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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Farm to Plate ~ August 2 2011

Update from Farm to Plate ~ August 2, 2011

Google Offers Training Events to Build Free Websites

Does your farm or food enterprise need a website? Can your website be used more effectively? GOOGLE wants to help! Google is coming to Burlington and Rutland offering FREE technical assistance. Create and publish a website for your business in less than 60 minutes at these events.

  • Learn how to customize your Google Places online listing.
  • Intuit-led with 50 laptops for business owners to sit down and follow along.
  • Get a free, easy-to-build, professional website.
  • Get a free customized domain name and hosting for one year.
  • Claim and customize your free Google Places listing.
  • Learn how to optimize your new website to be found on Google.

Space is limited, so we highly recommend that you pre-register online to reserve your spot. Choose from three workshops – you can join us for one, or stay for all three. Register Today!

Google WebsitesBurlington
Thursday August 11th and Friday August 12th
Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center (60 Lake Street, enter through Atrium on Battery Street)
Open from 7:30 am - 7:00 pm

Get a Free Website & Google Places – workshop times
8:00 am | 10:30 am | 12:00 pm | 1:30 pm | 4:00 pm | 5:30 pm

Running Your Business Online – workshop times
9:30 am | 3:00 pm

Introduction to Google AdWords – workshop times
10:30 am | 4:00 pm

Rutland
Saturday, August 13th
Cafe Terra (67 Center Street)
8:30 am | Registration & Breakfast
9:00 am | Running Your Business Online
10:00 am | Get a Free Website
11:00 am | Introduction to Google AdWords

 

 

F2P Strategic Plan Update:

Six months after publishing the F2P Executive Summary, we were running out of copies! A reprinted version is now available for $5 to cover postage / handling. Please send a check to VSJF, 3 Pitkin Court, Suite 301e, Montpelier, VT 05602. In the updated Executive Summary, a few minor changes to the original version were made and an errata sheet is on our website

In case you missed it, the Farm Input section of the strategic plan in now available online. Coming soon: Dairy Appendix, Honey, Nutrient Management, and Workforce Development. Visit the F2P website to download PDFs of the full plan.

Food System Grants Available: 

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Capital Improvement Grant Program
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

This program was created by the Vermont Legislature to provide matching grants for capital investments that will support Vermont agricultural producers in obtaining GAP certification. Both GAPs-certified producers, as well as those who are looking towards GAPs certification are eligible to apply. There is a maximum cap among all GAPs Capital Improvements Program grants of $10,000 per farm, and farms must contribute a minimum of 50% of the total project costs. A total of $100,000 is available.

Funding will be disbursed on first come, first serve basis in two grant rounds, with the first grant round open from July 1 to September 30, 2011. The second round will open on November 1, 2011. For eligibility, application instructions, and more info: Chelsea Bardot Lewis, Agricultural Development Coordinator, 802-828-3360.

Meat Processing Capacity Expansion Grant Program
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

This program was created by the Vermont Legislature to provide matching grants for capital investments that will result in increased capacity at meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities in Vermont. A total of $50,000 is available. The eligible use of this funding is capital improvements including, but not limited to: construction costs, materials and equipment, and wastewater system improvements.

In order to qualify for funding consideration a business must: be primarily involved in the processing of meat or poultry products; be providing services to more than five farm businesses; be located (preferably headquartered) in Vermont; and be licensed for either commercial or custom use. Applications are due on Monday, August 22 at 5pm. For eligibility, application instructions, and more info: please contact Chelsea Bardot Lewis, Agriculture Development Coordinator at 802-828-3360.

Dairy News:

Swan Valley Cheese of Swanton, VT had a grand opening celebration on July 26, 2011. The cheese plant has been redone with substantial investment in infrastructure and plant owner Chris Litito states his company is in Vermont for the long haul. Swan Valley Cheese will produce high end Italian Cheeses and Ricotta for wholesale restaurant chain and plan to break into the retail chain at some point. Swan Valley may need as much as 20 million pounds of milk per month.

Commonwealth Yogurt in Brattleboro is up and running and producing yogurt for store brands throughout the region.

