Program connects young Vermonters with local food.
Great news from Montpelier for Vermont farmers, students, and the state’s thriving rural economy!
On Tuesday, the Vermont legislature passed S.33, a sweeping, ambitious local food and education bill that will create one of the most comprehensive farm-to-school programs in the United States.
“This is fantastic news!” said Ed Fox, Co-op General Manager. “At the Co-op, we celebrate this and congratulate our local farmers on the impact it will have on them.”
Martha Allen, president of Vermont’s largest teacher’s union, Vermont NEA, wrote in a statement Tuesday that the program sets some of the most aggressive farm-to-school goals in the country. “By 2025, the program would have schools purchase at least 50 percent of their food from local or regional food sources,” she wrote.
The bill enhances the scope of Vermont’s existing Rozo McLaughlin Farm-to-School Program, already considered one of the most progressive of its kind. By 2025, 75 percent of Vermont schools will be part of an integrated food-system education initiative, exposing students to opportunities for community-based learning about local foods and the farms they come from.
“This is great for Vermont and great for a farm-rich area like the Upper Valley,” said Amanda Charland, the Co-op’s Director of Outreach and Member Services. “This program is good for everyone: our schools, our students, our farms, and our local, rural economy. It’s a wonderful model for other states to follow in building sustainable local-food systems that connect farmers with future generations.”
Our thanks and congratulations to all the farmers, teachers, parents, legislators, food-service workers, local-food advocates, and farm-to-school activists who worked together to make this possible!