VERMONT INNOVATOR NEWS • WEEK OF MAY 20, 2019

Vermont Breakfast on the Farm
Announces 2019 Events
Winooski, VT – A free pancake breakfast, big tractors, and cute cows! Vermont Breakfast on the Farm is back for its fifth year at two new farms in the Green Mountain State. 2018 was a record year for Breakfast on the Farm, with more than 3,500 people in attendance at two on-farm events.

This summer’s events will be held at:
Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm, Newport, VT – June 22
Sprague Ranch, Brookfield, VT – July 27

Vermont Breakfast on the Farm is a free event, but tickets must be reserved at www.VermontBreakfastontheFarm.com. Reserve your tickets now!

Now more than ever people want to know not only where their food comes from, but how it was made. Vermont Breakfast on the Farm aims to answer those questions by connecting Vermonters with the farmers working 365 days a year to produce fresh, wholesome dairy for Vermont and beyond.

Visitors will enjoy a Vermont-inspired pancake breakfast, then take a self-guided tour of the farm. They will learn about modern-day dairy farming, ask questions of the farmers, and interact with industry experts who volunteer at the events. The tours consist of a dozen educational stations focused on cow care, environmental stewardship and agronomy practices, renewable energy production and much more.

Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm is a member of St. Albans Cooperative Creamery and has been producing milk in the Newport area since 1957. The Sprague Ranch has been caring for its animals and land since 1864 and ships its milk directly to Booth Brothers Dairy.

In 2018, more than 3,500 people attended Breakfast on the Farm events at the Gervais Family Farm in Enosburg Falls and Kayhart Brothers Dairy Farm in West Addison. The free, agricultural event has grown each year since its inception in 2015.

If you are a dairy farmer or member of Vermont’s agricultural community, please register to volunteer at VermontBreakfastontheFarm.com/volunteers. It takes more than 100 volunteers to help host the events, a true representation of Vermont’s support of the dairy industry.

In Vermont, dairy farmers directly support more than 4,000 jobs and indirectly support another 12,000. The Green Mountain State is home to 12 methane digesters which recycle cow manure into renewable energy, the most per capita in the US. And over the past five years, dairy farmers have contributed more than $175,000 to Vermont schools to support breakfast and lunch programs through Fuel Up to Play 60, the nation’s largest in-school health and wellness program.

VERMONT INNOVATOR NEWS • WEEK OF MAY 13, 2019

BETA Technologies Receives Vermont
Training Program Grant
BETA Technologies, an aerospace company specializing in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology and recharging pad technology, has been granted $78,742.50 by the Department of Economic Development’s Vermont Training Program.

The grant will allow the startup company to train staff in critical areas. Specifically, funding will support aviation safety courses; pilot and flight instructor training; advanced software training; and industrial high voltage electrical distribution system training.

BETA Technologies is headquartered in South Burlington. The company is working to improve their aircraft prototype to create a commercial platform for electric-powered aviation, critical to lessening the airline industry’s contributions to climate pollution.

“The Vermont Training Program award supports critical system flight test and advanced flight training for both our engineering staff and our test pilots,” said BETA Technologies President, Kyle Clark. “This training will enhance flight safety and staff efficiency as we advance the development of our next generation, all-electric, vertical take-off and landing, long range aircraft.”

“Electric aviation is one of the most exciting innovations in the aerospace sector,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Michael Schirling. “BETA Technologies is a prime example of the type of cutting edge, forward-thinking, and innovative companies that can call Vermont home. It is important to support the growth of this world-class aircraft technology here in Vermont.”

VERMONT INNOVATOR NEWS • WEEK OF MAY 06, 2019

Bellows Falls Expands Farm to
School Programming
BELLOWS FALLS, VT-This past September, Windham Northeast Supervisory Union kicked off a new school meal program: the Farm to School Cafe. Led by Food Service Director Harley Sterling, the Farm to School Cafe model is thriving in Bellows Falls and the surrounding towns, including Westminster, Grafton, Athens, and Saxtons River. While breakfast and lunch menus still look familiar to students and families, they now feature a variety of locally grown products and the large majority of meals are prepared from scratch. Students at these schools are enjoying things like locally raised beef, potatoes, carrots, corn, tortillas, beans, dairy, maple syrup and more! According to Sterling, this new model has been well received by students and faculty alike.

“We get excited every time we see a new face come through the lunch line or we can get someone to try something for the first time and they end up loving it. Just knowing that the kids in these communities have access to the very best food every day in school—there is no better feeling. We’re seeing steady gains in student participation, especially at the schools where we’ve made the biggest changes. We had pretty terrific programs at Saxtons River, Grafton, and Westminster.

At the Bellows Falls schools, we’ve seen about a 5% bump already this first year. We have also seen sales to adults triple. We feel like this is a really great leading measure of how good our meals are since adults have the choice to buy whatever they want for lunch. The fact that they are choosing to spend their money on the same food we serve to students speaks to the quality that our school chefs are serving up.”

Administrators within the school district have also welcomed these positive cafeteria changes and intend to build on them wherever possible. In fact, the district’s wellness committee, led by assistant superintendent Lynn Carey, just received a $15,000 grant from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets to support farm to school initiatives at Bellows Falls Middle School. The school is excited to use this funding for updating kitchen equipment, re-building garden beds, re-envisioning cafeteria space, and hosting a community meal & garden tour this summer.

The team, which also includes Art teacher, MaryLou Massouco, Family & Consumer Sciences teacher, Jane Mitchell, Finance Specialist, Shawna Coutu, and Food Service Director, Harley Sterling, has set some lofty farm to schools goals, including new projects in the classroom, cafeteria, and community. Carey says, “I am proud of the improvements accomplished since we brought our food services in house with Harley.” She looks forward to coupling these changes with efforts in the classroom and community.