A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
—Michael Pollan

Feeding nine billion people in a truly sustainable way will be one of the greatest challenges our civilization has had to confront. It will require the imagination, determination and hard work of countless people from all over the world. There is no time to lose.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

The surest way to capture the flavors, colors, and textures of a culture is by using authentic products.
—Lidia Bastianich, from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen

The most important habit you can develop is to taste as you are preparing something. Take a sample and taste it critically at different stages of the cooking, then correct the seasonings…
—Marion Cunningham, from Learning to Cook

Plant a vegetable garden if you have the space, a window box if you don’t.
—Michael Pollan

When the Farm is a School: Shelburne Farms

My last two posts featured the work of a Vermont farm to school organization, Common Roots, and a farm program at the Hotchkiss School in northern Connecticut. They are two good examples of the trend in education that uses farms and farmers to teach the importance of good environmental practices, as well as the joys of healthy food, and stewardship of the land. Let me know what you think of my recent experience at Shelburne Farms, a leader in the movement of farm to school education and a valued neighbor in close-by, Shelburne, Vermont. This is the third in a series on the importance of farm to school initiatives. 

Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms

The Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms

I couldn’t do justice to the theme of farm to school if I didn’t include one of the most remarkable farms in Vermont and possibly of all New England, Shelburne Farms.

My Private Treasure 

Because it’s in my neighborhood, I think of Shelburne Farms as my own private treasure. My Chittenden Valley friends feel the same way. We hike and cross country ski on the property, we bring our children and grandchildren for visits to the Farm Barn where they can see an array of farm animals, pet them and even, if you arrive at the right moment, milk a cow. Guests aren’t “allowed” to visit me without a trip to this special place. Besides watching the justifiably famous cheddar cheese being made, buying fresh out-of-the-oven bread from O Bread Bakery and enjoying a quick lunch at the Farm Cart, we can celebrate a birthday, a special family event or just a beautiful day with an elegant dinner at The Inn at Shelburne Farms.

But Shelburne Farms is not just a special destination for family and friends. It is a leader in farm education. It has been doing this since the Webb family made the decision in 1972 to become an independent non-profit organization, a natural continuation of the inspired concept of their great-grandparents, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb.

Learning to milk a cow at the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms (left); From milk to cheddar cheese at Shelburne Farms (right)

Learning to milk a cow at the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms (left); From milk to cheddar cheese at Shelburne Farms (right)

A Model Agricultural Estate

Shelburne Farms began life as a model agricultural estate one hundred and thirty three years ago. Its owners, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, sought to create a farm on the banks of Lake Champlain that would set the standard for generations to come. Today, it is the center of such enlightened thinking about the value of farm education that it often hosts educators and administrators from many countries overseas as well as throughout the United States. They come seeking information to implement similar programs in their own communities—and to be inspired!

One of the contributions that Shelburne Farms is well-known for is the multiplicity of workshops, seminars and lectures sponsored out of the desire to create an understanding of the environment and the necessity of preserving the local landscape.  Because farms are a major part of the Vermont landscape, Shelburne Farms stays true to its original mandate and to the dream of the Webb family for three generations, and continues to promote and teach the importance of farming.

A Leader in Raising Awareness

Partnering with organizations around the state—Farm to Plate, NOFA-VT (Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont), Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day), Slow Food Vermont, Pasture to Palate, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council, to name only a few—and working with various city and state agencies, Shelburne Farms is unquestionably a leader in the important work of raising awareness about healthy food, good nutrition, the importance of local and organic. With the help of city, state and federal agencies, it supports the important role that small and independent farms play in sustaining a healthy environment.

