On a beautiful October night, the BFA Fairfax Farm to School Club was proud to host its first Harvest Supper.
The dinner hosted 200 guests and brought together families and community partners to celebrate the start of autumn, and showcase local products, much of it provided by the BFA Fairfax school garden.
The Farm to School Club coordinated this entire event from menu planning and cooking, public relations, ticket sales, event logistics and entertainment. This was the culmination of two years of work by our students and staff to create a PreK-12 Farm to School program in our school.
In the fall of 2015, a small group of interested volunteers including a school nurse, a parent, a high school student, the chef from the Abbey Group, and a principal attended a Farm To School seminar in Middlebury, where we began formulating a plan to bring Farm to School to Fairfax.
Upon our return, several high school students began meeting with Fred Griffin to develop a Farm to School Club and began researching and developing a plan to create a farm behind the elementary school building. The students learned about the University of Vermont Design process, and with support from Jane Sorenson, wrote a step by step Master Plan.
Fast-forward to the fall of 2017 and our Farm to School program is thriving. Students are maintaining a 4000 square foot production garden that provides fresh produce every day to the cafeteria for consumption by our students and staff. We have built a greenhouse, a toolshed and installed water and power to support our work. Students have expanded the size of our farm by plowing and cover-cropping plots for each grade level, designed and built a bridge to access a drainage ditch, planted apple trees, a blueberry and raspberry nursery, and developed a composting area. Our students’ success through Farm to School was recognized in February of 2017 when Shannon Mahoney and Caitlin Allan spoke to other Farm to School programs, state representatives, and the Governor about our journey and the impact on our school community.
We are really proud of how this program has resonated with students, staff, and community members. The Harvest Supper marked the beginning of a new tradition that will bring our community together to enjoy a wonderful meal, allow community members to engage with each other, and provide an authentic audience for our students to showcase their work and learning through their participation in the Farm to School program.