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#Farm24VT Invites You May 18th and 19th!

Are you HUNGRY to see where your food comes from? Do you LOVE to eat local? Then you're invited to #Farm24VT!
Vermont farmers, agribusinesses, food producers, and other friends in our ag community will share photos, videos, and stories on social media, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how your favorite Vermont foods get to your table.
Watch as they milk livestock, care for baby animals, tend the land, make cheese, plant crops, and more!
The fun gets underway on May 18 at 5:00 a.m. and runs for a full 24 hours. Search for the #Farm24VT hashtag on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to see a day in the life of Vermont agriculture and food production. Like, comment, ask questions, and share.
And stay tuned throughout the day because we'll be giving away lots of amazing prizes, showcasing the best of Vermont agriculture, food, and dairy.
Learn more at www.farm24vt.com.

'No-Mow-May' Let's Pollinators Play!

By Brooke Decker, VAAFM Apiary Program Manager

An increasingly popular conservation initiative called ‘No-Mow-May’ is blooming across the nation. This initiative follows the ‘less-is-more’ wisdom we often hear from our parents and is now a popular environmental mantra of the day. By simply eliminating or sharply reducing the mowing of your lawn and allowing more flowers to bloom offers bees and other pollinators a wonderful playground of floral resources at a critical time in their lifecycle. Studies have shown this simple act can increase abundance and diversity of wildlife in your yard, especially pollinators.

‘No-Mow-May’ will allow you the time to enjoy observing the diversity of nature in your lawn. Dandelions are often the most noticeable of the spring lawn flowers. They provide abundant nutritional resources for pollinators, especially bees. Observing flowers during a sunny day will display numerous insect guests.  Honey bees, bumble bees, or some of Vermont’s other 400 native bee species are likely visitors.

As the love for your lawn flowers grows, you might consider mowing less frequently the rest of the year. When mowing becomes necessary, setting the cut height of 4-5 inches allows for better habitat regrowth and continued pollinator benefits during the summer months. Consider turning your lawn into a “bee lawn” by seeding Dutch clover and other low growing flowering plants like creeping thyme, self-heal and native violets.

For a real-life pollinator paradise, consider ‘No-Mow-May’!

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Fantastic Farmer 2022!

Starting May 1, the Agency is taking applications for the Fantastic Farmer Award! This award hopes to support farmers in their efforts to grow, cultivate, and deliver their products to the consumer, in a way that respects the heritage, culture, and environmental stewardship that our farmers and farming community strive for every day. In collaboration with The Vermont Community Foundation, VAAFM is coordinating this award program that recognizes the values we listed above.  A $5000 grant award, recommended by the Pizzagalli Family and the A. Pizzagalli Family Farm Fund, recognizes one farmer each year who has displayed these virtues.  The deadline to apply is May 31. Apply or nominate someone today!! **IMAGE - 2021 Fantastic Farmer recipient Cameron Clark (center).
Working Lands 2021 Impact Report Released
INVESTING IN VERMONT’S FOOD, FOREST AND FARM ECONOMY

By Lynn Ellen Schimoler, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

The 2021 Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Impact Report is now available.

Focus areas and funding categories are annually assessed by the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) to ensure adequate attention toward the priority issues and needs of the agricultural and forestry industries. Investments are designed to support businesses at pivotal stages of development.

Over 64,000 Vermonters are directly employed by over 11,000 farms and food-related businesses. With nearly 78 percent of its landscape forested, Vermont’s culture and economy has come to rely on healthy and productive forests. Annually, Vermont’s forest products industry generates $1.5 billion in economic output supporting 10,000 jobs in forestry, logging, processing, woodworking, construction, and wood heating.

Working Lands Enterprise Fund (WLEF) investments are able to respond to emerging and impending needs, sectors and markets that have potential and/or challenges. For the Fiscal Year 2021 grant cycle, the WLEB funded Supply Chain Impact Business Grants ranging $25,000-$75,000 per award.

•Production and Processing in Agriculture – Enhancing production of value-added agriculture or forest- based products and/or manufacturing efficiencies, transitioning to operation as a new processor or expansion as an existing processor, addressing known bottlenecks along the supply chain.

•Low Grade Wood Equipment – To produce, screen, weigh, or package, wood fuel (firewood, pellets, or chips) for heating; kiln or flow-through dryers; increase commercial sawmill throughput or efficiency.

Technical and business assistance awards to Service Provider organizations focused on business succession planning, marketing development, access to capital and enterprise tools to navigate Covid-19. This chart represents the industry sectors where WLEI has made investments since its inception, for business grantees.

Join us at Gosliga Farm July 16th for Breakfast on the Farm 2022! 
Click here to get tickets!
Five Vermont Food Hubs Win $300K to Help Access and Distribute Local Food Product

By Scott Waterman, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets is pleased to announce $300,000 in sub-awards to five regional nonprofit food hubs as part of a 2021 Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) award. NBRC is a Federal-State partnership to advance economic development and infrastructure in economically distressed counties across Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. In Vermont, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) serves as the State-side of this partnership, identifying those opportunities for NBRC investment that will strengthen the local economy and quality of life for all Vermonters.

