On a seemingly common, autumn afternoon in Central Vermont, the uncommon occurred. Food purchasers and chefs came together with local farmers at Food Works’ 6th Annual Chef-Farmer Retreat for the Farm-to-Table Program. The Farm-to-Table Program provides year-round, subsidized, fresh, local produce to fifty five meal sites serving those who are “nutritionally at risk.” These sites include senior centers, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, community mental health programs, schools, and early childhood centers.
Alongside pots of steaming black bean and tomato chili, roasting rutabaga fries, and sumptuous squash cornbread, many of the key players from our local food system sat down to reflect and build on the foundation of the Farm-to-Table Program. Conversations transpired about budgetary issues that many food purchasers face, food storage and processing possibilities, and the potential for food and/or labor specific currencies.
Exchanges that occurred will undoubtedly prove to be the beginning of a long running dialogue, linking those who produce nutritious, local food to those who strive to prepare, serve, and ultimately consume, nutritious, local food.