John Klar: Shelburne Farms and Agenda 21 food and climate justice

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Located on the shores of Lake Champlain, Shelburne Farms was founded in 1886 as a model agricultural estate using money from railroad magnate William Henry Vanderbilt. The 1,400-acre property was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 2001.

I have previously reported about the shift of focus of Shelburne Farms from local food and culture to social justice. This bait-and-switch deception is visible in Shelburne Farms’ “Supporting Climate and Food Justice” webpage. Vermont used to teach children how to work in agriculture; the new educational trend is to teach them instead to become food justice warriors. And yes, the dots connect directly to Agenda 21 of the United Nations.

The interconnection of Agenda 21 doctrines is immediately apparent in Shelburne Farms’ stated goals. “Supporting Climate and Food Justice” begins by asking “How can we educators support youth who are grappling with these massive issues?” and then states the answer: “We know that to build youth voice and encourage action for a more just, sustainable, flourishing future, students need to understand not just the impacts of climate change or food insecurity, but to see possible solutions.”

The goal is “framing climate change as a human rights issue,” then “Linking Food and Climate”: “Climate change drives how folks are able to access food. Climate change has impacts on farming and agricultural workers. It can influence whether or not a person can connect to how their community traditionally raised food.”

Shelburne Farms began as a nonprofit devoted to teaching about traditional Vermont agriculture, but now devotes its purpose to teaching young children to become political change agents in a social justice revolution. The web page concludes with the sub-heading “Student Action”: “Presenting solutions and supporting our youth so that students feel agency to take action in their community are both key to a flourishing future.”

It is not clear what food-growing or climate solutions are being presented, aside from political activism. This coincides with some of the resources provided to Vermont educators involved in Shelburne Farms’ social change mission, including a link to an excerpt from “Stumbling Toward Sustainability.” The cited content gushes approvingly of U.N. Agenda 21:

It is crucially important … that educators manage to attain the goals of Agenda 21, Chapter 36 in the United States. … Our educational system … is often inappropriately focused on basic literacy and easily testable knowledge, which does not adequately prepare future citizens to understand current world problems and issues or to craft solutions for them. … We do not fund the infrastructure needed to support a sustained and nationwide implementation of an educational program that educates students for sustainability, and that connects schools to real-world issues, problems, and social change efforts.

The proficiency of Vermont students in core subject areas has declined sharply, which this book advises is “appropriate.” As James Lindsay recounts in his recent book The Marxification of Education, social justice ideology similarly prioritizes “social change efforts” above competence in the core subjects that equip children to function in careers and as informed citizens. This is woven throughout Agenda 21, Chapter 36, which “promotes equity” and education that equips children to obtain “sustainable livelihoods.” It advocates “mobilizing resources and strengthening international cooperation to redress existing economic, social and gender disparities which interfere with these aims.” It is not clear how future generations will obtain “sustainable livelihoods” – perhaps they will work in Chinese solar panel factories, or on manufacturing lines building EV cars.

Shelburne Farms refers viewers to educational resources which include “SubjectToClimate,” which provides “free climate resources for all K-13 subjects.” One course is titled “How Can Education be a Solution to Climate Change?”: “This lesson explores education as a climate change solution and guides students to create their own education project as a means of informing and inspiring positive change.”

“Change” and “action” are keywords in this food education. Last year Shelburne Farms offered a “Climate & Food Justice” webinar:

How can we support youth to explore the interconnectedness of these two global issues and take local, collective action to address both climate and food justice?

One host of this webinar was Dan Castrigano, Chief Content Officer with SubjectToClimate, who offered this testimonial as a teacher: “My students were stunned when they explored infographics from an StC resource. They didn’t realize the extent to which inequality is connected to carbon emissions. It was like an awakening for them.”

Children are being conditioned to fight over food, not grow it. Becoming “woke” — to racial, wealth, gender, and sexual identity disparities — is the core “work” of social justice activism. This permeates curricula in sex education, history, mathematics, and of course climate and food justice. “Stumbling Toward Sustainability” advises educators that “our schools need to prepare students to join this quest,” a “visionary crusade” to create a sustainable world. Sustainability is referred to solely in the abstract, defined as “a new and desperately needed product” requiring “redirecting our national purpose.”

