Farm to School Law – Vermont

Vermont has passed legislation (VT Act 145 of 2006)that tries to strengthen the connection between schools and local farmers and farm products. Although relatively a small program, the training and food processing programs are excellent features to support local food production. The bill contains the following:

  • Mini-grants of up to $15,000 for schools to:
    • purchase Vermont products
    • acquire cafeteria equipment to process fresh products
    • provide materials and professional development for teachers with food, farm and nutrition activities
    • take trips to local farms
  • Training of food service staff on how to purchase and prepare Vermont products in school meal programs.
  • Training of farmers on how to sell products to schools and other government agencies.
  • Funding for a Vermont food processor to process locally grown products for schools and institutional markets, or for equipment for farmers to process products.
  • Researching strategies to increase use of locally grown products in Vermont schools and state agencies.

Inschool year 2002-2003, Vermont schools spent $13 million on food for their food service programs, yet less than five percent of the $13 million went for direct purchase of produce from local farms and other local producers. Recent farm-to-school efforts in Vermont have demonstrated that when children and food service personnel have relationships with local farmers and producers, they are more likely to try new foods and use fresh and less-processed foods.