Food Connects is excited to welcome Tom Brewton to their Food Hub team as their new Local Food Institutional Sales Associate. This brand new position will work to help Food Connects better serve institutions in the region—including K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and healthcare facilities—in their goals to increase purchasing of local and regional foods.
Tom joined the Food Connects team in mid-January and previously worked at the largest grocery wholesaler in the U.S, C&S Wholesale Grocers. Tom is excited to make the shift to focus on New England’s regional food system and finds meaning in his work at the intersection of implementing efficient business practices and serving others. “I am excited to be a part of the Food Connects team,” says Brewton, “to use my corporate sales experience and passion for philanthropy and community service to drive sustained growth and distribution of the Food Hub.”
Both Food Connects’ Food Hub and Farm to School programs work to increase schools’ access to regional foods. Tom will play an invaluable role, building bridges between schools and farms in the community. “In my role, I will have the opportunity to directly impact the health and well-being of our youth by increasing distribution of New England’s local produce into our schools,” says Brewton. “I grew up in inner-city Pittsburgh, PA, and attended an underfunded public high school. While I was fortunate to come from a stable household, I understood that some of my peers didn’t have the means to access healthy foods. My background is what will fuel me to work hard in contributing to a more just food system.”
And the Food Hub team is thrilled to have Brewton’s passion and dedication to help sustain and nurture the growth of these invaluable community partnerships. “Bringing Tom on is a big step for Food Connects. For the first time, we’re in a place as a food hub to have someone on staff dedicated to supporting institutional food service providers who serve a huge number of meals to local folks, especially to kids, students, patients, and elders. Tom approaches his work with a lot of care and professionalism, and his background in larger-scale food systems prepares him well for thinking about how we, as Food Connects, can match local and regional foods to the needs of these high-volume customers.”
Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems. The Food Hub aggregates and delivers from over 115 local farms and food producers to over 195 buyers in southeast Vermont, southwest New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. Their educational services focus on Farm to School programming. Acknowledged as a statewide leader, the program supports over 30 schools to increase local food purchasing, school meal participation, and food, farm, and nutrition education. Together these core programs contribute to a vibrant local economy by increasing local food purchases by schools and improving students’ nutrition and academic performance. Additionally, Food Connects is frequently hired to provide leadership and consulting services for efforts aimed at transforming local food systems in the New England region.