Farm-Based Education Workshop at Inn at Shelburne by Laurie Caswell Burke

Farm-Based Education Workshop at the Inn at Shelburne Farms.
Photo by Laurie Caswell Burke

Vermont Farm-Based Education Forum

My most recent trip to Shelburne Farms was a perfect example of how large a role they play in growing farm education community awareness. On October 22 and 23, Shelburne Farms hosted a conference on agritourism, Vermont Farm-Based Education Forum: Agritourism, Education & Economics on Your Farm. Listening to the stories from 140 farmers from all over the state, as well as the rest of New England and beyond, was an eye-opener. I had no idea there were so many farms that offer B&B accommodations, or that it was possible to visit and learn how to shear sheep, make wool into yarn, bake bread, age cheese, boil maple sap into syrup, plant wheat, plough with draft horses, raise chickens, and slaughter your own pigs—the list could go on and on—at so many farms throughout the country.

Conversations with Farmers

Not only was it an energizing experience causing me to wonder if I hadn’t chosen the wrong profession, but, it raised the bar as far as the word “entrepreneur” is concerned. The workshops underscored what I have recognized in my many conversations with farmers and farm educators, state agricultural administrators, and local food retailers.

The creativity that it takes to run a farm today is akin to the creativity that I saw in the art world four decades ago in New York City. Then it was young, talented artists willing to risk everything to win an exhibition in an important SoHo gallery. For the young farmers and food entrepreneurs here in Vermont and the rest of New England, it is all about producing excellent food and living a lifestyle that nourishes in ways that money can’t buy, while helping to educate others in the importance of land management and environmental initiatives that may one day save the planet.

Women Farmers

I expected bearded men in overalls and mud-stained boots to be the attendees. Instead, the majority of the farmers were women. And the array of bright scarves, chic footwear and well-coifed heads was a surprise. I’d heard that women outnumber men in the category of new farmers in Vermont, but it didn’t hit home until I saw the many women attendees at the workshops, all eager to hear more about what they could do to augment and embellish the farms they loved. Educating the public to the joys of farming was on everyone’s mind but these were also smart farmers who understood the monetary value of educational programs. Not only could the programs provide extra revenue, they often meant employing a few more local people, a benefit to the community.

Shelburne Farms barn with chard growing in the foreground

A view from the back of the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms

Cultivating Change

I’m inspired by the words of Alec Webb, President of Shelburne Farms, who wrote recently, “Together we are cultivating change for a better world and a more hopeful future.”  The talent I’d seen at the agritourism workshops moved me. I like being part of the wave of enthusiasm about farming by writing about it. To make a positive difference, not only in the world of healthy food, but also in the world of environmental stewardship seems close to my dream of doing something positive for the world. As Alec Webb says, “Together we are are cultivating change…” one small farm at a time.

A Bientot,

P.S. Be sure to read Farm to School: Not Just a Slogan and Fairfield Farm at The Hotchkiss School: Where Agriculture & Academics Meet. 

