One of the most beloved Farm to Community Mentor Programs is our Farmer Correspondence Program, which establishes pen pal relationship between a farmer and a classroom for the winter months. Each farmer/classroom pair is eligible for a farm visit. Here are videos of successful farm visits: one on a diversified vegetable farm (below) and one on a dairy farm (above). If you'd like to participate, contact Abbie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-434-4122.
The purpose of the Farm to Community Mentor program is to expand agricultural awareness by developing a community understanding of agriculture and to develop on-going relationships between communities, schools and their local farms. Farm to Community Mentors are farmers and educators who facilitate links between other farmers, gardeners, educators, children, and community in order to reconnect communities to their local agriculture.
Farm to Community Mentors work to make farms and farmers more prominent resources in every community in Vermont. The Mentor project responds to the need in our communities for children and families to understand the important role that farms play in Vermont.
Farm To Community Mentor Program Goals And Objectives
- Increase community understanding of sustainable agriculture by:
- Connecting farmers, school-aged children and community members so they can accomplish agricultural projects on farms or in classrooms through lasting relationships; and
- Identifying agricultural materials and professionals within the community as resources.
- Enhance student learning of agriculture by using farms as an educational resource by:
- Introducing teachers to the diversity of topics that can be explored on the farm, in the garden, or managed forest, and to the richness and realness the experiences can bring to learning; and
- Developing activities, field studies, or service learning opportunities with farmers so they can gain strategies and confidence to become educators on the farm or in a classroom.
- Support the viability of farms by developing community connections to local agriculture by:
- Working with Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED) to develop marketing relationships with communities and schools to increase the amount of local food served at schools; and
- Working with institutions and organizations other than public schools to develop marketing and distribution relationships with farmers.
Statewide projects of the Farm to Community Mentors
Do you ever wonder what farmers do in the winter months? Farmer pen-pals correspond with classrooms during the winter months across the state to share the events on the farm: from using draft horses in Fairfield to collect sap, to training a working farm dog in Dorset. Mentors match classrooms with farmers based on students’ interests and grade levels. Every subject matter taught in school can be explored through agriculture and be enhanced by corresponding with a farmer.
NOFA-VT Farm to Community Mentor Program, a local sheep farmer, and Northwest Access TV (channel 15/16) have teamed together to create a farm visitation video geared towards preschool-age children. This ongoing project (more videos to come!) is intended to build excitement and knowledge of Vermont farms. Local libraries and daycares are viewing the farm experience, and it has been used for farm education lessons in some local classrooms. Next video to be made available soon: Dairy and Fiber Farms!
Agricultural Literacy Week is an opportunity for focused educational events to encourage a robust understanding of agriculture in Vermont's schools and communities. Farm to Community Mentors facilitate events, such as farm visits and film screenings, in their areas.
Farm to Community Mentors
NOFA Vermont has 9 regional Farm to Community Mentors - they are all farmers or educators who have extensive relationships with the schools in their communities and with other farmers.
Please contact the mentor in your region with any questions or ideas. If there is no mentor listed for your area, contact the Farm to Community Mentor Program at NOFA Vermont.
- Bennington & Rutland: Scout Proft,
2087 Dorset Hill Rd, East Dorset, VT 05253, 802-362-2290
- Windham: Lisa Holderness,
4075 Hinesburg Rd, Guilford, VT 05301, 802-254-3540
Email Lisa Holderness
- Windsor: Amy Richardson,
87 Hartland Hill Rd, Woodstock, VT 05091, 802-436-7017
Email Amy Richardson
- Lamoille & South Orleans: Selina Rooney,
222 Tine McKee Rd, Morrisville, VT 05661, 802-888-8440
Email Selina Rooney
- North Orleans & Caledonia: Kathy Ciarimboli (pronounced: Serim'bolee)
250 Hande Lane, Hardwick, VT 05843, 802-472-5838
Email Kathy Ciarimboli
- Orange & Washington: Misse Axelrod, The Barn Yard
PO Box 1324, Roxbury, VT 05669, 802-485-7788
Email Misse Axelrod
- Franklin & Grand Isle: Virginia Holiman,
PO Box 341, Highgate, VT 05459, 802-868-2295
Email Virginia Holiman
- Central & North Chittenden: John Connell,
PO Box 148, Underhill Ctr., VT 05490, 802-899-2375
Email John Connell
- Addison & South Chittenden: Andrea Scott,
2955 Rt. 74 West, Shoreham, VT 05770, 802-897-2779
Email Andrea Scott
- Statewide Projects: Abbie Nelson,
Mentor Coordinator, NOFA-VT, 802-434-4122
Email Abbie Nelson
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