This investment will support Vermont food hubs with critical infrastructure needs, allowing them to support more farm and food businesses, expand their workforce, and advance ongoing efforts to access larger markets. These awards recognize the need for more local food collection and distribution experienced by Vermont food hub organizations and the supply chain disruption impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is a “food hub”?  A food hub is a business that offers local supply chain support to collect, distribute, and market local food products from various farms and producers. They may sell local produce, meat, dairy, value-added products, or baked goods to wholesale, retail, or institutional markets, and ensure the buyer knows where each product came from through source-identification. Many of Vermont’s food hubs also provide farm to school program support, consumer education, transparent pricing, and high-quality customer support.

Awarded projects include:

  • Food Connects in Brattleboro, VT will use $95,764 to help build out their cold, frozen, and dry storage capacity in their new aggregation space. This will expand their capacity to serve markets in Boston, New York City, and Washington, DC, in collaboration with Vermont Way Foods.
  • Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick, VT will use $71,823 to support the outfit of their 3,000 square foot space at the Yellow Barn project, doubling their local product storage capacity. This will support expanded frozen inventory for their Just Cut program, serving institutional markets, and better position Farm Connex to distribute to Boston, New York City, and other regional markets in partnership with Vermont Way Foods.
  • ACORN in Middlebury, VT will use $60,618 to build a centralized aggregation and distribution space for rural farms/producers to store their products. This will allow for larger distribution networks and retail locations to have more streamlined access to Addison County products year-round.
  • Vermont Farmer’s Food Center in Rutland, VT will use $37,348 to purchase a new cargo van fit up for refrigeration to transport regional products to their aggregation space. This will allow them to strengthen their supply chain logistics role along the Route 7 corridor, allowing for regional haulers increased access to Rutland County food products.
  • Intervale Center in Burlington, VT will use $34,447 to purchase, outfit, and install a walk-in deep freezer that will double frozen storage capacity at the Intervale Food Hub. This will help maintain year-round availability of highly desired frozen products and allow them to pilot an expansion of direct-to-consumer shipping of local product to statewide and regional markets.

A priority focus of this NBRC award is to expand Vermont producers’ access to out-of-state metropolitan markets and support opportunities for farm and food producers of many sizes to access new markets in cities like Albany, Boston, and New York City. 

This award recognizes the importance of bolstering regional food system infrastructure. Food hubs play a critical role in supporting farm and food businesses of all sizes, offering an ability to aggregate, store, distribute, and market products from all over the state, maintaining source identification, transparency in pricing structures, and values-led relationships with producers. While many businesses rely on robust markets outside of Vermont to sustain or grow their enterprise, distribution bottlenecks make this difficult.

The Vermont Agriculture and Food System Plan notes that a “lack of in-state warehousing and cross-docking makes distribution throughout the state less efficient” and that “delivery to metropolitan areas is logistically challenging,” even though these larger cities offer significant market opportunity.  NBRC funding aligns with the Vermont Agriculture and Food System Plan’s Priority Strategy #7, which calls for “significant investment in storage, processing, and distribution infrastructure to…expand regional market access for businesses and increase the resilience of local supply chains.” This funding will not only support each individual entity, but allow for increased collaboration, shared infrastructure, and greater efficiency between food hubs in different parts of the state to reach beyond Vermont’s borders.

More May 2022 Edition Articles
New Vermont Dairy Promotion Council Logo Helps Spread the Word about Vermont Dairy!

By Scott Waterman, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

Since 1983, the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council has managed the money raised in Vermont from the Dairy Checkoff Program.  A panel consisting of Vermont dairy farmers, industry experts and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets officials, the council considers how best to leverage the funds raised from milk sales to increase consumer awareness about the benefits of dairy and the importance of farm raised milk to our state’s economy, heritage and culture.

Starting this spring and rolling out prominently during Dairy Month in June is a new logo created to brand the efforts of the council in the name of Vermont Dairy Farmers.  The logo visual embraces the heritage of Vermont’s Dairy Farmers connection to the animals, land and environment that gives Vermont its unique sense of place, while also displaying the incredible products that feed our families, friends and communities.   Look for this logo and celebrate the benefits of Vermont Dairy Farmers!

Photo Above: Meet Cameron Clark, the 2021 Fantastic Farmer Award Recipient!
Apply to be considered for the 2022 Fantastic Farmer Award!
More Articles
MORE IN THE FULL MAY 2022 ISSUE OF AGRIVIEW

View From 116
Recipe: Pesto with Wild Leeks/Ramps
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
Women-Owned Working Lands Businesses Benefit
Spring Stress Check
Celebrating 10 Years of Water Quality Partnership
​Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center Update
Farm Feature: Jericho Settlers Farm
Vermont Vegetable and Berry Grower News
2021 Working Lands Program Impact Report Released
Raising Poultry for Meat 
2022 Vermont Fairs and Field Days Schedule

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