Since 2011, the Hunger Mountain Cooperative Community Fund (HMCCF) has distributed a total of $52,952 in community grants. These annual grants provide financial support to businesses, organizations, and initiatives aligned with the co-op’s mission of building dynamic communities of healthy individuals and sustainable local food systems. In 2018, the total grants awarded reached $7,650, given to seven different organizations, for a variety of projects ranging from the purchase of a commercial stove or freezer to retrofitting a barn for a vegetable wash/pack station.
Salvation Farms received $1,500 toward outfitting their Lamoille Valley Gleaning cooler space. Theresa Snow, executive director, says, “It will allow us to really serve the greater community. It will really help us move more food into the local community and engage more volunteers and partners. We will be able to help farmers feed their community in a way that they can’t. The HMCCF grant is helping make that possible.”
Capstone Community Action received $1,000 toward adding freezer capacity to their food shelf. A new double-door freezer was installed at their facility last month. “The new freezer allows us to open our doors daily with more available product, reduce wait times, and provide a better selection for our customers. It improves our efficiency because the staff does not need to restock as often during the day, allowing for better interactions with customers who may not be familiar with some products,” says Morgan Brown, Development Coordinator at Capstone.
Good Samaritan Haven received $1,150 toward purchasing a new commercial freezer, which they use daily. Shelter Manager Judi Joy says, “Many of our meals are donated, but we frequently have to have food in the house to prepare meals for our 30 guests, and without the frozen food we have on hand, we would be hard-pressed to provide for everyone. Without the freezer, I would have had to refuse many turkeys, hams, big pots of various soups, and prepared casseroles. The freezer has been a blessing for us!”
Ananda Gardens received $500 toward a barn retrofit for their wash/pack station. The money helped pay for one-fourth of the cost of the materials purchased to insulate the barn, which has all been installed, along with a number of other improvements. Farm Manager Patrick Sullivan says, “We are very grateful for the help, as the infrastructure costs of farming are very high. Everything helps, and we make sure to be as resourceful as we can so that our access to funds goes a long way in helping us create a local organic farm for our community.”
Another Way Community Center received $1,500 toward a commercial kitchen stove upgrade. They are currently in the process of working out the details for the purchase of the stove.
Twin Valley Senior Center received $1,500 toward a commercial freezer purchase, which will allow the center to use more locally sourced food. “Having the commercial freezer allows the center to freeze fresh, local produce at its peak and use it when fresh produce is in shorter supply and more expensive. So, seniors are getting more nutritious food, more locally sourced food, and for less expense,” says Rebecca Schrader, the center’s volunteer grant writer.
Steadyfoot Farm received $500 toward increasing cold storage capacity. They are currently in the design and planning stages and are looking forward to increasing capacity this growing season. “It will fulfill our need to maintain ideal storage temperatures throughout various seasonal conditions, especially because we are anticipating an increase in production over the next year with the addition of a high tunnel on our farm,” says Steadyfoot’s Allison Gulka. “Because our main markets are small local grocery stores, increased cooler space will enable us to harvest and store crops more efficiently, and increase the quality and quantity of local foods that we can bring to small grocers in our area.”
Now through March 31, Hunger Mountain Co-op customers can donate to the co-op’s Community Fund by rounding up their purchase to the next dollar. That spare change will go toward community grants awarded to area organizations like these and their vital projects in the coming years, creating a ripple effect of impacts throughout our local food system and healthy local communities. Customers can also opt into being asked to round up their purchase when they check out by visiting customer service or the co-op website at hungermountain.coop.
This text was provided by Hunger Mountain Co-op.