SWANTON — The Great Pot Pie Project has provided nutritious, comfort food in the form of chicken pot pies to local soup kitchens and food shelves for two years, and the third year promises to be even more successful.

Saturday, the founder of Seeds for Growth and the mastermind of the Great Pot Pie Project, Andrew Judge, met with Adam Fitzgerald of Guy’s Farm and Yard and Sherry Hooks of Richford, to help distribute 600 birds to 18 families in Franklin County and beyond.

The idea behind the project is simple: Judge procures birds that have been raised in local classrooms provided by the University of Vermont’s Agriculture Department.

Jake Ledoux, chicken

Jake Ledoux with one of the 15 chickens he’ll be raising as part of the chicken pot pie project.

Families from the local area agree to take the birds and raise them in coops provided by Seeds for Growth. Each family raises their share of birds, and at the end of four to five weeks, they give one-third of the birds back to Judge, who then processes them at the Hannaford Career Center with help from their staff.

The remaining two-thirds of the birds are kept by the families to be used for meat.

Families choose the number of chickens they would like to raise, and Judge ensures that they have enough coops to support and protect the birds. Some families take as few as 15 birds, while others choose to take 40 or even 50 birds.

Jane Ledoux and her son Jake are first year participants in the Great Pot Pie Project. “We think it’s an awesome project, and the fact that we can help with the chicken pot pies for those who need them is awesome,” Jane said.

Austin Britch, 13, began raising chickens for the project last year. His parents, Mike LeFrance and Dawn Britch were quick to note that the chickens are truly Austin’s responsibility, and he takes care of all that they need.

For more on the chicken pot pie project, see Monday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.