amazing.  With over 800 attendees from around the country representing so many areas of the Farm to School movement, and so many incredible presenters, it was impossible to come away uninspired.

Vermont FEED (food education every day) was the local sponsor for the conference.
From their website:

Vermont FEED works with schools and communities to raise awareness about healthy food, the role of Vermont farms and farmers, and good nutrition.We act as a catalyst for rebuilding healthy food systems and to cultivate links between classrooms, cafeterias, communities, and local farms.

We heard from Anupama Joshi, the Executive Director of the National Farm to School Network, Chuck Ross, the Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, and Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator! We attended workshops on strategies for telling our story to the public, connecting with local partners, and best of all, the growing Farm to Preschool movement! I listened to presenters from the F to P advisory board talk about the activities happening in Farm to Preschool programs and was so excited to find that BCS already incorporates them all. Buying local food whenever possible, building healthy food into curriculum, getting to know our farms and farmers, gardening,  newsletters, sending extra produce home with families.... we do it all! I was also thrilled to meet folks from Portland, Oregon-based Ecotrust.
From the Ecotrust website:

Ecotrust's mission is to inspire fresh thinking that creates economic opportunity, social equity and environmental wellbeing. Our goal is to foster a natural model of development that creates more resilient communities, economies, and ecosystems here and around the world.
Sounds great, right?  What if I told you that they even have a Farm to School initiative? Well they do, and it's headed by two ladies I was thrilled to meet, Stacy Sobell and Katy Pelissier. They spoke at a Farm to Preschool workshop and at a discussion group for folks involved in Early Ed. programs and preschools.  I talked about our program and how proud we are of our family dinners, and Ms. Pelissier asked if she could write about them for the Farm to School website!  We are so excited to be part of the growing wave of Farm to Preschool work across the nation.  

As if that wasn't enough, we've begun picking up donated gleaned produce along with several other local programs from the Intervale Community Farm every Friday for serving and sharing with families. Look for photos of our Friday produce process next week!

Thanks for reading and happy Summer!

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