The book claims educating children about “Place” includes “valuing the local knowledge of a place; and becoming committed to restoring and improving the beauty, integrity, and health of one’s native place.” Ironically, this echoes the commission that was once that of Shelburne Farms, but which has been displaced by instruction that Vermont is systemically and historically a white supremacist culture.

U.N.-reinforced NeoMarxist ideology permeates the educational materials on offer by Shelburne Farms. “Stumbling Toward Sustainability” reveals this politicization of food and climate:

Sustainable economics includes … understanding the importance of equity and universal human development as a human right but also as a crucial necessity if humanity is to attain sustainability ….Citizenship includes … the ability to be a catalytic and participatory leader …having a concern for injustice. ….Educational priorities must change so that students spend sufficient time in school activities to develop these skills and the other capacity-building skills that a people must have if they are to move their society toward sustainability.

Much like social justice math and social justice reading, social justice climate and food education “changes priorities” to teach less about climate and food and more about “equity” and “becoming change agents.” Children are being weaponized using environmentalism and U.N. globalism “to define and develop skills and dispositions in youth that will enable them to create a more sustainable world as future workers and as active citizens.”

The education reference materials conclude by claiming this “endeavor is still in the chrysalis stage,” but that the “needed changes” will create a perfect utopia:

When this understanding flowers, our entire society can be mobilized to fashion new ways of living and being that no longer hamper the awesome restorative and life-giving resources of this planet from abundantly supplying us with all we need.

Shelburne Farms is touting U.N. Agenda 21 prescriptions as sustainability politicization through Vermont child education, to “produce new knowledge for a new world … about having the hope and courage to dream of a just, restored, and abundant world filled with treasured, special places.”

Vermont was once a treasured, special place, celebrated for its agrarian common sense, sustainable frugality and self-sufficiency. That is no longer celebrated at Shelburne Farms.

John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield. © Copyright True North Reports 2023. All rights reserved.

Image courtesy of Public domain

4 thoughts on “John Klar: Shelburne Farms and Agenda 21 food and climate justice

  1. I think that what this really all boils down to is the worship of the almighty dollar and then the power that comes from that.

    Mr.Klar, think about this.. this agenda being forced upon us is being created by the WEF and BIG Everything.. the wealth that this fairly small group of unelected people hold is staggering.
    No one has elected these people- and yet they are seemingly controlling this planet because they’ve essentially bought this power with all that wealth.

    So think about the original goals of Shelburne Farm that you stated here- then think about what is going on today..
    What club do you think that Shelburne Farm wants to be in? the frugal, self sufficient Farmers club or the one that all the Elites of the planet are in?
    Where do you see more money coming from?
    I read once that Conservatism is dying because there is no money in it.
    And here we see that is the case.

    I really think that all of this has much to do with what is going on there.
    They are looking at the future- their own future of this establishment- and deciding what wagon to hitch up too.
    They’ve chosen the wagon full of money and now they have a job to do to be in that club..
    And here we see what their job clearly is– to brainwash the people into seeing it their way.
    That is their assignment now for being in the club– they chose wrong in our opinions- but then we (the frugal farmers) are not the ones that will make them rich, powerful and BIG FISH in the small pond of Vermont.
    And that right there is really what they wanted. They followed the money.

  2. Leftist agenda has to create their own false god as all their agenda primarily goes against god and his teachings. Thinking they can control the climate is the epitome of arrogance and stupidity. Just more of the aim to destroy US capitalism and drag the country down to 3rd world status. This is why 86 America haters including becca lgbqrst voted not to condemn socialism atrocity’s…

  3. “Our educational system … is often inappropriately focused on basic literacy and easily testable knowledge, which does not adequately prepare future citizens to understand current world problems and issues or to craft solutions for them.”
    Really? Basic literacy is no good. Literate people are capable of understanding this is so much idiotic BS. Literacy is not “sustainable” when you need brainwashed youth.
    Will this be like Cambodia, where literacy was a capitol crime?
    Farming is very central to “sustainability”, as if that hasn’t been obvious since people began farming.
    This is mind-numbing garbage.
    It’s a shame that such a beautiful place is not to be what it has been, but a center for brainwashing youth with wokeness.

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