After a mid-winter break, the Middlebury Farmers’ Market has returned from its two-month hiatus as a refreshed market, eager to supply you with its bounty! Vermonters should be excited to learn that in its pursuit of a year-round market, the Middlebury Farmers’ Market will reopen its indoor farmers’ market on Saturdays beginning March1st and ending April 27th. During the winter (November-December) and spring (March-April), the Middlebury Farmers’ Market is located indoors at the Mary Hogan School on Saturdays from 9:30 am until 1:00 pm. In May the market will return to its outdoor location at the Marbleworks in downtown Middlebury.
Since opening in 2012, the Winter Jeffersonville Farmers’ and Artisan Market has continued to grow with new vendors and unite local producers and neighbors by connecting them through great food and communal engagement. The market can be found inside of the Artfull Cup Studio and Sunrise Café building; located at the corner of 16 Iris Lane and 108S (headed towards Smugglers’ Notch on Mountain Road). Look for our sign! Opened from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on the first and third Saturday of the month, November through March, the Winter Jeffersonville Farmers’ and Artisan market offers a variety of items from producers and artisans from across the state.
The West River Farmers Market is now indoors! For the first time since it began its summer market in 1993, the West River Farmers Market will be operating a winter farmers’ market. Beginning October 19th and lasting until December 28th, the market will run every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. The market can be found indoors at the Flood Brook Union School, located at 91 Vermont 11, Londonberry, VT 05148. This new location is conveniently located just two miles west of its summer market location.
The two women discussed the incorporation of healthy practices into school systems and the importance of agricultural education for our youth. Amongst the crowd were several teachers from Barre Town School, and other educators across Washington County.
Throughout the talk, Abbie focused on the ways that Vermont FEED (a partnership between NOFA Vermont, Shelburne Farms, and Food Works) has worked statewide to get local food into schools. She discussed the importance of young students associating a fruit or vegetable on their plate with where it came from on a farm or in a garden.
Abbie also introduced the New School Cuisine cookbook, which will be released within the month to every school in Vermont as well as every Childhood Nutrition program throughout the nation. This cookbook includes a wide variety of farm fresh, healthy recipes in large serving sizes for cafeteria use. It allows students to associate with healthy foods on a daily basis in the classroom. Lastly, Abbie discussed the Nutrition Education Guide for schools. The Nutrition Education Guide serves as an educational tool for teachers to assess where they can incorporate nutrition education and the best ways to make it work.
Gail Gibbons, author and illustrator of over 150 children’s books, also spoke about her influence on child nutrition education. Originally in the film industry, Gail recognized the need for nutrition awareness while working with NBC television programs. After traveling to many different cities across the country for research, she acknowledged that many children did not know where their food came from. Her first book based on agriculture titled The Milk Makers goes into the development of milk in a cow and the processing it must go through to make it to the refrigerator. Other books include The Vegetables We Eat, Apples, Corn, and The Honey Makers. Check out Gail’s website and list of publications at http://www.gailgibbons.com/.
>> For more upcoming events that connect Vermont’s communities and farms, check out the second annual Agricultural Literacy Week, November 18-24.
[Post by NOFA Vermont intern Maggie Callahan]
Access to good food for all. Who can’t get behind that idea? Turns out, once you start to walk down that road, you find a lot of complexities—factors that add up to a lack of access to good food by food insecure populations. That’s what I hear from folks who are addressing this “wicked problem” on a daily basis. But note that they *are* addressing the problem. This month in Food+Co-ops, let’s take a look at how.
Pieces of the puzzle include consumer education, cost, and transportation.
- How can we increase knowledge about where to find good food, how to prepare it, and where to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (aka food stamps, known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT)?
- How can we make good food affordable, and also help people understand the ‘true cost of food’ and how it relates to prices charged by farmers and big box retailers?
- How do folks get to and from the places where good food is available?
One strategy that you’ll see across the two leadership tales below is community partnerships. So let’s take a look at how NOFA-VT and an alliance within the New England cooperative economy are making strides each day toward this important and powerful goal. Continue reading Food+Co-ops: Access to Good Food for All
Part of NOFA-VT’s mission is to make local and organic food accessible to all Vermonters, regardless of income. We pursue this goal in a number of ways, including our Vermont Farm Share Program, working to get more local food into Vermont’s schools and institutions, and by helping farmers’ markets acquire card readers that can accept 3SquaresVT (aka food stamps).