Posted: 11-16-2013

object(WP_Query)#611 (49) {
  ["query_vars"]=>
  array(62) {
    ["page"]=>
    int(0)
    ["name"]=>
    string(41) "when-the-farm-is-a-school-shelburne-farms"
    ["category_name"]=>
    string(4) "blog"
    ["error"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["m"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["p"]=>
    int(0)
    ["post_parent"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["subpost"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["subpost_id"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["attachment"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["attachment_id"]=>
    int(0)
    ["static"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["pagename"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["page_id"]=>
    int(0)
    ["second"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["minute"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["hour"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["day"]=>
    int(0)
    ["monthnum"]=>
    int(0)
    ["year"]=>
    int(0)
    ["w"]=>
    int(0)
    ["tag"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["cat"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["tag_id"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["author"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["author_name"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["feed"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["tb"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["paged"]=>
    int(0)
    ["comments_popup"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["meta_key"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["meta_value"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["preview"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["s"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["sentence"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["fields"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["menu_order"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["category__in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["category__not_in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["category__and"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["post__in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["post__not_in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["tag__in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["tag__not_in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["tag__and"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["tag_slug__in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["tag_slug__and"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["post_parent__in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["post_parent__not_in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["author__in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["author__not_in"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["ignore_sticky_posts"]=>
    bool(false)
    ["suppress_filters"]=>
    bool(false)
    ["cache_results"]=>
    bool(true)
    ["update_post_term_cache"]=>
    bool(true)
    ["update_post_meta_cache"]=>
    bool(true)
    ["post_type"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["posts_per_page"]=>
    int(5)
    ["nopaging"]=>
    bool(false)
    ["comments_per_page"]=>
    string(2) "50"
    ["no_found_rows"]=>
    bool(false)
    ["order"]=>
    string(4) "DESC"
  }
  ["tax_query"]=>
  NULL
  ["meta_query"]=>
  object(WP_Meta_Query)#243 (7) {
    ["queries"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
    ["relation"]=>
    NULL
    ["meta_table"]=>
    NULL
    ["meta_id_column"]=>
    NULL
    ["primary_table"]=>
    NULL
    ["primary_id_column"]=>
    NULL
    ["table_aliases:protected"]=>
    array(0) {
    }
  }
  ["date_query"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["post_count"]=>
  int(1)
  ["current_post"]=>
  int(0)
  ["in_the_loop"]=>
  bool(true)
  ["comment_count"]=>
  int(0)
  ["current_comment"]=>
  int(-1)
  ["found_posts"]=>
  int(1)
  ["max_num_pages"]=>
  int(0)
  ["max_num_comment_pages"]=>
  int(0)
  ["is_single"]=>
  bool(true)
  ["is_preview"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_page"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_archive"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_date"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_year"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_month"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_day"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_time"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_author"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_category"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_tag"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_tax"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_search"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_feed"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_comment_feed"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_trackback"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_home"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_404"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_comments_popup"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_paged"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_admin"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_attachment"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_singular"]=>
  bool(true)
  ["is_robots"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_posts_page"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["is_post_type_archive"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["query_vars_hash:private"]=>
  string(32) "8d110f1cf73f1f7baf52bb5334f97d0c"
  ["query_vars_changed:private"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["thumbnails_cached"]=>
  bool(false)
  ["stopwords:private"]=>
  NULL
  ["query"]=>
  array(3) {
    ["page"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["name"]=>
    string(41) "when-the-farm-is-a-school-shelburne-farms"
    ["category_name"]=>
    string(4) "blog"
  }
  ["request"]=>
  string(181) "SELECT   wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts  WHERE 1=1  AND wp_posts.post_name = 'when-the-farm-is-a-school-shelburne-farms' AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post'  ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC "
  ["posts"]=>
  &array(1) {
    [0]=>
    object(WP_Post)#241 (24) {
      ["ID"]=>
      int(3037)
      ["post_author"]=>
      string(1) "5"
      ["post_date"]=>
      string(19) "2013-11-16 04:49:35"
      ["post_date_gmt"]=>
      string(19) "2013-11-16 04:49:35"
      ["post_content"]=>
      string(10252) "My last two posts featured the work of a Vermont farm to school organization, Common Roots, and a farm program at the Hotchkiss School in northern Connecticut. They are two good examples of the trend in education that uses farms and farmers to teach the importance of good environmental practices, as well as the joys of healthy food, and stewardship of the land. Let me know what you think of my recent experience at Shelburne Farms, a leader in the movement of farm to school education and a valued neighbor in close-by, Shelburne, Vermont. This is the third in a series on the importance of farm to school initiatives. 

[caption id="attachment_3039" align="alignnone" width="495"]Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms The Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms[/caption]

I couldn’t do justice to the theme of farm to school if I didn’t include one of the most remarkable farms in Vermont and possibly of all New England, Shelburne Farms.

My Private Treasure 

Because it’s in my neighborhood, I think of Shelburne Farms as my own private treasure. My Chittenden Valley friends feel the same way. We hike and cross country ski on the property, we bring our children and grandchildren for visits to the Farm Barn where they can see an array of farm animals, pet them and even, if you arrive at the right moment, milk a cow. Guests aren’t “allowed” to visit me without a trip to this special place. Besides watching the justifiably famous cheddar cheese being made, buying fresh out-of-the-oven bread from O Bread Bakery and enjoying a quick lunch at the Farm Cart, we can celebrate a birthday, a special family event or just a beautiful day with an elegant dinner at The Inn at Shelburne Farms.

