Vermont School Garden

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


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Harley and the girls--shepherds pieMeet our new Westminster Schools chef, Harley Sterling. He is dedicated to maximizing our use of local farm raised products. Harley is truly a culinary gift to our schools and to the local Head Start program; AND he  welcomes student participation! Here he is explaining to a group of fourth graders how root vegetables become sweeter after they’ve been exposed to frost. (Hint: We also have a science lesson going on here.) These same students washed and peeled enough carrots, rutabagas and parsnips for the top layer of the featured Shepherd’s Pie lunch. Ingredients for the lunch menu (including the beef) are locally sourced whenever possible.

Today we celebrated that effort by honoring the Harlow family guys at lunch. Farmer Evan Harlow a former student here, spoke to the lunchroom students about the importance of keeping food sources local as a way for our community to stay strong and vital. Evan and his father, Paul work closely with Harley to help create tasty innovative meals that kids will eat. Teo Harlow is a Kindergartener at our school.

Three generations of Harlows

Our featured veggies this month were carrots. Accompanying the shepherd’s pie was a yummy carrot ginger soup. The soup was sweetened with maple syrup from Perry Family Mapleworks of Westminster! (We are leaving processed sugar behind as of this month in favor of our local Perry family syrup.) Every student was given a soup sample to try. Fourth grade girls took notes on student responses. In general they found out that most students gave the soup a ‘thumbs up’ or would try it again. It was wonderful to watch how much the girls’  confidence grew with each new  interview.

eating carrot ginger sop  Carrot soup Taste test

trimmed carrots






Author: vermontschoolgarden

I have been an elementary teacher at the Westminster Center School for 30 years. For most of those years, I maintained a garden as part of my teaching curriculum resource. Now I am the Garden Coordinator for all of the Westminster Center School classrooms.

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