[BRATTLEBORO, VT, December 2020] Food Connects successfully wrapped up their 2020 Taste of Food Connects initiative in late November—raising over $6,000 for the organization and promoting 75 different local businesses in the Brattleboro and Keene regions.
The Taste of Food Connects was a two-part event—a Silent Auction to raise money for Food Connects Annual Fund and a Local Passport to encourage community members to shop locally and support small, local businesses. “We are so grateful to all the individuals and businesses that participated in this event,” says Richard Berkfield, Food Connects Executive Director. “We are working hard to strengthen our community ties and fortify a resilient local economy. It is truly humbling to see so many people from both sides of the river, coming together and supporting our efforts to build community during these challenging times.”
The Silent Auction, along with donations from individuals and local businesses raised $6,036 for the organization, well over the goal of $5,000. These funds will support Food Connects Farm to School and Food Hub programs, and their mission to build Healthy Families, Thriving Farms, and Connected Communities. Over 75 local businesses and artisans donated auction items to help raise these funds. “Thank you to each and every donor who made this event possible,” says Laura Carbonneau, Food Connects Marketing Manager. “We couldn’t do our vital work without the support from our community members. And a special thank you to Vivace Realty LLC, Tito’s Taqueria, and Ganio Land Management for sponsoring our programming.”
The Local Passport was a point of pride for the organization—generating excitement and business as local shoppers supported restaurants, groceries, and other locally-owned stores. 23 different local businesses in the region participated, as customers purchased local products all vying to win the top prize of $1,000! In the end, nine local community members won $1,850 in cash and gift certificates to spend locally this holiday season. “We’d also like to thank our prize sponsors, Vivace Realty LLC, the Monadnock Food Co-op, Green Energy Options, Yahso Jamaican Grille, and Brown & Roberts for their generous donations and help to make our event a huge success,” says Carbonneau.
“Our goal was to bring together community members in a fun and unique way to bolster our local economy,” says Berkfield. “It was inspiring to see how we were able to build bridges and celebrate local—an encouraging sign for the year to come.”
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 100 local farms and food producers to over 145 buyers in southeast Vermont, southwest New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. Their educational services focus 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.