The Vermont Cheesemakers Festival was held on July 24 at Shelburne Farms and was well attended. This event showcases Vermont cheeses as well as other products – many of which are deli, restaurant and supermarket buyers.

August 4th through the 6th is the American Cheese Society Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada. Many Vermont cheese makers will attend this conference and take part in the renowned cheese competition. In the past many Vermont cheeses have garnered ribbons as well as “best of show” in the cheese competition. Vermont cheeses are expected to do well again this year.

Land Access Information:

UVM's New Farmer Project Launches the Vermont Agriculture Land Access Database

If you are a farmer or aspiring farmer who is looking for land, farms, or farm employment opportunities, LAD can be one of the many tools you can use to aid in your search. If you are a landowner or farm employer, LAD can help you connect with other farmers or get the word out about the arrangement you are trying to make available. The Vermont Land Access Database is a free service, and support for its creation was provided by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program via the UVM Extension Focusing on Beginning Farmers Project.

For more info: VT Agriculture Land Access Database website.

New Hampshire's Land for Good Programs

Land For Good offers education and assistance to owners and managers of working lands, entering farmers, and other-land use decision-makers in the six New England states. Land for Good programs help owners and managers of working lands develop sound transfer or land use plans, enables affordable and secure access to farmland and farmer homes, and works with partners to develop, improve and promote methods that achieve successful farm transfers.

For more info: Land for Good website.

Weathersfield Farm For Sale through Vermont Land Trust

The Roberts Farm in Weathersfield, a conserved 60 +/- acre farm, is part of the Farmland Access Program at the Vermont Land Trust (VLT). The goal of the program is to provide access to affordable farmland to commercial farmers. VLT is under contract to buy the Roberts farm by October 31, 2011. The VLT is looking for a qualified farm buyer to own and operate the farm, preferably a buyer who will be ready to close on the purchase later this year or early 2012. The asking price is $362,000.

For more info: Jon Ramsay, Farmland Access Program Director, Vermont Land Trust, (802) 533-7705, jramsay@vlt.org

Wanted: Farm to Rent

Certified Organic or could be certified; Tie Stall Barn - 20 to 40 milkers; 40 to 60 acres of pasture land; 20 - 30 acres of hay land. Contact Jasan Matthews at jasan.matthews@yahoo.com or via video phone (888) 870-1952 - please leave message.

F2P in the News:

Community Supported Agriculture

Farm to Plate was recently mentioned in an article on CSAs in Seven Days. The author writes, “In Vermont’s new Farm to Plate Strategic Plan, CSAs play a critical role in achieving one of the key objectives: getting more Vermonters to consume locally produced food.” Read the full article: www.7dvt.com/2011vermont-community-supported-agriculture.

Grocery Service Builds the Vermont Brand

The July 25 Addison County Independent had an article on reaching regional markets in New York and Massachusetts through innovation in online subscription food services that are emerging in Vermont. The article focuses on businesses that aggregate products from small farmers and producers and package them together, such as Graze Delivered and Farmers to You, which represent new growth for Vermont farms in reaching larger markets. Read the full article here.

In the last issue of the F2P Update, we highlighted several of these new online marketplaces, such as Yourfarmstand.com, that are budding across the state.

Governor Shumlin Proposes Changes to the Federal Food Commodity Program

On July 15, the Times Argus reported on Gov. Shumlin's plan to replace USDA's commodity program with a voucher system that would allow states to spend federal nutrition funds on locally grown food. This would allow programs such as the Vermont Foodbank more flexibility to purchase surplus local food in manageable quantities to reduce storage needs and get more local food onto the plates of vulnerable Vermonters.

To read more about the Federal Food Commodity Program or other food security programs:

Upcoming Events:

Crops and Soils Field Day

Thursday, August 4 from 10:00AM to 3:30PM
Borderview Farm, 46 Line Rd, Alburgh, VT

This year’s theme is Cultivating a Healthy Farm! From the ground up, we will highlight healthy soils, healthy crops, and healthy people. Come and see over 2,000 research plots focusing on reduced tillage and cover crops, long term cropping systems and integrated pest management, as well as crop-specific research focusing on different annual forage systems, wheat, barley, oats, flax, oilseed crops and hops.

