Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) is creating the Vermont Food System Atlas website. Ellen Kahler shared the trial version of the site with the legislature in January and plans to launch the official site in March. The site aims to help bring more local food to those who need it. The atlas will serve initiatives such as the State of Vermont Workplace CSA Program, which provides community supported agriculture shares to Vermont state employees. VSJF seeks information, requests and stories from local foodsheds. To submit one, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Farm to Plate Network, established via the Vermont legislation in 2009, strives to double local food access by 2020. This movement helps chefs both to develop direct relationships with local farmers and prepare menus that are local, simple and seasonally fresh. Participating businesses range from small restaurants to institutional food providers. The food system planning committee, formed October 2012, works throughout New England to support each state as they begin to relocalize food systems. To read a recent article in Cornell University’s Small Farms Quarterly, visit smallfarms.cornell.edu.
Philip Ackerman-Leist’s book, Rebuilding the Foodshed, offers solutions for creating local, sustainable food systems. The author, a Green Mountain College professor, showcases “some of the most promising, replicable models for growing, processing, and distributing sustainably grown food.” Ackerman-Leist directs the college’s Farm & Food Project and founded the master’s degree in sustainable food systems. This guide, part of a series called Community Resilience Guides, is available from Chelsea Green. For details, visit chelseagreen.com.
The ninth annual Vermont Grain Growers Conference, “Returning to Our Roots,” takes place Thursday, March 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Essex Resort. Speakers include Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm, who will address ways to grow grains at home to nourish people and livestock and John Mellquist of Trunkenbrod Bakery, who will discuss the complete process of making a homegrown loaf of sourdough bread, from field to oven. For more information and registration, visit uvm.edu/extension/agriculture.
Vermont’s local food hubs are growing. From the Mad River Valley to Burlington’s Intervale, from Calais’s Farms to You to the East Montpelier Food Producers’ Network, these regional centers gather, distribute and market food from local and regional producers. These enterprises work to meet growing local food demands so that they can eventually supply anyone, from individuals to institutions. Supporting local food hubs is key to the Farm to Plate Network goal of doubling Vermont’s local food consumption by 2020. For a food hub listing, visit nofavt.org.
—compiled by Lisa Masé; send food news to email@example.com