The Burlington School Food Project
The Burlington School Food Project (BSFP) is Vermont’s largest Farm to School program (www.farmtoschool.org), encompassing the entire Burlington School District, and is widely recognized as a model program for the rest of the state and country. BSFP is a collaborative project of Burlington Schools Food Service, City Market/Onion River Co-op, Friends of Burlington Gardens/Healthy City Youth Initiative, Shelburne Farms’ Sustainable Schools Project and VT FEED (Food Education Every Day), in affiliation with the Burlington Food Council and the Burlington Legacy Project.
The district-wide effort employs a farm to school coordinator for its food service program and benefits from the varied input of multiple community partners and many dedicated community volunteers. Originally funded with a USDA Community Food Project Grant in 2003, the city has been able to continue and expand on the work past the grant’s original ending date of 2006.
Mobile Vegetable Farm Stands
The Association of Africans Living in Vermont’s New Farms for New Americans program is working to establish mobile vegetable stands in and around the City of Burlington, particularly at public housing complexes. The Burlington Food Council provided support for grant applications and helped to build momentum for this project.
The City’s Climate Action Plan
Burlington’s City Council first voted to participate in the “Cities for Climate Protection” campaign in 1996. Since then, the city has passed multiple resolutions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The first Climate Action Plan was adopted in 2000 and is viewable on the City’s Climate Action Plan website:
The Council participated in Climate Action Plan strategies by providing feedback and guidance about action steps.
There are many environmental, social and economic benefits to increasing access to fruit and nut bearing trees and shrubs in urban areas. They can act as carbon sinks, help recycle water, improve diet and bring neighbors together. There are risks as well, such as potential pest problems, maintenance and clean up and the viability of plants in low quality urban soils.
The Burlington Food Council worked with partners to create an actionable plan for fruit and nut tree mapping, planting and maintenance for the City of Burlington.
For more information about urban fruit tree programs around the country, see the Resources page.