“The Summit is the opportunity for anyone working in agriculture, food, education and markets to add their voices to the next stages of planning for the food system,” said Sarah Waring, Executive Director of the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick.
Ellen Kahler of the Vermont Farm-to-Plate Network will deliver the keynote address. Local experts will facilitate discussion sessions. Registration is now open by visiting: http://www.nvda.net/agriculture.php. Lunch will be provided. Space is limited, so attendees are requested to sign up in advance.
Agriculture continues to drive the Northeast Kingdom economy. Many well-known Vermont products come from this area, such as the Cellars from Jasper Hill’s cheese and Hill Farmstead’s beer, while small farms continue to open and thrive. Over the last five years, the number of farms in this region increased 24% with agricultural sales increasing 9%. However, the Northeast Kingdom has one of the highest populations of people in Vermont who are food insecure, meaning it may be difficult to buy or access adequate food. Addressing these topics, and more, will be discussed at this Summit.
“The Food System Plan is unique in Vermont, partly because the Northeast Kingdom has such a unique connection to agriculture and food production,” said Taylar Foster, Program Manager for the Plan update. “Having a variety of local food producers and businesses in the room to talk about working together for the future will be invaluable.”
Sterling College will host the Summit. Sterling College is Vermont’s only college of environmental stewardship. In February, the College announced that it was the top college in the U.S. for eating campus food that was sustainable, local, and fair-trade, serving 75% “real food.”
The Food System Plan is in the process of being updated by staff of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association and the Center for an Agricultural Economy. The update is funded from the Rural Business Development program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Questions can be directed to Taylar Foster at 802-635-2620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.