Support Regeneration Corps! Support our Youth!
This fall, students from schools in the Upper Valley left their screens and spent two days learning on Vermont farms to participate in the pilot launch of Regeneration Corps (RC)! This innovative learning collaboration teaches at the intersection of agricultural literacy, social and environmental justice, climate change, and community organizing, with a focus on hands-on, place-based, experiential learning. RC was designed by a team of educators and organizers from leading organizations in resilience and agriculture and aims to integrate the most pressing issues, while bolstering our local food system and responding to acute needs in the pandemic.
Through Vermont's existing Flexible Pathways and Proficiency Based Learning initiatives, high school students have the opportunity to fulfil academic graduation requirements while gaining critical knowledge and skills in subjects not commonly covered in school curriculums. They also have the opportunity to design their own coursework with a mentor from the organizing team. We have worked closely with farmers to bring students for learning days and volunteer with projects that are helpful to them to have extra hands, like greenhouse construction or tree planting, for instance.
The first phase of this program has been met with gratitude and enthusiasm from schools, students, and farmers. In Spring 2021, we will continue to build and refine the curriculum, as well as expand to additional schools and farms. Ultimately, we seek to develop an adaptable educational framework that can be implemented in schools across Vermont. We are asking for your support so we can continue this important work that meets the urgent needs of youth and communities, during the pandemic and beyond!
Students who participated gave great feedback and food for thought moving forward. These are a few excerpts:
“I definitely found this to be a valuable experience. No class I’ve ever taken in school has covered (or even mentioned) any of the things we talked about during Regeneration Corps. Now that I have a basic knowledge of these concepts, it will be easier for me to seek out more information.”
“I would love to participate in future RC workshops. All of the topics that we covered were interesting to me—it might be helpful if there were different workshops that went more in-depth into just one subject, such as racial justice in the context of climate change or regenerative agriculture’s role in climate change or in racial justice, with more background-level information on the other subjects.”
“I think this was a very valuable experience for me. I don’t think I appreciated farms as much as I do now.”
“I would most definitely recommend the Regeneration Corps to other students and my friends.”
“I learned a lot of new things. I hadn’t previously been aware that climate change was so closely connected to land and food/agricultural systems, and I think the most important thing I learned was that agriculture is responsible for a significant portion of the greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change (before, I’d thought that cars, heating and other fossil fuel emissions were the biggest problem). This actually gives me a lot of hope for the future because agriculture is something that can realistically be regenerative—obviously, it will take a lot of work for regenerative agriculture to become a common practice, but it can be done. explanation).”