The program is free of charge for farmers. All others - $20 per person. (CCA credits available). Lunch will be provided featuring local products. For more info: www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil/wp-content/uploads/Crops_Soils_Field_Day2011_web.pdf.

Unlocking the Farm Bill

Thursday, August 4 from 4:15-5:45PM
Vermont Law School, Oakes 007

Highlight of what's good, bad, and possible with the Farm Bill, past and future. Moderated by Mary Jane Angelo, University of FL Levin College of Law Panelists, Marne Coit, Greenfield Research and Consulting LLC, and Tom Berry, Senator Leahy’s Office. For more info: Peg Elmer, 802-831-1405, pelmer@vermontlaw.edu.

NOFA-VT Summer Workshop Series

Upcoming workshops on raising quality pigs, starting a commercial goat dairy, exploring new ideas at an organic dairy farm, weed dating, season extension, GMOs, urban hen houses, homesteading, irrigation systems, equipment and tools for small scale vegetable production, potato production, and much more. To find out about dates and more information on each workshop, visit NOFA-VT's website.

Help Construct a New Grain Room at Naga Bakehouse
Cordwood Building Workshop with Guest Instructor Rob Roy of Earthwood Building School

August 15-19, Middletown Springs

Naga Bakehouse will host a five-day hands-on workshop in cordwood building techniques from August 15-19, 2011. The workshop will be taught by Earthwood Building School Directors, Rob and Jaki Roy and will be held at Naga Bakehouse, a family run wood-fired bakery in Southwestern Vermont. This hands-on workshop will cover Timber Framing, Living Roofs and Cordwood Masonry. Workshop participants will assist in the construction of an octagonal building, complete with a living roof. This building will house a grain mill that will be used to grind locally grown wheat and other grains into flour that is used at the bakery. Registration for the 5 day workshop is $500 per person (includes daily lunch). For more info: Naga Bakehouse, Doug Freilch or Julie Sperling, (802) 235-1282 or (802) 325-3596, nagabake@vermontel.net.

Free Tabling / Product Sampling at Champlain Valley Fair (CVF)
Green Mountain Sampler – Food Producers Wanted!

August 27 – September 5th in the Ware Building, Champlain Valley Fairgrounds

The CVF has created a space to highlight all different food products made in Vermont and would love to have samples of your products to share with fair-goers. Inside there will be everything from cooking demonstrations to culinary competitions as well as live music. The intention is to educate people on the importance and the variety of local agriculture and food and help them make a connection to where their food is coming from.

Any producers who want to table at the fair, need to sign up soon! Download the PDF to learn more and to register to have your product(s) available at the CVF, or contact Karen Bresnahan at 802-878-5545, ext. 36, kbresnahan@cvexpo.org.

Webinar: Working Effectively with Your Processor: Producer Coordination

Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network
Wednesday, August 24, 12:30-1:30PM

This session will focus on how producers doing direct marketing can coordinate with each other – and processors – to make more effective use of existing processing facilities. Speakers include: Kathleen Harris, Processing Coordinator, the Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company, Bruce Dunlop, Island Grown Farmers Cooperative, and Amy Sipes, John’s Custom Meats

The webinar is free and open to the public. A few minutes before start time, go to: www.connect.extension.iastate.edu/nichemeat.

Introduction to Sausage Making

Saturday, August 27, 3:30-5:30PM
Cate Farm in Plainfield

This hands-on workshop focusing on teaching you the tools and techniques needed to start making sausage at home. Vermont Salumi is located on Cate Farm and specializes in artisan sausage and dry cured meat production. For more info: www.nofavt.org/events/intro-sausage-making-nofavore-social.

Processing of Food: Basic Butchering and Knife Skills

Tuesdays, September 6, 13, 20 from 5:30-7:30PM (with eating/social time until 8pm)
Hannaford Career Center, Middlebury

This three-part class will teach basic meat cutting techniques from boning a chicken and butterflying beef, to filleting fish. It will also teach basic knife skills, including knife selection, cutting techniques, and safety. Learn skills that will help you save money by buying less-processed products, and open up your culinary boundaries! Cost is $75 per person. For more info: www.hannafordcareercenter.org/adult-education or call (802) 382-1012.

