Upper Valley Shared Food & Farm Facility
In 2017, Vital Communities began convening discussions about the need for and feasibility of a physical food hub in the Upper Valley. An Upper Valley food hub might contain many components, ranging from storage, aggregation, distribution, value-added processing, year-round retail sales venue, commercial kitchen, community space, or more.
With funding from a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Partnership Grant, we have been working with farmers and others to investigate the priorities and feasibility of various food hub ideas. Many valuable conversations and connections have happened during this project and we keep the ball rolling with funds from the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative.
Would your farm-based business, or the Upper Valley, benefit from a shared facility? What type of shared facility would help your business grow? Would you support a year-round farmers’ market? Would you use aggregation and distribution facilities? Are you interested in a farmer cooperative?
We will be convening steering committees to aid in this process as we prepare for feasibility studies and more stakeholder and community gatherings in the fall and winter of 2018-2019.
Please share your ideas, needs, suggestions, etc. via phone (802.291.9100 x106) or email Nancy@VitalCommunities.org
Meetings and Notes
Food Hub Listening Session
September 26, 2017
At King Arthur Flour Bakery + Cafe
Over 70 food business owners and community members joined the project partners at this kickoff event, and had a robust discussion of potential Upper Valley food hub functions. Here you can find overall meeting notes, a list of the biggest challenges in the food system identified by the group, and a prioritization of the potential uses of a shared facility.
meeting date and location goes here
Description of what happened and attached notes go here
Genuine Local, Meredith, NH. A purpose-built specialty food production facility.
Vermont Food Venture Center, Hardwick, VT.
Mad River Food Hub, Waitsfield, VT
Kearsarge Food Hub, Bradford, NH
Coolidge Hotel, White River Junction, VT
Vermont/New Hampshire Aggregators
Farm Fresh Connect
Green Mountan Farm Direct
Case Studies, Feasibility Studies, etc.
Farm to Institution New England – case studies, including 7 great reports on New England food hubs.
Northbound Ventures, Summerville, MA. Project consultant for food system facilities around New England. Lots of interesting project to read about.
Intervale Center, Burlington, VT
Unity Food Hub, Unity, ME
Upper Valley inventory of commercially licensed kitchens collected by Vital Communities… Coming soon.
Search Our Valley Food & Farm Guide
The Upper Valley Farmer Community Discussion List is a forum to share items of interest to farmers in the Upper Valley. Valley Food & Farm will post information about upcoming events, agency of agriculture bulletins, market opportunities, and other items that will be useful to farmers in our region. We encourage subscribers to share knowledge, questions, items for sale, with the goal of facilitating communication within our farming community. To subscribe send a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org Subscribers can post a message to this list by simply emailing a message to email@example.com
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Meet Your Local Farm to School Network!
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Vital Communities Program News
Food & Farm Coordinator
Food & Farm
Food & Farm
— Becka Warren, Food & Farm Coordinator
Part of Vital Communities' Food & Farm team since 2012, Becka fosters relationships that keep agriculture a daily part of community life in the Upper Valley. She works with current and future farmers, businesses, schools, and partners across Vermont and New Hampshire to build connections that support farm viability and keep our landscapes working. Becka lived in Seattle for many years, where she worked for the Washington State University Small Farms Program, Cascade Harvest Coalition, Seattle Tilth, and area vegetable farms. Becka is also a writer, founding and writing Ask Umbra at gristmagazine.com until 2009. She holds a BA from Brown University and lives in Hartland, Vermont, with her family.
Food & Farm Manager
Valley Quest, Food & Farm
Valley Quest, Food & Farm
— Beth Roy, Food & Farm Manager
Beth leads Vital Communities' Food & Farm team, including its Upper Valley Farm to School programming, and also oversees Valley Quest. Before joining Vital Communities, Beth Roy worked in the environmental and place-based education fields for 17 years in various positions around New England including at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and as the Director of Education at the Nature Museum in Grafton, Vt. Beth is also on the boards of the Vermont Science Teacher Association (VSTA) and the Vermont State-Wide Environmental Education Programs (SWEEP), a coalition of dozens of individuals and organizations promoting sustainability and environmental education in Vermont. Beth is a New Hampshire native and lives in Hartland, Vt., with her husband and two children. When Beth is not working you will find her exploring the woods around her home with her family or cooking up a new taste test (made of local foods, of course!) for her children.
Food & Farm and Local First Coordinator
Local First, Food & Farm
Local First, Food & Farm
— Nancy LaRowe, Food & Farm and Local First Coordinator
Nancy joined Vital Communities as the Food & Farm Coordinator in 2014. She works to support and grow our local food system and economy. Nancy has lived, worked, and farmed in the Upper Valley for more than 25 years and believes our community is healthier and stronger when our connections to food and the farms that produce it stay vital.
Nancy's informal job title is Farmer-in-Residence: she also runs a pasture-based cattle farm in Norwich. Nancy is on the Board of the Norwich Farmers' Market and a retired Norwich volunteer firefighter and EMT. She loves puttering in the garden, hiking with her dog, and visiting farmers' markets.