By John McClaughry
The 2020 annual report of the Vermont Community Foundation describes some of its work to strengthen our local food system especially in the disruptive year of COVID.
Last spring, the Foundation reports, a milk surplus drove down milk prices so far that some farms were actually dumping the milk rather than losing more money trying to market it.
At the same time the Vermont Foodbank was seeing nearly a 100 percent increase in demand.
The Foundation granted $60,000 to the Foodbank. It arranged with Green Mountain Creamery and H.P. Hood to process 42,000 cups of yogurt and 11,500 gallons of milk an deliver it back to the Foodbank.
Allison Mindel of the Foodbank said “this collaboration drew attention to other small farms, attracting additional investments to connect local dairy farmers with community needs. We were able to tell small family farms in Vernon and Waitsfield that someone was willing to buy their product, while providing Vermonters with fresh, locally-produced food.”
The Foundation also partnered with the High Meadows Fund and Vermont Food Hub Collaborative to launch Vermont Way Foods, which brands and markets Vermont food products to regional customers beyond Vermont’s borders. These new customers provide an additional path to long term economic viability for Vermont farmers, producers, and restaurants.
The Foundation’s dedicated work exemplifies something that is really fine about Vermont – its active, concerned civil society . Thanks, and well done.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.