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Save The Date: Summer Harvest Fest 2016, VFFC’s Annual Auction Dinner and Farm Festival!

Sunday, August 14, 2016  at Vermont Farmers Food Center, 251 West Street Rutland, VT

  • Festivities begin at 3pm 
  • Locally Grown Farm Feast
  • Art, Auction, Music & More
  • Call now to reserve your tickets 802-342-4727, $40 per person, kids 6 and under free.
  • Volunteers and Donors Welcome, email vfmrutland@gmail.com 
  • Proceeds benefit completion of VFFC’s Farmers Hall Market and Events Center, A new Commercial Food Processing Facility, A new Four Season Food Storage and Prep building and Development of Community Garden Area
  • Stay tuned for exciting updates as the date approaches! 
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VFFC Works To Fill Processing, Aggregation and Storage Needs For Local Food Producers

In the last several years, there have been explorations into developing a shared-use, commercial kitchen in Rutland.  The Vermont Farmers Food Center recognizes there is a need for a commercial kitchen as well as food aggregation and storage facilities.  We’ve recently completed a community survey and are compiling the results to better understand and fill the specific needs. We’re now working on transitioning from our feasibility study into the implementation phase. Our goal is to increase our capacity to contribute to the many food access and food system development efforts in the Rutland region.

What is a Shared-Use Kitchen?

The concept of a Shared-Use Kitchen is to assist food entrepreneurs by providing access to commercial kitchen equipment in a shared-use space, to prepare and process food for the consumer and wholesale market.  The facility will meet all state and federal licensing regulations while also providing a supportive environment for incubating business ideas.

What are Food Aggregation and Storage Facilities?

These are buildings designed to increase the capacity of farmers and food entrepreneurs to store crops, ingredients and product while also creating marketing and distributions options.  Features include multiple temperature and humidity controlled storage environments, loading docks, and office space.  This facility will also meet all state and federal licensing regulations.

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Health Care Share

Health Care ShareA new initiative began to take root early last spring at the Vermont Farmers Food Center.  Inspired by an existing program in Richmond, Vermont and conversations at weekly market with farmers, activists and passionate people swapping stories about innovative farming and food ventures, a new project found footing in our community. The program is called the Health Care Share. It is a Farm-to-Patient collaborative initiative working with farmers, doctors, community health teams and local non-profits, to provide access to healthy foods for families and individuals who struggle with food insecurity and chronic health issues affected by diet.

Doctors refer patients and the Health Care Share provides free farm shares of local produce for twelve weeks of the growing season. Participants are supported in creating healthy eating habits through cooking and nutrition classes offered by VFFC, RAFFL and Hunger Free Vermont. Recipes, storage tips and shopping strategies are also provided in weekly newsletters.

Food for the shares is aggregated through a Farmers Network cooperative comprised of local, small scale and beginning farmers; Alchemy Gardens, Breezy Meadows, Homegrown Garden and Yoder Farm. The Health Care Share creates a wholesale market for local farmers and inspires lasting health and lifestyle changes. The Vermont Farmers Food Center in alliance with local and state partners, is thrilled to bring the Health Care Share to Rutland.

For more information about Health Care Shares and volunteer opportunities contact, Heidi Lynch, Program Coordinator, vffc.heidi@gmail.com 802-342-4219

Thank you for your support! We look forward to growing this initiative together.

Check out the model program run by our partners at The Farm at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps: http://www.farmatvycc.org/#!health-care-share/cr43

Rutland Region Farm to Plate Forums: Thursday March 24th

Growing & Strengthening our Farm & Food SystemF2P

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Time: 2-4:00 pm
Location: Opera House conference room (59-67 Merchants Row, 3rd floor, Rutland)
Meeting of farmers, food producers, organizations and supportive entities that want to see thriving farms in Rutland County. Presentations and discussions on trends and opportunities in the regional farm and food system.

Rutland Area Food Producers:
Creating a Committed Costumer Base
Thursday March 24th, 4:30-6:30pm
Vermont Farmers Food Center (251 West Street, Rutland)
All food producers in the Rutland area are invited to actively participate in this facilitated forum, along with others interested in the challenges and successes of consumer engagement for local farms and food producers.
Appetizers and refreshments provided by Roots.
Panelists include:
• Mari Omland, Green Mountain Girls Farm
• Callie Hastings, Fat Toad Farm
• Bonnie Kelsey, All the Best Local
• Chad Fox, Thomas Dairy

Après Farmers and Friends Mixer @ The Hop n’ Moose 7pm

First 12 Weeks of Health Care Share Program Complete

Share Week 10

Health Care Share week 10

The Vermont Farmers Food Center completed our first season of the Health Care Share program with a grand finale full of apples thanks to collaboration with Salvation Farms!