This year, there are 45 market sites that can swipe customers’ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to access their 3SquaresVT benefits, generally in the form of wooden tokens that can be spent at the market. These tokens can be spent on any item that qualifies for 3SquaresVT benefits, including fresh vegetables, meat, eggs, and even seedlings for home gardens. In 2012, markets did almost $70,000 in 3SquaresVT/EBT sales.
To help Vermonters stretch their food budget and encourage new customers to try out the market, most markets that welcome 3SquaresVT via EBT cards will also be offering “Harvest Health” coupons beginning in July. For every dollar EBT customers spend at the market, they will receive a dollar match in coupons up to $10 per market day. This year’s Harvest Health incentive project is funded by the Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Vermont Legislature through the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, along with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and the Wholesome Wave Foundation.
Seven years ago, no markets accepted EBT cards. This year over half of all markets in the state are welcoming the benefits (visit NOFA-VT’s farmers’ market listing to find one near you).
The work to expand EBT at farmers’ markets has been a collaborative effort with our partners at the Vermont Department for Children and Families, Hunger Free Vermont, UVM Extension, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, providing funding, technical assistance and outreach support to farmers’ markets that accept EBT cards.
I’ll admit to some hesitation when Anne-Marie Keppel first approached me about partnering with the 9th annual Montpelier Fashion Show. As a farming and gardening organization, we don’t often have much crossover with the world of fashion.
Anne-Marie explained that the Fashion Show partners with a different nonprofit each year to bring awareness and attention to its cause. This year, the show is moving from its traditional spot on State Street to the Statehouse lawn, under the “golden glow of the Capitol building” and the protective eye of Ceres, whose likeness graces the top of the dome. Ceres, the Roman Goddess of agriculture, is the inspiration for the 2013 Montpelier Fashion Show theme, “A Night in Ancient Rome,” and also the inspiration for the partnership with NOFA-VT.
The fashion show also wanted to promote the idea that beauty begins with a healthy body — and a healthy body begins with healthy food. We couldn’t agree more! So, we find ourselves the proud partners of the Montpelier Fashion Show. We’ll be helping to source vegetables for a fresh veggie dress, to be designed by Elizabeth Pieroni, who designed the dress in the image on the right. Our friends at High Mowing Organic Seeds will also be sending a creation down the runway – we can’t wait to see what it is.
The 9th Annual Montpelier Fashion Show will take place Friday, June 7th on the Statehouse lawn. Hope to see you there!
(You can get a sense of the fun energy of the event with this episode of Stuck in Vermont from Seven Days!)
I knew little about Andrea Chesman before the 2013 NOFA-VT Winter Conference. After enjoying her lecture at the Fermenting the Harvest intensive I can give this short description: Andrea Chesman is a firecracker and she makes the best kimchee I’ve ever tasted.
Chesman, author of several cookbooks, presented a demo on sauerkraut preparation at the 2013 NOFA-VT Winter Conference. She candidly spoke with the audience, serving up tips and stories of her early days in Vermont all while nonchalantly slicing a head of green cabbage on a mandolin. We watched with baited breath as if she were walking a tight rope. The tips were useful (use sanitizing powder instead of boiling water to limit jar breakage but the stories were fantastic.
While the air in the auditorium filled with the scent of freshly sliced cabbage Chesman transported us to a time when she and the other “hippies” were encroaching on the old timer’s Vermont farmland. She spoke of bad batches of pickles, awful crop harvests and the helpful hints that the farmers provided that she still uses to this day. While fermentation is a delicious and healthy way to preserve food it is clear that traditional pickling is still near and dear to Chesman(and most other Vermonters as well). By the end of her stories the cabbage had been sliced, seasoned, and stuffed into a half gallon mason jar, sauerkraut could be enjoyed in a few days or weeks depending on temperature. I must say she made the whole process seem effortless.
While Chesman took questions from the audience to wrap up her presentation, she began to scoop up little bowls of brightly colored kimchee she had made earlier that week. As I made my way up to taste my sample I wasn’t exactly excited. The Korean condiment has never been my favorite; it always feels a little slimy and the swaths of cabbage too large and soft to enjoy. This was not the case with what Chesman had presented to me. The cabbage and carrots were crisp and tender, briny and bright, spicy and sweet, they were delicious. I decided to try jarred kimchee from the store again just to make sure I had been mistaken all along. I wasn’t, it was the soft slimy cabbage I had always had before. So kimchee like so many other things is better made with great local ingredients in your own kitchen. I’ll be looking for Chesman’s latest book The Pickled Pantry for that kimchee recipe.
Guest blogger: Tucker Wright