Tag Archives: access

NAMING CONTEST: we need your creative imagination!

Our double-value voucher needs a new name, and we need your help

In case you missed it, NOFA-VT recently received over $225,000 in Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) funding to support our double value program for EBT customers at farmers markets over the next three years! In the past, this program has been called  Harvest Health Coupons, but with changes to the program coming, we’ve decided now is the time for a little rebranding.

Harvest Health Coupon
While we are good at program coordination and grant writing, we need  your creative imaginations to help come up with a new name!

Here’s a little bit about the program:

  • It is only available at farmers markets in VT that accept 3SquaresVT;
  • It can only be utilized by 3SquaresVT customers;
  • It matches your 3SquaresVT benefits in $2 increments up to $10 (per market day) with a $2 paper voucher; and
  • The paper voucher can only be used to purchase fruits and vegetables.

This is an exciting time for NOFA-VT, farmers markets and communities across VT. The program needs a new name – keep it SHORT, SNAPPY, and INSPIRING. Comment with your best ideas or email them to mike@nofavt.org. totebag

We are accepting ideas until May 6th and the winning name will be revealed shortly after. In return, the creative genius behind the selected name will receive a NOFA-VT tote bag as a thank you, just in time to use at your favorite farmers markets!

~ Your food friends at NOFA-VT!

VT Fresh – Transforming the food environment at local food shelves

[by Andrea Solazzo, Gleaning and Community Outreach Coordinator at Vermont Foodbank]

Historically, charitable food organizations like food shelves and food banks were built around the availability of boxes and cans of shelf stable foods to provide vulnerable populations with an emergency food supply. Today, the face of hunger is changing and so is the type of food being offered to our neighbors in need. Many in Vermont seek food assistance, not just for emergencies, but on a regular basis. Last year 1 in 4 Vermonters, 153,000 people, turned to the Vermont Foodbank’s network of food shelves and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families. They turned to these programs 1.2 million times over the course of the year. The Vermont Foodbank recognizes that this changing face of hunger demands a new level of responsibility, a responsibility to provide the most nutritious and healthy food available.

Vermont Fresh
What would happen if the food shelf was filled with the comforting and welcoming smells of sautéed onions and garlic and visitors had a chance to taste a particular vegetable they thought they didn’t like?

VT Fresh is a Vermont Foodbank program that aims to answer some intriguing questions:

  • What would happen if the food shelf environment was set up to encourage people to choose more fruit and vegetables?
  • What if fruit and vegetables were displayed in a more visible, attractive and even beautiful way- including vibrant signage, produce banners, and shelf labels like you might see at a farmers’ market?
  • What would happen if the food shelf was filled with the comforting and welcoming smells of sautéed onions and garlic and visitors had a chance to taste a particular vegetable they thought they didn’t like?

VT Fresh uses behavioral economics research to try out some new and creative strategies. Behavioral economics confirms that displaying healthy foods more prominently and attractively draws attention to them and may influence choosing healthy food over unhealthy food and increase their consumption. Simply providing people with a greater variety of healthy foods increases the consumption of them. And, food is great way to connect with people. Offering tastings and cooking demos encourages conversations about food, including the sharing of ideas and stories about what we eat and where our food comes from.

In 2015, the Vermont Foodbank will:

  • Partner with 15 local community organizations to implement VT Fresh and help transform the food environment of their food shelf
  • Deliver 200 cooking demonstrations
  • Engage 2,000 participants
  • Distribute 30,000 pounds of produce to participants
  • Measure that 40% of participants liked a specific vegetable more after the taste test than before

The Foodbank works with 225 partnering food shelves and meal sites around the state. They have hopes to expand to additional sites in 2016 with the specific goal of making fresh and local food accessible to all Vermonters and connecting our communities more deeply to the food we eat and with one another.

Share the Harvest on October 2!

STH14-socialYou’re invited! We are pleased to announce our collaboration with approximately 70 restaurants, food markets, and food cooperatives throughout Vermont for the 20th annual SHARE THE HARVEST fundraising event. On Thursday, October 2nd, participating restaurants and food stores will donate a percentage of their sales to NOFA-VT’s Farm Share Program.

Our Farm Share Program is dedicated to working with Vermonters who cannot afford to purchase fresh, local produce on a regular basis. All funds raised on October 2nd will benefit these individuals by subsidizing the cost of farm-fresh produce from local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms.

The Farm Share program has been helping limited-income Vermonters purchase food from local farms since 1994. In those 20 years, thousands of individuals and families have benefited from a season’s worth of locally grown vegetables and fruits as well as farm education initiatives. In 2014, we have served over 1,400 individuals and families, leveraging over $73,000 of income for Vermont farmers.

For a listing of participating restaurants, co-ops, and food stores, and to learn more about the Farm Share program visit our website or call NOFA-VT at 802-434-4122.

Making the Winter Conference More Affordable

Farmers, homesteaders, and students all tend to be frugal folks, and we work hard to keep the NOFA Vermont Winter Conference accessible to as many people as possible – while still paying our great presenters for their time and managing all the logistical costs of a three-day conference attended by 1,500 people.


A giant NOFA puppet parades through the Winter Conference crowd.
Scholarships and volunteering make the learning and celebration of the Winter Conference more accessible to everyone. Photo by Elizabeth Ferry

One of the ways that attendees can reduce their cost of attendance is by volunteering. Volunteers are critical to making the conference run, from stuffing registration folders on Friday night to slicing bread at the hospitality table, directing people to their workshops,  and cleaning up after the ice cream social. Volunteers receive a $15 discount off their registration for each 2-hour shift (max two shifts per person). You must confirm your volunteer role before registering to receive the discount; please contact the NOFA-VT office to volunteer!


The other way to reduce costs for some attendees is through scholarships. There are three scholarship opportunities available from NOFA-VT.

The application deadline for our Beginning Farmer Scholarship has been extended to 1/31; the other two have an application deadline of this Friday, 1/24. Continue reading Making the Winter Conference More Affordable