But Shelburne Farms is not just a special destination for family and friends. It is a leader in farm education. It has been doing this since the Webb family made the decision in 1972 to become an independent non-profit organization, a natural continuation of the inspired concept of their great-grandparents, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb.

[caption id="attachment_3062" align="alignnone" width="498"]Learning to milk a cow at the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms (left); From milk to cheddar cheese at Shelburne Farms (right) Learning to milk a cow at the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms (left); From milk to cheddar cheese at Shelburne Farms (right)[/caption]

A Model Agricultural Estate

Shelburne Farms began life as a model agricultural estate one hundred and thirty three years ago. Its owners, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, sought to create a farm on the banks of Lake Champlain that would set the standard for generations to come. Today, it is the center of such enlightened thinking about the value of farm education that it often hosts educators and administrators from many countries overseas as well as throughout the United States. They come seeking information to implement similar programs in their own communities—and to be inspired!

One of the contributions that Shelburne Farms is well-known for is the multiplicity of workshops, seminars and lectures sponsored out of the desire to create an understanding of the environment and the necessity of preserving the local landscape.  Because farms are a major part of the Vermont landscape, Shelburne Farms stays true to its original mandate and to the dream of the Webb family for three generations, and continues to promote and teach the importance of farming.

A Leader in Raising Awareness

Partnering with organizations around the state—Farm to Plate, NOFA-VT (Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont), Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day), Slow Food Vermont, Pasture to Palate, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council, to name only a few—and working with various city and state agencies, Shelburne Farms is unquestionably a leader in the important work of raising awareness about healthy food, good nutrition, the importance of local and organic. With the help of city, state and federal agencies, it supports the important role that small and independent farms play in sustaining a healthy environment.

