Vermont School Garden

A visit to a Vermont public school garden through the seasons.


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Giving Thanks for our Community

Crudite turkey chefsThese fifth grade chefs contributed to their school’s Thanksgiving Community Feast.

       This year and every year for  a long time, our school has  invited parents and community members to join them for a celebratory feast just before the November Thanksgiving holidays. Parent volunteers and students set up tables for 500 participants and a full Thanksgiving dinner is served. Parents contribute desserts for the masses. Much of the produce is donated by area farmers. Part of the dinner is prepared by our own kitchen staff. Part is prepped ahead of time by volunteer parents (who set tables in the dark on Sunday night due to a power outage!). Part of the dinner is cooked by our neighboring school, Kurn Hattin Homes. So many people benefit from this amazing gathering of resources.

         This November we also hosted an After School Program dinner for parents and children. Forty family members enjoyed vegetable quiche and kale slaw, followed by applesauce for dessert. The applesauce was made by the children in the After School Program. Apples were donated by Russell Allen of Connecticut Valley Orchards. While students made dessert, their parents participated in a discussion on techniques for getting reluctant eaters to try new foods. Everyone had a great family strategy or story to contribute. We all came away with a few new ideas for getting  children to make healthy food choices. Some ideas: Each child is different in temperament, affecting his or her willingness to take risks. Be patient, but be persistent. Sometimes it take four to sixteen attempts before a child is ready to accept a new food. Some children have sensory issues and don’t for instance enjoy any foods that seem lumpy or crunchy. Often if a child participates in the creation of the dish, it is more likely that s/he will eat it.

Each family brought home a box with recipes and all ingredients for quiche and kale slaw. Many thanks for contributions from Russell Allen and from Westminster Organics at Harlow Farm.

Take a look at some of the happy diners below! The recipes for kale slaw and quiche follow. Just click on them to open. Click on any photo to enlarge.

ASP Nov. dinner @   ASP Nov. Dinner 1ASP Nov. dinner 3

Nov. dinner 4Nov. dinner 5Nov. dinner 6

Nov. dinner 9

KALE SLAW(1)SPINACH QUICHE #2


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Meet Cory Walker, Westminster Farmer

Meet Cory WalkerCory Walker is a young farmer in Westminster. In the short time that he’s been farming here, he’s met with his share of misfortune. Hurricane Irene flooded his fields and he and his family suffered tremendous losses. Cory fits right in with the tenacious farmers in Westminster. One of his fields can be seen right off Route 5 as you’re leaving town. Its unmistakable blend of beautiful flowers and crops is enough to make you veer off the road as you pass by.

Cory and his wife have a little girl, Estella. She’s only two years old, but maybe one day she’ll join the students at Westminster Community Schools. When I asked Cory if he had time to help til our garden for the winter, he simply said, “When do you want me to come by?” This spirit of community service, passed down from generation to generation, is what makes our school garden flourish. What a wonderful real world learning experience for our children. Thank you Cory. You can find Cory’s produce, holiday offerings and flowers at Hope Roots Farm Stand on Sundays from 12 to 3:00 until the end of 2013. Friend him on facebook: Guerrilla Grown Produce.

Younger classes watch tillingCory tilling NovembeOlder classes watch tillingWatching Cory til in November…..