Posted October 11, 2021 at 10:10am by Laura Carbonneau

Celebrating a Farm to School Champion in Dummerston


“Watching children prepare beds, plant seeds, and nurture young plants with their teachers was a highlight of our last academic year together and critically important during a year of unprecedented challenge,” states Julianne Eagan, a first-time principal and new administrator at Dummerston School during the 2019-2020 school year.

In honor of National Farm to School Month, Food Connects is celebrating Julianne Eagan  as a Farm to School (FTS) Champion! Julianne’s efforts have resulted in getting a new Farm to School program launched on a solid foundation at the school and keeping the momentum going despite the challenges of the past two school years. Julianne finds this work energizing, stating, “I have been so inspired by the Dummerston School community’s passion and commitment to expanding our food production at Dummerston School, integrating the garden into our school curriculum, establishing partnerships with local farms, and realizing the potential of our beautiful and sunny rural campus.”

Julianne serves as an active member of the Farm to School committee, participating in monthly committee meetings and prioritizing this important work at the school. Some of the new Farm to School initiatives at Dummerston School that have benefitted from Julianne’s leadership include: 

  • Launching a share table at school (pre-pandemic), which they hope will continue when school meals return to something more normal

  • Starting a school breakfast program

  • Hosting a workshop for all staff on the topic of trauma and nutrition 

  • Planning a move of the school garden to a sunnier, more centrally located space adjacent to the playground so that students can have the option of gardening during recess

  • Planting a small apple orchard on campus last spring with trees donated by Scott Farm

  • Finding creative ways to increase funding and capacity for Farm to School related activities

  • Securing funding to hire a part-time garden coordinator for the school

Julianne says, “I look forward to continuing to work with Food Connects to foster this growth and learning for years to come,” and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Julianne and Dummerston School. Dummerston School and WSESD are very lucky to have you as a leader. Bravo, Julianne! 

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 150 regional farms and food producers to over 150 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. Food Connects is frequently hired to provide leadership and consulting services for efforts to support food systems initiatives throughout New England and act as a catalyst for change.