The recent recall of beef from school cafeterias raised questions about
where schools’ food comes from. School lunch programs rely on federally
subsidized foods that are trucked in from out of state, but schools are
also turning to local farmers to provide more of what they serve. We
examine the challenges of putting more local food in school cafeterias
and how the effort also involves educating students about where their
food comes from.
Also in the program, environmental reporter Candace Page looks beyond
the hand wringing over Lake Champlain. She talks with Jane Lindholm
about the money and political will required to restore the big lake to
And Charlotte Albright reports from the Northeast Kingdom
town of Island Pond where a controversial constable is facing a serious
challenger on March 4. (Listen)
Listener comments on school lunches:
Helen Labun Jordan, Agricultural Development Coordinator for the Vermont Department of Agriculture:
I was glad to hear your program on local foods in schools that aired this afternoon! Kim Norris mentioned the Farm-to-School grants. These are actually through the Agency of Agriculture, although VT-FEED is part of the selection committee, and recipients are not all required to work with FEED. We also try very hard to keep an appropriate separation by disqualifying FEED representatives from scoring grants that include plans to hire their consultants. We recently hired a marketing specialist (Koi Boynton) who is assigned specifically to farm-to-school and revitalizing the Ag in the Classroom program, so it’s great to hear folks excited about the potential for connecting local foods with our schools.
Janet from Sutton:
I think this is a great idea. As far as I know, our school doesn’t participate in this way. I can see a huge benefit all the way around: better food for our children, money back into the community, and I can see ways to even save money over time. I’d love to have my children come home and rave about lunch instead of complain about it.
Fred from Windsor:
I have started to buy locally because the foods are fresher, you can trust it as it is safe and it provides jobs for local folks. I have been very concerned since the "China poison syndrome" started. I am now buying organic products which taste better by far, last much longer and there are no chemicals or preservatives. It is amazing what locally grown organic products will save you in the long run. Vermont toys are also safe for our children. That alone is a relief.
Bunny from Keene, NY:
I very much appreciated your report that was broadcast 2-27-08 on using local foods in Vermont schools. You did an excellent job of including
interviews with school cafeteria managers, farmers, and at least one student. I live in the Adirondacks and want to know where all the grants came from that the Vermont schools received. Were they grants that are limited to Vermont? Also what further suggestions do you have for farmers to get their products into the schools?