[caption id="attachment_3043" align="alignnone" width="491"]Farm-Based Education Workshop at Inn at Shelburne by Laurie Caswell Burke Farm-Based Education Workshop at the Inn at Shelburne Farms.
Photo by Laurie Caswell Burke[/caption] Vermont Farm-Based Education Forum My most recent trip to Shelburne Farms was a perfect example of how large a role they play in growing farm education community awareness. On October 22 and 23, Shelburne Farms hosted a conference on agritourism, Vermont Farm-Based Education Forum: Agritourism, Education & Economics on Your Farm. Listening to the stories from 140 farmers from all over the state, as well as the rest of New England and beyond, was an eye-opener. I had no idea there were so many farms that offer B&B accommodations, or that it was possible to visit and learn how to shear sheep, make wool into yarn, bake bread, age cheese, boil maple sap into syrup, plant wheat, plough with draft horses, raise chickens, and slaughter your own pigs—the list could go on and on—at so many farms throughout the country. Conversations with Farmers Not only was it an energizing experience causing me to wonder if I hadn’t chosen the wrong profession, but, it raised the bar as far as the word “entrepreneur" is concerned. The workshops underscored what I have recognized in my many conversations with farmers and farm educators, state agricultural administrators, and local food retailers. The creativity that it takes to run a farm today is akin to the creativity that I saw in the art world four decades ago in New York City. Then it was young, talented artists willing to risk everything to win an exhibition in an important SoHo gallery. For the young farmers and food entrepreneurs here in Vermont and the rest of New England, it is all about producing excellent food and living a lifestyle that nourishes in ways that money can’t buy, while helping to educate others in the importance of land management and environmental initiatives that may one day save the planet. Women Farmers I expected bearded men in overalls and mud-stained boots to be the attendees. Instead, the majority of the farmers were women. And the array of bright scarves, chic footwear and well-coifed heads was a surprise. I’d heard that women outnumber men in the category of new farmers in Vermont, but it didn’t hit home until I saw the many women attendees at the workshops, all eager to hear more about what they could do to augment and embellish the farms they loved. Educating the public to the joys of farming was on everyone’s mind but these were also smart farmers who understood the monetary value of educational programs. Not only could the programs provide extra revenue, they often meant employing a few more local people, a benefit to the community. [caption id="attachment_3044" align="alignnone" width="504"]Shelburne Farms barn with chard growing in the foreground A view from the back of the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms[/caption] Cultivating Change I’m inspired by the words of Alec Webb, President of Shelburne Farms, who wrote recently, “Together we are cultivating change for a better world and a more hopeful future.”  The talent I’d seen at the agritourism workshops moved me. I like being part of the wave of enthusiasm about farming by writing about it. To make a positive difference, not only in the world of healthy food, but also in the world of environmental stewardship seems close to my dream of doing something positive for the world. As Alec Webb says, “Together we are are cultivating change…” one small farm at a time. A Bientot, P.S. Be sure to read Farm to School: Not Just a Slogan and Fairfield Farm at The Hotchkiss School: Where Agriculture & Academics Meet.  " ["post_title"]=> string(43) "When the Farm is a School: Shelburne Farms " ["post_excerpt"]=> string(208) "The third in my farm to school series, this post takes a look at my recent experience at Shelburne Farms, a national leader in the farm to school movement and a valued neighbor in close-by Shelburne, Vermont." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(41) "when-the-farm-is-a-school-shelburne-farms" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(186) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/blog/farm-to-school-not-just-a-slogan/ http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/blog/fairfield-farm-at-the-hotchkiss-school-where-academics-agriculture-meet/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-09-27 00:44:27" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-09-27 00:44:27" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=3037" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#241 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(3037) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "5" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-16 04:49:35" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-16 04:49:35" ["post_content"]=> string(10252) "My last two posts featured the work of a Vermont farm to school organization, Common Roots, and a farm program at the Hotchkiss School in northern Connecticut. They are two good examples of the trend in education that uses farms and farmers to teach the importance of good environmental practices, as well as the joys of healthy food, and stewardship of the land. Let me know what you think of my recent experience at Shelburne Farms, a leader in the movement of farm to school education and a valued neighbor in close-by, Shelburne, Vermont. This is the third in a series on the importance of farm to school initiatives.  [caption id="attachment_3039" align="alignnone" width="495"]Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms The Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms[/caption] I couldn’t do justice to the theme of farm to school if I didn’t include one of the most remarkable farms in Vermont and possibly of all New England, Shelburne Farms. My Private Treasure  Because it’s in my neighborhood, I think of Shelburne Farms as my own private treasure. My Chittenden Valley friends feel the same way. We hike and cross country ski on the property, we bring our children and grandchildren for visits to the Farm Barn where they can see an array of farm animals, pet them and even, if you arrive at the right moment, milk a cow. Guests aren’t “allowed” to visit me without a trip to this special place. Besides watching the justifiably famous cheddar cheese being made, buying fresh out-of-the-oven bread from O Bread Bakery and enjoying a quick lunch at the Farm Cart, we can celebrate a birthday, a special family event or just a beautiful day with an elegant dinner at The Inn at Shelburne Farms. But Shelburne Farms is not just a special destination for family and friends. It is a leader in farm education. It has been doing this since the Webb family made the decision in 1972 to become an independent non-profit organization, a natural continuation of the inspired concept of their great-grandparents, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb. [caption id="attachment_3062" align="alignnone" width="498"]Learning to milk a cow at the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms (left); From milk to cheddar cheese at Shelburne Farms (right) Learning to milk a cow at the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms (left); From milk to cheddar cheese at Shelburne Farms (right)[/caption] A Model Agricultural Estate Shelburne Farms began life as a model agricultural estate one hundred and thirty three years ago. Its owners, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, sought to create a farm on the banks of Lake Champlain that would set the standard for generations to come. Today, it is the center of such enlightened thinking about the value of farm education that it often hosts educators and administrators from many countries overseas as well as throughout the United States. They come seeking information to implement similar programs in their own communities—and to be inspired! One of the contributions that Shelburne Farms is well-known for is the multiplicity of workshops, seminars and lectures sponsored out of the desire to create an understanding of the environment and the necessity of preserving the local landscape.  Because farms are a major part of the Vermont landscape, Shelburne Farms stays true to its original mandate and to the dream of the Webb family for three generations, and continues to promote and teach the importance of farming. A Leader in Raising Awareness Partnering with organizations around the state—Farm to Plate, NOFA-VT (Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont), Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day), Slow Food Vermont, Pasture to Palate, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council, to name only a few—and working with various city and state agencies, Shelburne Farms is unquestionably a leader in the important work of raising awareness about healthy food, good nutrition, the importance of local and organic. With the help of city, state and federal agencies, it supports the important role that small and independent farms play in sustaining a healthy environment. [caption id="attachment_3043" align="alignnone" width="491"]Farm-Based Education Workshop at Inn at Shelburne by Laurie Caswell Burke Farm-Based Education Workshop at the Inn at Shelburne Farms.
Photo by Laurie Caswell Burke[/caption] Vermont Farm-Based Education Forum My most recent trip to Shelburne Farms was a perfect example of how large a role they play in growing farm education community awareness. On October 22 and 23, Shelburne Farms hosted a conference on agritourism, Vermont Farm-Based Education Forum: Agritourism, Education & Economics on Your Farm. Listening to the stories from 140 farmers from all over the state, as well as the rest of New England and beyond, was an eye-opener. I had no idea there were so many farms that offer B&B accommodations, or that it was possible to visit and learn how to shear sheep, make wool into yarn, bake bread, age cheese, boil maple sap into syrup, plant wheat, plough with draft horses, raise chickens, and slaughter your own pigs—the list could go on and on—at so many farms throughout the country. Conversations with Farmers Not only was it an energizing experience causing me to wonder if I hadn’t chosen the wrong profession, but, it raised the bar as far as the word “entrepreneur" is concerned. The workshops underscored what I have recognized in my many conversations with farmers and farm educators, state agricultural administrators, and local food retailers. The creativity that it takes to run a farm today is akin to the creativity that I saw in the art world four decades ago in New York City. Then it was young, talented artists willing to risk everything to win an exhibition in an important SoHo gallery. For the young farmers and food entrepreneurs here in Vermont and the rest of New England, it is all about producing excellent food and living a lifestyle that nourishes in ways that money can’t buy, while helping to educate others in the importance of land management and environmental initiatives that may one day save the planet. Women Farmers I expected bearded men in overalls and mud-stained boots to be the attendees. Instead, the majority of the farmers were women. And the array of bright scarves, chic footwear and well-coifed heads was a surprise. I’d heard that women outnumber men in the category of new farmers in Vermont, but it didn’t hit home until I saw the many women attendees at the workshops, all eager to hear more about what they could do to augment and embellish the farms they loved. Educating the public to the joys of farming was on everyone’s mind but these were also smart farmers who understood the monetary value of educational programs. Not only could the programs provide extra revenue, they often meant employing a few more local people, a benefit to the community. [caption id="attachment_3044" align="alignnone" width="504"]Shelburne Farms barn with chard growing in the foreground A view from the back of the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms[/caption] Cultivating Change I’m inspired by the words of Alec Webb, President of Shelburne Farms, who wrote recently, “Together we are cultivating change for a better world and a more hopeful future.”  