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.
A wide variety of financing options across the capital continuum are available to assist with the capital needs of Vermont’s food system businesses. However, navigating through the multitude of financing options can be overwhelming. In response to the need to help businesses better understand and navigate the variety of financing options available to them, the Financing Cross-Cutting Team of the Farm to Plate Network created a series of case studies based on types of financing used by Vermont food businesses. The case studies cover convertible debt (High Mowing Organic Seeds), farmland financing (Bread & Butter Farm), and royalty financing (Liz Lovely).
Financing Case Studies Seeding the Future with Convertible Debt: A Financing Case Study of High Mowing Organic Seeds
A wide variety of financing options across the capital continuum are available to assist with the capital needs of Vermont’s food system businesses. However, navigating through the multitude of financing options can be overwhelming. In response to the need to help businesses better understand and navigate the variety of financing options available to them, the Financing Cross-Cutting Team of the Farm to Plate Network convened a series of panels that illuminated financing options that different food system businesses have used—High Mowing Organic Seeds and convertible debt, Bread & Butter Farm and a complex farmland deal, Liz Lovely and royalty financing, and Aqua Vitae and convertible debt. The first financing case study, Seeding the Future With Convertible Debt, focuses on High Mowing Organic Seeds--a producer of more than 600 varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb, and flower seed that employs more than 40 people in Wolcott--and convertible debt.
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.
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).
Aggregation & Distribution Connecting the Dots: Strategies for Aligning Production, Processing, Distribution, and Market Outlets for Vermont’s Food System
Appendix C: Connecting the Dots focuses on the distribution chain that links farm production, processing, and market outlets and provides strategies for aligning these elements of Vermont’s food system more closely. Distribution is defined as the process of delivering food from the primary producer to end consumers, whether they are found at supermarkets, restaurants, schools, farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) farms, or convenience or general stores. Distribution requires organizing transportation and logistics in an economically efficient manner to deliver a marketable mix of products to meet consumer demand. At times, it also requires short-term storage, en route to store shelves.
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.