Burlington School Food Project

The Burlington School Food Project integrates the management of school gardens and food education with the district’s food service department. Our growing farm to school team manages a half-acre farm at Hunt Middle School, the high school gardens, a greenhouse and an orchard at Smith Elementary. We believe that hands-on education is critical to a student’s acceptance of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. In the spring of 2014 we will launch our very own food truck and culinary job training program for high school students. This project will focus on students growing, harvesting, cooking and selling farm fresh meals while learning to run a small business. 

On the food service end of things we offer healthy, wholesome, and delicious meals to 4,000 students in the Burlington School District daily. More than one-third of our food purchases are direct from area producers and farms including chicken, dairy, grass-fed beef, vegetables, and apples.

Through local purchasing and the cultivation of a new school food culture for students, the Burlington School Food Project contributes to a robust local economy and vibrant farming community.

City/Town: 
Burlington  Vermont
United States
County: 
Chittenden
Grade: 
Elementary School
Middle School
High School
# of Students: 
4,000
Public/Private: 
Public
Project History: 
In 2003, farm to school activities formally started in Burlington with a 3-year USDA Community Food Projects Grant entitled “Growing Farms, Growing Minds: the Burlington School Food Project.” This initial funding brought the school district, community non-profits, and families together to evaluate current programming, visualize next steps, and implement educational programming. This became the groundwork for the Burlington School Food Project. Non-profit partners have gathered bi-monthly since 2003 to strategize, synchronize work plans, and engage in big picture thinking. In 2006, the district hired the first Farm to School Coordinator based with food service in the country to source and encourage the use of locally grown foods. In 2010, the Burlington School District was asked by the USDA to serve as a national Farm-to-School model.
Classroom Activities: 
Food-based classes
Cooking in the classroom
Wellness training
Cafeteria Activities: 
Project tabling
Local food tastings
Local vendor promotions
Community Activities: 
Lunch for Dinner (various schools)
Hunt Middle School's Harvest Dinner
Jr. Iron Chef Vermont
Which Farms and/or Community Partners do you work with?: 
Lewis Creek Farm
Norris Berry Farm
Lalumiere Farm
Arethusa Farm
Diggers' Mirth
Champlain Orchards
Misty Knoll (Chicken)
Shelburne Farms
Intervale Community Farm
Vermont Bean Crafters
Vermont Community Garden Network
City Market
Partnership for Change
Rockpoint School
Do you have a school garden?: 
Yes
If yes, does the garden provide produce for the school cafeteria?: 
Yes
Vermont FTS grants received: 

Farm to School Contact

Contact Name: 
Sarah Heusner
Title: 
Farm to School Coordinator
Phone: 
802-540-0291
Students working in the Healthy City Youth Farm
Harvesting the bounty
Burlington students making farm fresh foods