Theresa&Greg unload apples at VFFC

Unloading apples at VFFC

 Wednesday September 23rd marked the final weekly aggregation and distribution of 75 shares to Rutland County residents, for the 2015 growing season.

Volunteers pack shares

Volunteers pack shares

We couldn’t have done it without our wonderful volunteers who helped make it happen each week! Big Thanks! 

Check out the great stories from this summer below and Check our Blog for updates on how you can support this innovative Farm to Patient collaboration in our Community at the Vermont Farmers Food Center.

Youth Crew making Gazpacho

Youth Crew making Gazpacho  Health Care Share story on VPR by Nina Keck

 

 

 

Taste of Rutland Farms: Great Success! Thank YOU!

TRFE              TRFE2
We did it! On August 16th friends, family, farmers, folks from near and far came pasted-imagetogether to demonstrate, once again, commitment to our community, our working landscape, local foods, local businesses and investment in the future of a resilient and sustainable Vermont Farmers Food Center. We exceeded our fundraising goals and filled our bellies with hands down the best tasting foods from Rutland County Farms and small food businesses. Everyone offering time, skills, items, services, food, creativity and generosity made it all happen.  This was a great start of the many more events to come. Thanks for being part of the Rutland Renaissance and supporting the Vermont Farmers Food Center. Thanks To  All :

Jackson Whelan & Lenny Montuori – Alderman David Allaire –  Alderman William Notte  Alderman Sharon Davis -Alderman Chris Siliski-  Killington Resort – Laurel Austin  – Jim McNeil – Good Karma Kitchen- Bomoseen Bread Basket-  Green Mountain Flyer – Yoder Farm –  Chuck Trombley –  Paramount Theatre –  Charlie Brown -Neighbor Works –   Green Mountain National Golf Course-  Boardman Hill Farm -Johnson Energy – Gilmores – The Foundry at Killington-  SE Smith Service- Mitzi Ray-  Mark Hamilton – Sargent Appraisal Services – Chris Cartier and    Master Chef Steve Lamphere – Avery Cox – Joe Kraus – Bill Cretzer -Bill Loshen- Brian Harrington – Eldred French- Victorian Inn & Restaurant Wallingford – Sarah Haynes – Maya Zelkin Pottery, Shrewsbury – Cragin Gun Shop – Lillian Shreeren-  Motivation Studio – Holiday Inn – Trak Inn Lake Bomoseen- Wallingford Pottery – Woodards Marine Lake Bomoseen- Telescope- Caren Helms – Mark Quesnel – Fortunas – Eric Oesterle – The Bog Stompers- Engine Joe – Painted Elephant – Beth Weinberg – Marilyn Griffith- Senator Mullen- Taren Slate – Little Harry’s – Evening Song Farm – Garden Tenders- Radical Roots Farm – Lake Champlain Shoreline Cruises – Brandon House of Pizza- Vermont Soup & Sandwich –  Ambrosia – SAGE -Dollhouse Restaurant & Bakehouse Stafford Tech – Lindsay Courcelle –  Kelley in VT –  Sara Haynes- April Kuhl –  Garden Time –  West Side Napa –  John Firliete  – Taking Root – Gills Delicatessen – Diane Alberts –  Michael Gadway – Holiday Inn –  Slithy Toves  Speak Easy Café –  Indira – Michel Kersten – Lexi Moore – Strangefellows Pub – Olga – Tom Hubbard – Theresa Haywood – Countryside Glass –  Browns Orchard -Potters Orchard – Anon – Green Mountain Fresh – Wonderfeet –  Firebird -Thrive Center – Ann Hunt Vermont Achievement Center – Get Cracking Kitchen  Michel Kersten – Potters’ Stone – SourWood Mountain Orchard  – Yvonne Daley  Curtis Lumber – Whistle Pig Rye –  Diane & Jim McCoy –   Jean Yeager – Bumble & Co – Shacksbury Cider-  Burnham Hollow – YongLa Nam – Rich Carlson-  Grace Congregational Church – Wayne & Kathleen Krevetski – Cathy Hock Julie Diers – Michelle  – Beth & Bernie Carr – Raeann & Bo O’Con – Dan O’Connor   Universal Unitarian Church – Dave Engels –  Mike Esposito –  Jane Pappas – PEGTV-  Marilyn Griffith –  Jack Crowther –  NECI Students –  Maura Wildman – Heidi Lynch   Greg & Gay Cox – Ryan & Rachel Yoder – Meadow Squire & Josh Brill – Rob Steingress – Patricia Seward – ThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyou!

