The Vermont Fresh Network is pleased to announce the hire of Helen Labun as Executive Director, replacing Meghan Sheradin, who has been with the organization for 15 years and was recently named the first Executive Director of the Vermont Grass Farmers’ Association.
The Vermont Fresh Network (VFN) connects Vermont food producers with chefs and culinary professionals across the state to strengthen the local food economy. Helen brings a strong background in rural economic development to the role. She previously directed programs in the creative economy and in rural broadband expansion for the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and managed market development projects as the Food Policy Administrator at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. She has worked for VFN in the past as a consultant on fundraising and development projects.
“During Meghan’s time as director of the Vermont Fresh Network we’ve seen major growth in the local foods movement and changes in consumers attitudes towards local food - the demand for local food is high, as is the need to ensure authenticity, help new chefs and farmers connect, and ask ‘what next?’ for the vital role chefs play in our food system,” says VFN Board President Jed Davis of The Farmhouse Group, “There are so many opportunities for our organization - Helen brings a great enthusiasm and energy to this project.”
Helen Labun grew up in Newbury, VT. She has been working on economic development issues in Vermont since returning to the state in 2004 to complete her master’s degree in Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont.
Vermont Vermont Fresh Network
The Vermont Fresh Network began in 1996 with the goal of connecting farmers and chefs. Over the past 21 years it has grown into a diverse network of farmers, specialty food makers, brewers, cideries, distillers, vintners, restaurants, schools, food coops, caterers, and food distributors. The combined buying power of VFN members is significant-- last year network members purchased over $137 million in food, $45 million of which was produced in Vermont. Many Vermonters know VFN for its popular Annual Forum that takes place every August at Shelburne Farms, showcasing exceptional Vermont food in a dinner featuring the work of more than 75 food producers. VFN also manages the statewide agricultural and culinary tourism website DigInVT.com, a recipient of a 2017 Working Lands Enterprise Board grant.
To learn more about the Vermont Fresh Network, visit their website www.vermontfresh.net.