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Food Connects Welcomes Farm to School Coach



Contact: Laura Carbonneau

Marketing Manager, Food Connects




Food Connects Welcomes Farm to School Coach


[BRATTLEBORO, VT] Food Connects is excited to welcome Jenny Kessler to their team as their newest Farm to School Coach. Jenny will work with schools in the Windham Central Supervisory Union (WCUS) and Windham Northeast Supervisory Union (WNESU).


Jenny joined the Food Connects team in mid-October and comes to the team with 13 years of education experience in NYC schools. Her experience integrating Farm to School (FTS) activities into her curriculum will provide invaluable expertise for the teachers she works with. And her passion for Farm to School is infectious. “Farm to School can allow students the time and space to dive deeper into the complex questions of where food comes from, why we eat the things we do, and who benefits from these choices,” says Jenny. “But equally important, it allows students time to work with their hands, be outside, use real tools, be exposed to new foods, and have a voice in what they grow and how they feed themselves. I believe these to be essential learning experiences that sometimes get overlooked in the traditional American classroom.” 


Jenny’s previous experience will prove to be a great asset to the Farm to School team. Her role as an educator has provided her with a solid perspective on how difficult it is to implement Farm to School activities while managing a classroom. “I’m also very familiar with how incredibly difficult it can be to integrate anything new or 'extra' into the teaching day. Teachers, administrators, and Food Service Professionals need support and encouragement, and time!  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to figure out creative ways for them to practice FTS that make their lives feel easier, rather than more difficult.”


The Food Connects Farm to School program focuses on the three C’s of Farm to School—classrooms, cafeterias, and communities. From Farm to School coaching for educators and cafeterias support, to school gardens and classroom sprouting kits, Food Connects works to meet schools where they are at and provide support to burgeoning to flourishing Farm to School programs. “My hope is to support school staff, food service directors, and administrators in doing the work they’ve begun, to celebrate that work, and to make it easier for them to do more,” says Jenny. “I’d love to continue to build on the sharing and networking that Food Connects has already started—making it easier for our Garden Coordinators, administrators, and food service directors to connect with and learn from each other.”


The Farm to School team’s vision is to create lifelong healthy eating habits in students and engage them in learning about the natural world around them—including knowing where their food comes from. “In my previous teaching career, I was able to see the direct impact of FTS activities,” says Jenny. “I’ve had high school students who had never tasted a raspberry, 4th grade students who were amazed the first time they tasted real maple syrup, and watched many of my students who were least engaged in the classroom become leaders and role models during FTS activities.” Farm to School has the power to change lives.


And the Food Connects team is grateful to have Jenny’s experience to nurture the program’s growth. “Jenny’s 13 years as an educator and Farm to School champion in New York is an incredible asset to our program,” says Food Connects’s fellow Farm to School Coach Sheila Humphreys. “Jenny brings a depth of understanding and compassion to her work that can only be achieved through lived experience. We are so pleased to have Jenny on board as our newest coach, working to enrich Farm to School programming in WCSU and WNESU!”


Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems. The Food Hub aggregates and delivers from over 115 local farms and food producers to over 225 buyers in southeast Vermont, southwest New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. Their educational services focus on Farm to School programming. Acknowledged as a statewide leader, the program supports over 30 schools to increase local food purchasing, school meal participation, and food, farm, and nutrition education. Together these core programs contribute to a vibrant local economy by increasing local food purchases by schools and improving students’ nutrition and academic performance. Additionally, Food Connects is frequently hired to provide leadership and consulting services for efforts aimed at transforming local food systems in the New England region.