CT Farm To School Institute 2023-24
About the CT Farm to School Institute
The CT Farm to School Institute is a comprehensive year-long professional learning opportunity for Connecticut school teams to develop and refine their farm to school programs. At the Institute, you can expect to build relationships, skills, and a collaborative action plan for your school. With the support of a coach, teams spend the school year putting their plans into action and strengthening their capacity to impact classrooms, cafeterias and communities, with change that lasts. This is a direct opportunity to improve the health of students and strengthen the agricultural economy by bringing farm fresh local foods into school cafeterias statewide.
Applications for the 2023-2024 CT Farm to School Institute are now closed.
2023-2024 Accepted Teams
Recipients of the CT Grown for CT Kids Week grant were invited to apply to the 2023-24 CT Farm to School Institute. We received many qualified applications and want to congratulate all who applied! Our first cohort of CT Farm to School Institute Teams will be:
Cheshire High School, Cheshire Public Schools
The Consolidated School District of New Britain
Ponus Ridge Middle School, Norwalk Public Schools
Benefits to Participation
Farm to school action planning: During the program, participants develop a values-based, school-wide farm to school action plan that integrates curriculum, local procurement, youth voice, and family and community connections.
Coaching: Teams are paired with an experienced coach from their state’s farm to school or early childhood network. You’ll have communication and meetings with this coach throughout the school year to assist you in implementing and adapting your action plan to meet the changing needs of your school.
Skill building: Participants engage in workshops designed around school specific roles, and meet with technical assistance providers to get support on their action plan.
Networking with peers: Individuals and teams share innovations and challenges, join in dialogue, and share with others across the state on best practices and resources to champion farm to school in years to come.
Whole-school teams: Role diversity on the team facilitates action! Strong teams bring together members from across the spectrum of farm to school to create lasting change. See the ‘Building a Team’ section below for details.
This is a year-long program kicking off with an in-person summer retreat on Monday June 26th and Tuesday June 27th, 2023 at Yellow Farmhouse Education Center at Stone Acres Farm in Stonington, CT. Teams will implement their action plans during the following school year with the support of a coach.
Spring 2023: Attend a one hour virtual orientation given by the Institute planning team at 4p-5p on Thursday June 1st for participants to be familiarized with the 3C’s framework, and review the agenda for the retreat. We strongly encourage live attendance, but it will be recorded for all to watch prior to the retreat. Additionally, you & your school team must meet your coach on a date set by you and your team prior to the summer retreat. This meeting is for coach introductions, and time to complete your personalized FTS Rubric and draft your values statement, so we can hit the ground running!
Summer 2023: Attend our summer retreat on June 26th & 27th, 2023 at Yellow Farmhouse Education Center, housed at Stone Acres Farm in Stonington CT. Here you and your team will dive into farm to school action planning, network with peers around the state, and explore farm to school possibilities.
Fall–Winter 2023–2024: Teams will meet regularly throughout the school year with your coach as you implement your action plan. Individuals will participate in affinity groups organized by roles and attend virtual workshops. Participants will support program growth and improvement through data collection, evaluation, and storytelling.
Spring 2024: Prepare a year-two action plan with the support of your coach, and regroup with your cohort to share your progress and reflections in a year-end virtual gathering in spring 2024.
Get to Know the Institute
Farm to school is a comprehensive strategy with a goal of helping students establish lifelong positive relationships with food while supporting a more just food system. The strategies used to achieve this shift are: serving healthy local food in schools, improving student nutrition, providing hands-on food systems learning opportunities, and developing meaningful relationships between community partners, schools and students. Farm to school supports youth in connecting the dots of where their food comes from and how their food choices impact their bodies, the environment, and their communities at large.
Our Connecticut Institute is based on the long-standing and successful model from VT FEED (Food Education Every Day), in Shelburne VT, which a handful of CT schools have attended. In the summer of 2022, two members of our planning team attended the first ever NEFTSI Adapters Institute with the goal of adapting and developing our own version, to grow even more FTS programming across the US. We are beyond excited to finally be bringing this opportunity to even more teams in our state!
CT Schools that have attended the NE FTS Institute include:
New London Public Schools (2016)
Charles Barnum School, Groton (2017)
City Hill Middle School, Naugatuck (2022)
Macdonough Elementary School, Middletown (Virtual 2021)
Mansfield Public Schools (Virtual 2020)
Barnum Elementary School, Bridgeport (Virtual 2020)
Tracey Magnet School, Norwalk (Virtual 2020)
Naugatuck Public Schools (2019)
Groton Public Schools (2018)
East Hartford Public Schools (2017)
Pictured above: the 2022-23 Northeast Farm to School Institute cohort
The 3Cs Model
Pictured above: The CT FTS Institute Steering Committee, who was convened in Summer 2021 at Yellow Farmhouse Education Center to gauge interest and provide feedback to this project.
We are so thankful for our Northeast Partners! Vermont FEED's Institute has been serving the northeast for the past thirteen years and we are incredibly thankful for the time, research, and thought that has gone into building a successful model for whole school change, the 3Cs. Familiarize yourself with the model, by checking out the following resources created and distributed by VT FEED:
All the above resources plus many more can be found on VTFEED's FTS Planning Toolkit webpage, found here.
The 2023 CT Farm to School Institute Summer Retreat
The CT Farm to School Institute will kick off with a Summer Retreat at Yellow Farmhouse Education Center at Stone Acres Farm in Stonington! Learn more information about the Summer Retreat, here!
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Programmatic and Financial Partners
The CT Farm to School Institute would not be possible without support from the following partners: