Farm to School Fresh Picks Café is a big supporter of the Farm to School program. We were there in the beginning when we launched Farm to School in Brattleboro, Vermont years ago. Today, we are strong promoters of the program throughout Vermont and New Hampshire and enjoy partnerships with many leading Farm to School organizations. Our Farm to School Mission Through our efforts and partnerships, we bridge the gap between local farmers and our schools to enhance agriculture, health and nutrition education programs. We provide our associates with ongoing Farm to School training so they can successfully promote our initiatives, which include: Developing relationships with local farmers and producersSupporting school gardensEncouraging local purchasing whenever possible Farm to School in the Classroom Giving students hands-on experience with a school garden is one of the best ways to encourage support for local agriculture, reinforce pride in ownership and promote healthy, sustainable lifestyles. A school garden is also a great fundraising vehicle and educates students on the economics of gardening. At Fresh Picks Café, we actively participate in school gardens by donating seeds and purchasing produce to prepare in the meals we serve in your Cafés. Because students learn best by doing, we also sponsor recipe contests and culinary competitions using fruits and vegetables grown in your gardens. Menu Development To reinforce the benefits of supporting local agriculture, Fresh Picks Café offers opportunities for students to use our nutritional analysis software to write menus and learn how food choices affect their health. Student-developed menus are featured on the district menu, with credit given to the authoring class. We’ve found this to be a terrific way to encourage students to take pride in their work and responsibility for their own wellness. Harvest of the Month We are excited to be part of the New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts Harvest of the Month Community! The Harvest of the Month is a program run by the States Farm to School programs. Their goals are to promote seasonal eating, encourage healthy diets and support the local economy. Their calendar is based on the seasonality of crops in these states and regions. We will be participating in upcoming events and look forward to sharing the farm to school ideas with our students.