Local Food News

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Civil Eats profiles Vermont’s local food progress

In an article you’ve probably seen bouncing around social media, Civil Eats took a look at the work that Vermont lawmakers, nonprofits, and activist have done in the past ten years to increase locally produced and consumed food.

While the article lauds the state’s many farmers’ markets and farms shares – 42 direct-to-consumer market places per 100,000 Vermonters! – focus is also given to the willingness of local officials to participate in these efforts. For example, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund’s Farm to Plate program includes representatives from 13 state agencies, and lawmakers from Vermont routinely introduce bills that support smaller-scale farmers and food producers.

In short: “Over the last decade, Vermont’s lawmakers, businesses, farmers, and schools have done more to re-localize its food system that any other state, bar none.”

We’ll take it. Now, let’s continue the good work!

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“Hunger in Vermont: Plenty of Food, But Still Falling Short”

“Food is our most basic human need. . .  Where is the political will to end hunger?”

– Judy Stermer, Vermont Foodbank

Read more at The Bridge.

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School Garden Forum: Spring into the school garden curriculum!

Calling all school garden coordinators! Due to popular demand, the CVFSC is coordinating another School Garden Forum on the topic of integrating gardens into curriculum. Many devoted school garden coordinators already work student-run gardens into their lessons, but there are many resource available to do so across all subjects! Join us at Northfield Middle & High School on April 15th for a tour of the student gardens, tastings from the school’s pizza oven, and hand-on demonstrations of curriculum activities. It will be a great opportunity to connect with curriculum resources and network with fellow garden coordinators. Please RSVP to Karen at karen.nelson@state.vt.us so we can best prepare for the event.

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Event: Have a Taste of Buying Local

If you’ve ever been interested in buying more of your food from local vendors, join us on April 11 in Barre for our Have a Taste of Buying Local event. In partnership with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, the event will include information about Community Supported Agriculture, food stands, and farmers markets, as well as the opportunity to ask questions! Come learn about how to maximize your local buying power and enjoy local tastings provided by NECI. We hope to see you there!  

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Food Atlas

In case you haven’t already explored it, Farm to Plate’s Food Atlas is a great resource whether you’re looking for a specific food resources or simply trying to get a general picture of Vermont’s food system. You can search by geography, service, or product.  Take a look at Washington County’s resources:

Food Producers in Washington CountyFood producers in Washington County

Food Distributors in Washington CountyFood distribution in Washington County

Food Processors in Washington CountyFood processors in Washington County

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Explore Vermont’s Food System!

farmtoplateLast month, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund released the Farm to Plate annual report. The document included some interesting and encouraging information about Vermont’s food system:

  • 4,189 new food systems jobs were created between 2009 and 2013. That’s a 7.2% increase!
  • More businesses are sourcing local food, including Sodexo which spent $3.2 million on local food and UVM Medical Center which spend $1.6 million on local food in 2014.
  • Since 2009, the number of food manufacturing firms have seen a 37% increase!

Read more of the report HERE.

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What do we know about national trends?

Farms with intermediated sales of local foods are located largely in urban counties. Source: USDA Economic Research Service, data from Census of Agriculture, 2012; Agricultural Marketing Service, 2014.

In a recent report, the USDA explored the local and regional food systems that exist throughout the country. It detailed the latest economic information on local producers and consumers and identified policies that could support local growth.

As the USDA’s blog notes, “Such up-to-date information on local foods is critical for understanding the evolution, growth and effects of local and regional food systems.”

Read a summary of the report at the USDA’s blog here or take a look at the report itself here.

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