Stoddard School Champions School Garden

Originally Posted at Vision 2020; By Laura White, James Faulkner Elementary

At James Faulkner Elementary School in Stoddard, our vision states that we see students “working on real projects.”  One way we work to incorporate this into the day-to-day life of the school is through our school garden.  A garden provides numerous opportunities for academic integration at all grade levels, whether it is calculating the volume of a raised bed, making change at the dismissal-time farm stand, reading recipes in order to cook our home-grown produce or learning about the prepositions “above” and “below” while studying the parts of the potato plant.

What Could A Stronger Local Food System Accomplish?

Imagine if we invested more resources into our local food and farm economy.
What could a stronger local food system accomplish?

Thanks to the Great Falls Food Hub, food economist Ken Meter visited our region this fall. Ken compiled “Local Farm & Food Economy” data from four counties: Cheshire & Sullivan of New Hampshire and Windham & Windsor of Vermont.

While many local farm and food system organizations came together to learn more during Ken’s visit – his work inspires action across multiple disciplines such as health, energy, and community economic development.

How can we continue this dialogue?

Healthy Eating/Vision 2020

One way to continue the dialogue around what a stronger food system could accomplish is through community initiatives like Vision 2020 (empowering our county to become that healthiest in the nation by 2020).

Imagine if we invested more resources into our local food and farm economy.
What could a stronger local food system accomplish?

We Could Live Healthier Lives

People who eat more local food tend to eat more fruits and vegetables – one indicator of healthy eating that Vision 2020 tracks.

Perhaps you’ve joined a Community Supported Farm and experienced the weekly influx of fruits and vegetables to your kitchen. Maybe your child’s school is growing local food and inspiring you to prepare healthier meals at home.  Has choosing more local food changed the way you eat?

How We Live Now: The True Cost of Cheap Food

In the United State, 6 out of the 10 leading causes of death are attributed to poor diet and low physical exercise. By 2018 40-45% of all school age children will be insulin dependent, becoming the first generation in our country’s history to die at a younger age than their parents. The percentage of young people who are obese has more than tripled since 1980.

In Keene, 60% of residents are overweight (36%) or obese (24%) and the Great Falls Region spends $58 million each year treating conditions caused by being overweight and $379 million to treat the conditions caused by obesity.

How We Can Live: Vision 2020

How can Vision 2020 and our work to strengthen the local food system blend into one initiative? Can money spent on treating disease be shifted to increasing access to healthy, local food for all? Recently, a work group of community members formed to create an action plan to increase healthy eating. Local food system work needs to be at the table. For more information about the Healthy Eating Work Group contact Linda Rubin at or 354-5400 ext 3930.

Other ways to continue this dialogue?