Teaching kids where their food comes from is on the minds of farmers and teachers throughout Vermont.
Julie Wolcott owns Green Wind Farm, a diversified farm and homestead operation with a small sugaring operation.
When Wolcott isn’t working, she’s helping teach kids in Franklin County about agriculture, and introducing them to vegetables they might not ordinarily find or eat.
She’s just one farmer involved in the Vermont Farm to School Network. Wolcott says she got started in the early nineties when she wanted to teach students at Fairfield Center School how to grow vegetables.
“If a student grows a vegetable, harvests a vegetable…it tastes so much better than if it’s just bought and just provided them on a plate or in a salad bar,” said Wolcott.
Eventually, it became more about showing kids what it takes to keep a farm running. Students first write letters to farmers like Julie, asking questions about their work and farm.
Once it’s time to visit, Wolcott says her students can focus on one aspect of the farm, whether it be sugaring, dairy or gardening, then get a hands-on experience.
“I think the teachers see another side of them that maybe they haven’t seen in a classroom setting, and I think that’s one of the greatest rewards, that I see is to provide the space for that to happen,” said Wolcott.
Wolcott says she starts to receive letters around this time of year, and students start taking field trips to the farm as early as January.