The talent I’d seen at the agritourism workshops moved me. I like being part of the wave of enthusiasm about farming by writing about it. To make a positive difference, not only in the world of healthy food, but also in the world of environmental stewardship seems close to my dream of doing something positive for the world. As Alec Webb says, “Together we are are cultivating change…” one small farm at a time. A Bientot, P.S. Be sure to read Farm to School: Not Just a Slogan and Fairfield Farm at The Hotchkiss School: Where Agriculture & Academics Meet.  " ["post_title"]=> string(43) "When the Farm is a School: Shelburne Farms " ["post_excerpt"]=> string(208) "The third in my farm to school series, this post takes a look at my recent experience at Shelburne Farms, a national leader in the farm to school movement and a valued neighbor in close-by Shelburne, Vermont." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(41) "when-the-farm-is-a-school-shelburne-farms" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(186) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/blog/farm-to-school-not-just-a-slogan/ http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/blog/fairfield-farm-at-the-hotchkiss-school-where-academics-agriculture-meet/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-09-27 00:44:27" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-09-27 00:44:27" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=3037" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } ["queried_object"]=> object(WP_Post)#241 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(3037) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "5" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-16 04:49:35" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-16 04:49:35" ["post_content"]=> string(10252) "My last two posts featured the work of a Vermont farm to school organization, Common Roots, and a farm program at the Hotchkiss School in northern Connecticut. They are two good examples of the trend in education that uses farms and farmers to teach the importance of good environmental practices, as well as the joys of healthy food, and stewardship of the land. Let me know what you think of my recent experience at Shelburne Farms, a leader in the movement of farm to school education and a valued neighbor in close-by, Shelburne, Vermont. This is the third in a series on the importance of farm to school initiatives.  [caption id="attachment_3039" align="alignnone" width="495"]Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms The Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms[/caption] I couldn’t do justice to the theme of farm to school if I didn’t include one of the most remarkable farms in Vermont and possibly of all New England, Shelburne Farms. My Private Treasure  Because it’s in my neighborhood, I think of Shelburne Farms as my own private treasure. My Chittenden Valley friends feel the same way. We hike and cross country ski on the property, we bring our children and grandchildren for visits to the Farm Barn where they can see an array of farm animals, pet them and even, if you arrive at the right moment, milk a cow. Guests aren’t “allowed” to visit me without a trip to this special place. Besides watching the justifiably famous cheddar cheese being made, buying fresh out-of-the-oven bread from O Bread Bakery and enjoying a quick lunch at the Farm Cart, we can celebrate a birthday, a special family event or just a beautiful day with an elegant dinner at The Inn at Shelburne Farms. But Shelburne Farms is not just a special destination for family and friends. It is a leader in farm education. It has been doing this since the Webb family made the decision in 1972 to become an independent non-profit organization, a natural continuation of the inspired concept of their great-grandparents, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb. [caption id="attachment_3062" align="alignnone" width="498"]Learning to milk a cow at the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms (left); From milk to cheddar cheese at Shelburne Farms (right) Learning to milk a cow at the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms (left); From milk to cheddar cheese at Shelburne Farms (right)[/caption] A Model Agricultural Estate Shelburne Farms began life as a model agricultural estate one hundred and thirty three years ago. Its owners, William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, sought to create a farm on the banks of Lake Champlain that would set the standard for generations to come. Today, it is the center of such enlightened thinking about the value of farm education that it often hosts educators and administrators from many countries overseas as well as throughout the United States. They come seeking information to implement similar programs in their own communities—and to be inspired! One of the contributions that Shelburne Farms is well-known for is the multiplicity of workshops, seminars and lectures sponsored out of the desire to create an understanding of the environment and the necessity of preserving the local landscape.  Because farms are a major part of the Vermont landscape, Shelburne Farms stays true to its original mandate and to the dream of the Webb family for three generations, and continues to promote and teach the importance of farming. A Leader in Raising Awareness Partnering with organizations around the state—Farm to Plate, NOFA-VT (Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont), Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day), Slow Food Vermont, Pasture to Palate, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council, to name only a few—and working with various city and state agencies, Shelburne Farms is unquestionably a leader in the important work of raising awareness about healthy food, good nutrition, the importance of local and organic. With the help of city, state and federal agencies, it supports the important role that small and independent farms play in sustaining a healthy environment. [caption id="attachment_3043" align="alignnone" width="491"]Farm-Based Education Workshop at Inn at Shelburne by Laurie Caswell Burke Farm-Based Education Workshop at the Inn at Shelburne Farms.
