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VT SCHOOLS BOOST LOCAL FOOD SALES WITH “HARVEST OF THE MONTH”

http://vermontharvestofthemonth.org/

NEWS RELEASE
November 19, 2014

CONTACT:
Katherine Sims, Executive Director
Green Mountain Farm-to-School
802-334-2044, ksims@gmfts.org

 

VT SCHOOLS BOOST LOCAL FOOD SALES WITH
 “HARVEST OF THE MONTH”

Participation in the free Harvest of the Month (HOM) project is way up for Vermont schools this year and organizers report it’s having an impact on sales of local farm products.

HOM offers beautiful and informative materials to help promote the use of local, seasonal foods. Original illustrated posters, recipes, and curricula materials about the featured items are supplemented by tips on how to incorporate the produce into school meal sites and community celebrations. Over half of Vermont’s schools are now in the network, with more joining every week.

This is only the second year HOM is offered statewide after being developed by Food Connects in Brattleboro, Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) in Newport, and Vital Communities in White River Junction. Support from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Food and Farm Initiative, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. and the Harris and Frances Block Foundation remains instrumental in the expansion.

“Our goal is to have every school using these tools to connect the 3 ‘C’s of community, classroom, and cafeteria,” said Katherine Sims, GMFTS Executive Director.

More than 40,000 students participate in Harvest of the Month activities which include hands-on food preparation, taste tests, farm visits, and classroom lessons. Two of the major food service management companies in Vermont—Café Services and The Abbey Group—are committed to the program in every school they serve.

HOM’s increasing success is driving sales for local producers. According to the latest figures from the Green Mountain Farm Direct food hub, sales of these featured foods have increased 113% over the same period a year ago.

The Community Foundation’s new Food and Farm Initiative is supporting work at the intersection of local agriculture and food security to ensure that all Vermonters have the opportunity to eat healthy, local food. “By expanding Harvest of the Month we are strengthening the connections between our local farmers and their communities,” said Janet McLaughlin, special projects director at the Foundation.

Schools can join the network at VermontHarvestoftheMonth.org or call GMFTS at 802-334-2044 to learn more. To find out if a school is already in the HOM network, check the latest map at VermontHarvestoftheMonth.org/pledgers.html or send an inquiry to hom@gmfts.org.

November’s Harvest of the Month is kale. This cold weather plant can tolerate snow and is perfect for soups, salads, and the increasingly popular chips. December’s will be the many varieties of winter squash. 

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