Food Connects is excited to welcome Sadie Hunter to its team as the new Farm to School (FTS) Program Manager. Sadie will lead the Farm to School team into a new phase of growth while supporting schools across Windham County. She also serves on the Food Connects Leadership Team, ensuring the sustainability and longevity of the organization as a whole.
Sadie joined the Food Connects team in early November. She came to the team with various experiences developing robust and engaging programs and directly teaching youth in her community back in Maryland. Sadie has a strong passion for farm-based education and Farm to School work and sees the direct impact of FTS education on students. “In my experience,” says Sadie, “learning about food systems is very intuitive for children, and I think that this kind of learning really empowers kids to continue asking questions and learning about the world around them.“
In her new role, Sadie will directly oversee the future and growth of the Farm to School program. From traditional classroom settings and afterschool programs to garden-based STEM curriculum and farming, Sadie’s experiences provide her with a unique perspective that will be critical when Food Connects seeks to strengthen its community relationships. And Food Connects is excited to see her vision and where those relationships will take the program. “I would love to see our Farm to School program continue to expand—I see opportunities for us to provide support in Bennington, VT and the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire,” says Sadie. “The more kids who get the opportunity to play in the dirt (and learn about and grow food in the process) at school, the better! I am also passionate about supporting BIPOC farmers and educators and I am really looking forward to seeing what new ways we can continue to incorporate considerations of equity and food justice into our daily work.”
Sadie’s interests aren’t limited to Food Connects’s Farm to School work. The organization’s mission is to create Healthy Families, Thriving Farms, and Connected communities. Sadie is keenly aware of how important it is that all community members have access to and the ability to participate in our local food system. “It is becoming more and more important for us to get serious about consuming locally grown, ideally in season, foods as we continue to see the impacts of climate change,” says Sadie. “It is not only better for the environment for us to eat local, but it also creates stronger local economies and allows people to be more invested in the places in which they live. Additionally, it is important to acknowledge that many people and communities are often left out of this narrative. I believe that making local food movements more financially, physically, and culturally accessible for everyone is a crucial step in addressing inequity in our food system and in our country overall.”
And the Food Connects team is grateful to have Sadie’s vision and determination to create a more robust and inclusive Farm to School program. “Sadie brings a natural curiosity and thoughtfulness to her work that I appreciate very much,” says Sheila Humphreys, longtime Food Connects Farm to School Coach. “She offers a fresh perspective and is both willing to take risks and lead our team in new directions while also willing to be humble and ask for help as she learns her new position. She is a wonderful addition to our team, and I am delighted to work with her!”
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.