Art Installation, Website Updates, New Wooden Framed Sign, Design Drawings for Future Facility, SAGE Good Food Bus!

Come see it all on Sunday, July 5th, from 3-6 pm at our 3 Year Anniversary Celebration! Many exciting projects have taken place since we first started renovations at 251 West Street and transformed the space into the Art Meets FoodVermont Farmers Food Center.  Every day members of our community chip in and chip away at bringing to life the creative, agricultural, food, multifunctional space that is the Vermont Farmers Food Center.  Hear about current projects underway, see drawings and concept sketches for future site renovation designs, kids hop on the SAGE Good Food Bus for snacks and activities, see our new wooden sign, new website design and Art installation, bring your family, your ideas, feedback, skills to share and let’s Celebrate!

Frame for our new Sign

 

Volunteer With Us This Summer

Youth Works Weeding

If you drive by the Vermont Farmers Food Center today you will see Youth Works volunteers outside planting begonias, stacking bricks for our pathway, mulching around raised beds and weeding. Youth Works is just one of the volunteer groups we will be hosting this summer. Not only will volunteers be helping to make our 251 West Street Building, gardens and community more beautiful, they will also be playing a crucial role in carrying out the Health Care Sharbegoniase initiative here at VFFC.

Every Wednesday from July 8th- September 23rd, volunteers and vegetables will gather at our indoor market space. From 10am-2pm the fresh foods, delivered that morning by local farmers, will be weighed, recorded, divided and packed into 75 bags. These bags will be picked up by Health Care Share participants later that afternoon.

Health Care Share participants are motivated to improve their health. They have committed to eating more vegetables and fruits, learning news ways to cook and eat healthy and local.

Join us! Come volunteer! Work along side farmers, students of agriculture and food systems, Rutland County youth groups, state and local non-profit members, grassroots organizations and community. All for the benefit of better health and supporting our regional food Youthworks Plantingand farm economy.

Show up on a Wednesday this summer here at the Vermont Farmers Food Center check out what’s happening or contact Heidi at vffc.heidi@gmail.com (802)342-4219 to sign up you or your group to be involved in this community initiative.

*Join us this Sunday, July 5th for our Three Year Anniversary Celebration @ 251 West St. from 3-6pm Food, Music, Current Projects, Future Plans, Community Feedback!

Solar Array for VFFC – IndieGoGo Campaign!

Here is our Big Dream – Harness the Sun!

The city of Rutland wants to be the solar capital of the Vermont, and folks at the Vermont Farmers Food Center want to join that effort. Our next big step is to build a 13kw solar array on top of our rear building to reduce our electricity usage from the grid. We acknowledge climate change and want to do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint. Our very own solar plant will get us there.

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Growing Our Way Forward: Rutland Reader Article by Joanna Tebbs Young

VFFC says “Thank You” to Joanna Tebbs Young, who wrote an article in the Rutland Reader describing VFFC’s community gardens and other future plans:

Growing Our Way Forward: Rutland’s rep is on the rise – as a food mecca
Rutland Reader
April 9, 2014
By Joanna Tebbs Young

The city’s neighbors tell tourists “Rutland is the food mecca of Vermont.” This, according to Greg Cox, president of the Vermont Farmers Food Center (VFFC), is the word from towns who send visitors Rutland’s way. And it doesn’t stop there. We have the largest (and best from Boston to Burlington, according to many) year-round farmer’s market in the state. Young farmers are settling here because of the support they receive.

All this is just what Cox wants to hear. But that doesn’t mean he’s putting his (gardening)fork down yet.

Cox and VFFC have big plans on their plate so the community can have nutritious food on theirs.

Read more of this article, to learn about VFFC’s vision and future plans in regards to the new community garden and upcoming teaching kitchen.