Processing of Food: Preserving the Harvest

Wednesdays, September 7, 14, 21 from 5:30-7:30PM (with eating/social time until 8pm)
Hannaford Career Center, Middlebury

Want to start actually getting your money’s worth out of your kitchen garden? This class covers the basics of canning, freezing, drying and wintering over produce. You’ll learn about selecting foods to preserve, preservation techniques, and recipes for food worth putting up on the shelf. Never let your produce end up in the compost, again! Cost is $75 per person. For more info: www.hannafordcareercenter.org/adult-education or call (802) 382-1012.

Scaling Up: Producing and Processing for the Larger Regional Market

Saturday, September 10 from 10am-3pm
Southeastern Vermont Community Action & Westminster Meats

Interested in selling meat to institutions and other large-scale buyers throughout the New England region? Rose Wilson will give a presentation on the results of a marketing plan for increasing sales of regionally produced beef to institutions. Then have lunch and take a tour of the Westminster Meat facility. To register and additional information, www.vtmeat.blogspot.com or contact Sam Fuller @ NOFA-VT 802-434-4122, sam@nofavt.org.

The 4th Annual Tour de Farms

Sunday, September 18th
Shoreham Green, Addison County, VT

Advance registration now open for the 4th Annual Tour de Farms, an annual event between Rural Vermont, the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition, and ACORN (Addison County Relocalization Network). Choose between 30, 25, and 10 mile routes and take a leisurely bike ride that includes sampling at various farm stops along the way. For more info: shelby@ruralvermont.org

Jobs in the Food System:

Swan Valley Cheese in Swanton, VT is looking for an experienced Cheesemaker who has worked as head cheesemaker for a mid- to large- size cheese plant. Applicants should know OO method of low moisture Mozzarella and Provolone production. Knowledge of Ricotta, Italian type Cheeses and/or other artisan Cheese a plus. Please Contact Scott Pelkey, plant manager Swan Valley Cheese of Vermont at (802) 868-7181 for more information.

Agriculture Policy Administrator (Local Food Markets)
State of Vermont, Agency of Agriculture, Farm and Markets

The VT Agency of Agriculture recently released a job announcement for a Local Foods Policy Administrator to develop and implement strategies that will increase the profitability of Vermont farms through marketing opportunities. Duties involve interaction with local foods producers, business and industry representatives, and coordination with other state government agencies, regional and local agricultural organizations, and other professionals. Work is performed under the general direction of the Director of Agriculture Development.

Examples of work you will be engaged in:

  • Statewide interaction, collaboration and coordination with institutions, distributors, producers, commercial markets, and others to create basic and advanced match-making opportunities that increase the number of Vermont Institutions that purchase foods grown or produced in Vermont.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with Agency personnel on Farm to School and Farm to Institution funding and support.
  • Develop and administer a local foods grant program — develop RFP, for review team, review  applications and distribute of funds — to provide local foods additional access to commercial and institutional markets.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other state Agencies and Departments to increase access to local foods within State Building Complexes through state rule making process.
  • Coordinate all interested parties to develop a resource database program linking food producers with potential buyers to improve and support local foods consumption through information technology.
  • Interact, collaborate, coordinate and provide technical support to local communities for food security efforts.

Requirements: Bachelor's degree, preferably in agriculture, business administration or economics. Eight years at a professional level in agriculture related field; or agricultural sales, business development, marketing or farm management. Additional knowledge, skills, and abilities include: Considerable knowledge of existing state, regional and national agriculture industry and related businesses and the prevailing business and economic climate; working knowledge of technical assistance, labor, and marketing resources in Vermont, and ability to communicate effectively with farmers, policy makers, business leaders and management. Read the full job description here.

The State of Vermont offers an excellent total compensation package. To apply, use the online job application at www.humanresources.vermont.gov. Please reference job requisition 28851. The State of Vermont is an Equal Opportunity Employer.