Autumn Greetings from Northshire Grows!
Fall 2016 finds Northshire Grows busier than ever! Here is what we have been up to.
- partnered with Burr and Burton Academy’s Agriculture program at Hildene’s Dene Farm. Northshire Grows and BBA/Dene Farm’s Summer crew sold microgreen salads, iced teas and Harvest of the Month Calendars while sharing Farm to School success stories with patrons this summer at the Manchester Farmer’s Market.
- hosted a VT Farm to Plate Network meeting at Earth Sky Time Community Farm. In September, ten members of the Agritourism Task Force met in Manchester for a productive quarterly work session and a lively tour of EST’s amazing bakery and farm.
- started our USDA funded assessment of Bennington County’s food system. Our consultants Ken Meter and Rose Wilson visited in October for three days of stakeholder meetings and farm and facility tours in the Bennington area. We also met with VCRD, VSJF and USDA in Montpelier and the Vermont Farmer’s Food Center and Smokey House in Rutland. NG is partnering with Bennington County Regional Commission on this project.
- continued to work with schools in the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union on their Farm to School programs and are planning a VT FEED Professional Development course in 2017 in the Southshire, focusing on elementary schools in Bennington’s Southwestern VT Supervisory Union. In addition to public schools, we also are recruiting preschools, independent schools and colleges.
Our regional food system is growing! Farmer’s Markets – in Manchester, Dorset, Londonderry and Bennington – were busier than ever this summer and area farm stands, including Clear Brook Farm, Earth Sky Time Community Farm, Someday Farm and Duttons Farm Stand reported brisk business as well. Gringo Jacks is busy with their “Chip IN” capitalization project and Mighty Food Farm has just moved to Shaftsbury. Liz Ruffa was recently appointed Commissioner of Local Food and Agriculture for the BCRC, representing the region’s farm and food sector on the County level.
Wilcox Ice Cream’s manufacturing facility in Sunderland is expanding to meet demand for their Vermont made products. They have recently added freezer and storage space.
Future farmers at Northshire Day School scrub fresh produce before they prepare a snack. “Mrs. Ruffa, we do taste tests here!”
Finally, Northshire Grows is in the process of merging with Windham County’s Food Connects. Set to launch in 2017, Food Connects will provide Farm to School programming and Institutional food delivery across Bennington and Windham County, promote regional food production and market development, continue to build community and an effective network around the power of “local” and advocate for food as a catalyst for growth in Southern Vermont’s economic development strategy.
We look forward to strengthening Southwestern Vermont’s food system and shaping opportunities for our region through this dynamic partnership!