Photo by Laurie Caswell Burke[/caption] Vermont Farm-Based Education Forum My most recent trip to Shelburne Farms was a perfect example of how large a role they play in growing farm education community awareness. On October 22 and 23, Shelburne Farms hosted a conference on agritourism, Vermont Farm-Based Education Forum: Agritourism, Education & Economics on Your Farm. Listening to the stories from 140 farmers from all over the state, as well as the rest of New England and beyond, was an eye-opener. I had no idea there were so many farms that offer B&B accommodations, or that it was possible to visit and learn how to shear sheep, make wool into yarn, bake bread, age cheese, boil maple sap into syrup, plant wheat, plough with draft horses, raise chickens, and slaughter your own pigs—the list could go on and on—at so many farms throughout the country. Conversations with Farmers Not only was it an energizing experience causing me to wonder if I hadn’t chosen the wrong profession, but, it raised the bar as far as the word “entrepreneur" is concerned. The workshops underscored what I have recognized in my many conversations with farmers and farm educators, state agricultural administrators, and local food retailers. The creativity that it takes to run a farm today is akin to the creativity that I saw in the art world four decades ago in New York City. Then it was young, talented artists willing to risk everything to win an exhibition in an important SoHo gallery. For the young farmers and food entrepreneurs here in Vermont and the rest of New England, it is all about producing excellent food and living a lifestyle that nourishes in ways that money can’t buy, while helping to educate others in the importance of land management and environmental initiatives that may one day save the planet. Women Farmers I expected bearded men in overalls and mud-stained boots to be the attendees. Instead, the majority of the farmers were women. And the array of bright scarves, chic footwear and well-coifed heads was a surprise. I’d heard that women outnumber men in the category of new farmers in Vermont, but it didn’t hit home until I saw the many women attendees at the workshops, all eager to hear more about what they could do to augment and embellish the farms they loved. Educating the public to the joys of farming was on everyone’s mind but these were also smart farmers who understood the monetary value of educational programs. Not only could the programs provide extra revenue, they often meant employing a few more local people, a benefit to the community. [caption id="attachment_3044" align="alignnone" width="504"]Shelburne Farms barn with chard growing in the foreground A view from the back of the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms[/caption] Cultivating Change I’m inspired by the words of Alec Webb, President of Shelburne Farms, who wrote recently, “Together we are cultivating change for a better world and a more hopeful future.”  The talent I’d seen at the agritourism workshops moved me. I like being part of the wave of enthusiasm about farming by writing about it. To make a positive difference, not only in the world of healthy food, but also in the world of environmental stewardship seems close to my dream of doing something positive for the world. As Alec Webb says, “Together we are are cultivating change…” one small farm at a time. A Bientot, P.S. Be sure to read Farm to School: Not Just a Slogan and Fairfield Farm at The Hotchkiss School: Where Agriculture & Academics Meet.  " ["post_title"]=> string(43) "When the Farm is a School: Shelburne Farms " ["post_excerpt"]=> string(208) "The third in my farm to school series, this post takes a look at my recent experience at Shelburne Farms, a national leader in the farm to school movement and a valued neighbor in close-by Shelburne, Vermont." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(41) "when-the-farm-is-a-school-shelburne-farms" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(186) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/blog/farm-to-school-not-just-a-slogan/ http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/blog/fairfield-farm-at-the-hotchkiss-school-where-academics-agriculture-meet/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-09-27 00:44:27" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-09-27 00:44:27" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=3037" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } ["queried_object_id"]=> int(3037) }
SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG’S FEED

One Response to “When the Farm is a School: Shelburne Farms”

  1. Will Bailey says:

    I also didn’t realize women were farmers more so than men. Now that I think more on it of course they would be.
    I see Northern Connecticut has something going n too. Nice reporting Bronwyn and contributing.

Leave a Reply


 

flickrinejoin

featured events

Food events that have caught my eye.

ArtsRiot Truck Stop!

ArtsRiot Truck Stop!


Dinner Club at Agricola Farm

Dinner Club at Agricola Farm


TASTY PICKS

Good Food & Noteworthy Businesses

Hardwick Beef Ad #2

 


a La Carte Videos

Bronwyn Dunne and Judith Jones Prepare Two Potato Salads at Bryn Teg. See the recipes


Gateau de Crepes- In Molly’s Kitchen.
See recipe from the Smitten Kitchen



Blog Archives