Vermont FEED Level I Professional Learning Course: Cultivating Farm to School

Course Number: EDU 5515 C26
Instructor: Ryan Morra
Location:  Mount Anthony Union Middle School, Sustainability Classroom, Bennington, Vermont
Dates and Times: 6 class sessions, Tuesdays from 4 pm - 7 pm, October 10, October 17, October 24, November 7, November 14 with back up days on November 21 or 28
Maximum Enrollment: 25 participants
Credits: 1 credit
Tuition: $500 with credit

Note: Please register directly with Shelburne Farms. If you wish to take the course for credit, please notify Shelburne Farms, who will give you the link to Castleton's online registration form. Thank you.

Course Description

The VT FEED Level I Professional Learning Course: Cultivating Farm to School is an opportunity for school educators, staff, administrators, and community members to explore and expand their personal and professional knowledge and experience related to Farm to School education while building and strengthening school community connections. Participants will be encouraged to build and develop shared learning experiences for their students while building and developing the vital relationships necessary to make Farm to School education a real and lasting part of their community, classroom, and cafeteria.

Course Objectives

Class Outline:

Interactive class sessions will include a balance of hands-on cooking, individual work time, networking, guest presentations, dialogue, small group activities and practical experiences that will serve to deepen participant understanding of the various elements and promising practices of farm-to-school programs.

Participants attending this course will:

● Build connections between classroom, cafeteria, and community while exploring healthy food choices, new foods, and local seasonal produce.
● Understand how farm to school can be an integrative context for learning and foster healthy school communities.
● Develop strategies for utilizing parents and local food-based businesses in working with youth to expand their palates.
● Identify curriculum connections for your specific subject area.
(Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards)
● Create an action plan for how you might integrate farm to school into your existing curriculum/school community.

During each of the six 3-hour classes we will:

● Spend time preparing and eating healthy seasonal snacks and meals.
● Hear from guest speakers about farm to school topics related to the community, classroom, and cafeteria.
● Explore creative ways to integrate seasonal, local foods into your lives, curriculum, and school community.
● Collaborate with each other around curriculum planning & farm to school program development.

Proposed course schedule (class themes subject to change based on presenter availability and participant needs)

Class Themes
Class 1

Introduction to 3Cs of Farm to School
- Community: Hunger/Food Security and Community Partnerships
- Classroom: Educational Value of Farm to School
- Cafeteria: School Nutrition Program 101

Class 2
School & Community Gardens as a Place of Learning
- Hands-on classroom activities: soil, compost, seeds, sprouting, water, mulching.
- Garden-based education & activities
- School community garden events, summer care, and tools for program sustainability.

Class 3

School Nutrition 201 and Taste Testing
- History of school food programs
- Commodity (USDA Foods) and distribution
- Local food purchasing and values-based tiered buying
- Integrating Harvest of the Month into snacks and lessons
- Taste tests & FFVP snack program

Class 4
Curriculum Connections
- Exploring K-12 curriculum ideas, UbD design-techniques & tools for integrating farm field trips, food, nutrition, cooking and taste tests into your classroom.
- Designing food, farming, and nutrition lessons & units in alignment with NGSS and Common Core State Standards

Class 5
Farm to School Action Planning
- Action Planning tools to grow FTS Program
- Assessment tools

Class 6
Celebrating Local Foods and Growing School Communities!
- Sharing Action Plans for Peer-to-Peer Feedback
- Preparation of a local meal together
- Assessment & evaluation

Course Expectations

*This is a graduate and undergraduate level course and participants may choose to receive one graduate or undergraduate credit through Castleton University. If you do not wish to take the class for credit, that’s fine - all are welcome!

Class Participation
100% class participation is expected for all participants. It is expected that those signed up will attend and actively participate in all class activities.

If you are signed up for credit, you must attend 5 out 6 classes in order to receive a passing grade. If you are taking the class for credit and cannot attend a class, please inform instructors to create a plan to make up for the absence. Extenuating circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Assessment & Evaluation:
● All participants will be required to complete a pre-assessment/survey online via Survey Monkey before the class begins.
● Participants will be required to complete brief end-of-class evaluations after each class session.
● Participants will be asked to reflect and report upon readings and present assignments and research.
● Participants may be asked to submit a written reflection on how their learning will be utilized in their future work.
● Additional evaluations of the course will be verbal and written.

For additional course and registration information

Ryan Morra, MS
(802) 985-0343

Register online now!