Garelick Farms Contracted to Provide 135 Schools in Vermont with Milk Essex Junction, Vt - Monday was the start of National School Lunch week and there was something to celebrate at Summit Street School in Essex Junction - a new milk contract that will provide 135 Vermont schools with milk that supports the health of our children, local farms and the environment.
The Agency of Agriculture joined Vermont FEED, the Vermont Food Service Directors association to announce a new contract with Garelick Farms that will provide schools with the choices they've been looking for, milk that comes from Vermont farms in 8 or 10 ounce recyclable plastic bottles and a chocolate milk formula with no high fructose corn syrup.
"The sugar content of flavored milk can be a concern but this formula from Garelick farms, takes out the high fructose corn syrup and reduces the overall sugar content. They've also made sure kids still like it, and will drink it. It's a good way to get more milk and more nutrients into our kids," said Diane Bothfeld, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.
The Vermont Food Service Directors Association (FDA) represents 135 schools in Vermont and has worked for nine years to find a milk supplier that would meet their requirements.
"Due to the ability of the Food Service Directors Association to negotiate a competitive bid process and to distribute through our local food distributor we were able to bring Garelick into the picture in Vermont where it did not exist before," said Bob Clifford, Food Service Director for Chittenden Central Supervisory Union and Co-Director of FDA.
The new milk deal also provides greater support for our Vermont dairy farmers. Last year school milk contained about 40 percent Vermont milk, now 85 to 90 percent of the school milk comes from Vermont farms. The switch to Vermont milk is representative of the growing Farm to School efforts around the state. Abbie Nelson, Director of Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day) said, "More and more of the food in the 52,000 lunches served at Vermont schools every day comes from Vermont.”
Deputy Secretary Bothfeld addressed third graders at Summit Street school about the importance of supporting local farmers and being healthy. "And you know what is really important, that when the milk tastes good and it is the right size, you drink more and I like that because I work with dairy farmers in Vermont and every time you guys drink more milk, they get sales and everyone does real well."
The new contract also allows schools to switch from non-recyclable wax coated cardboard containers to the recyclable plastic. "Recycling is good because if you just threw stuff away all the time it would take up the whole entire world," said Oliver MacGillivary, a Summit Street student.
It seems this switch is a win all around, thanks to the efforts of the Food Service Directors Association.
Source: Vermont Agency of Agriculture
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