The challenges faced by the 15 producer/processor associations interviewed have occurred during a time of significant market growth and public interest in local food and Vermont products. This underlines the critical need to nurture strong producer/processor associations that can actively advance the interests of Vermont food producers and processors.
"Exploring the Next Frontier: Increasing Local Food Sales at Vermont's Independent Retailers" is a report published by Farm to Plate's Supply and Demand Task Force in order to help grow the independent grocer market in ways that work for retailers, farmers, food producers, and distributors. The report provides an understanding of the kinds of products independent grocery stores currently sell and what real and perceived barriers exist to selling more or different products at independent grocery stores.
In 2014, the Vermont Farm to Plate Network, in collaboration with the Vermont Retail & Grocers Association (VRGA), completed a survey of independent retailers in Vermont, revealing that 100 percent of store managers value local products as critical to their store brand. In the second phase of research, we wanted to learn more about how independent stores buy and sell local foods, along with their interest in workshops, training and business support services that can help increase local food sales.
During the Spring 2016 semester, a team of four Middlebury College students are researching and collecting data specifically related to developing a replicable Regional Food Rescue Assessment Tool. This tool will help regions of the state identify local partners and infrastructure to increase the amount of food rescued and redistributed within the charitable food system as a result of Universal Recycling mandates. Their research is contributing to the development of a 3 year program and pilot demonstration project.
The goals of this study were to collect data on the distribution and storage of food in the NCIC NH region: Carroll, Coos and Grafton Counties; to assess and identify opportunities to improve efficiency of local food movement; and to increase access to market for local producers.
By celebrating all Vermonters’ relationships with local food, Rooted in Vermont intends to create a movement that connects tradition, pride, community, trust, and equity to local food. Rooted in Vermont is owned by all Vermonters, and nurtured by the Vermont Farm to Plate Network to help the movement build momentum and become viral throughout the entire state. It is a movement to help all Vermonters see local food as their own – not because it is a trend, but rather a part of our history and who we are as Vermonters. Vermont businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies are all encouraged to incorporate the Rooted in Vermont movement into their marketing, outreach, and other communication with Vermonters. WATCH THIS VIDEO to learn how to engage with Rooted in Vermont on social media. DOWNLOAD ROOTED IN VERMONT LOGOS to use in your marketing and outreach materials. DOWNLOAD ROOTED IN VERMONT HASHTAG FILES to use in your marketing and outreach materials. READ THE ROOTED IN VERMONT BROCHURE to better understand how Rooted in Vermont will increse consumer demand of local food, why everyone's participation is needed to make the Rooted in Vermont movement work, and how to get involved.
Gathering the Herd captures lessons learned over a three year period from by the Farm to Plate Meat Processing Task Force. The Meat Processing Task Force within Farm to Plate, active from 2011 to 2013, facilitated greater mutual understanding between livestock farmers and meat processors – two constituencies that had been in minimal contact with each other and were largely unaware of each others’ challenges.
The Retail Collection includes resources developed or used by the Independent Grocers Task Force to complement its statewide in-store retail trainings, including the Take 5 video series along with written resources designed to help retailers more effectively source and merchandise local food. Video episode topics include promotions, purchasing, merchandising, in-store displays, signage, sampling, and procurement. The written resources cover purchasing, merchandising, operations, financials, and staffing. Farmers and specialty food producers interested in learning more about best practices in retail merchandising may also find value in the video series.
Resources for understanding Vermont and regional food distribution systems, as well as understanding wholesale market opportunities and barriers (e.g., for sales to institutions,schools, colleges, and hospitals, as well as retail grocers).