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Exploring the Next Frontier: Increasing Local Food Sales at Vermont's Independent Retailers

"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.

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Independent Grocery research report - Phase 2

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.

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Vermont local food campaign under development

The Farm to Plate Network is developing a statewide local food campaign to increase consumer demand for local food. As farmers and producers scale up production and additional market channels (retail, restaurants, institutions, direct sale) are opened to more Vermont food, the local food marketing campaign will target messaging to Vermont consumers to stimulate increased purchases, participation and awareness in Vermont’s local food economy. The campaign aims to help Vermonters feel connected to local food and celebrate individual entry points – whether it’s gardening, hunting, visiting a farm, or purchasing local products. Campaign messaging will encourage increased local food awareness and engagement that will help Vermonters connect the local food economy to the growth and success of Vermont communities, and ultimately lead to increased purchases.

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Regional Food Rescue Assessment Tool

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.  

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Retail Training Collection

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.

Farm to Institution

A collection of resources exploring the world of local food in schools, hospitals, colleges, and other institutions.

Farm to Institution Vermont Farm to College: Opportunities and Barriers to Greater Local Food Procurement in Vermont Higher Education Food Service

Institutions of higher education present an opportunity for increased procurement of locally produced foods. This report provides an overview of findings to date, followed by summaries of successes, innovations, and challenges. Analysis focuses on comparing and contrasting Vermont interview results with recommendations gleaned from other regional institutions’ and organizations’ reports. It concludes with a list of best practices for food service operations and technical assistance providers.

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Agritourism

A collection of resources aimed at promoting the agritourism industry and intended to aid farmers in implementing agritourism into their farms.