History of VFN
The Vermont Fresh Network uses the connections between chefs (and other culinary professionals) farmers, and producers to build a strong local food system.
We began in 1996 when a group of enthusiastic food lovers - some professional chefs, some farmers, some just enthusiastic - came together to find a way to support farming, restaurants, and the quality of Vermont food at the same time. They wanted to create a culture around our food that valued fresh, local ingredients at the center of not only delicious meals but also thriving communities - communities that supported their homegrown businesses all the way from the ground to the plate.
A lot has changed since 1996. Vermont has become a leader in promoting local food. We’re also a small state that’s full of top notch restaurants and world renowned specialty food makers. Our enthusiasm for local food and the working landscape reaches a broad range of venues, schools, inns, hotels, catered events, office cafeterias, senior living facilities - all of which are represented in the VFN membership.
People travel from around the world to Vermont to experience our food and learn from some of the innovative projects that happen here and that we are proud to support. The Vermont Fresh Network has demonstrated that our original premise was correct - the combined purchasing power and cultural influence of our members makes a difference.
Today, we remain focused on how far the farmer-chef connection can take us towards a sustainable environment, healthy communities, and flourishing rural economy. We’re pleased to leave behind the days of knocking on chefs’ doors and asking if they’d heard of the local food movement. However, past accomplishments are only a starting point. We are still hard at work creating a transparent food system where “local” isn’t just a marketing term. We engage with our members to identify, and resolve, the barriers that still exist to business growth through local connections. We support members in exploring how their work can have a greater impact on the local food system issues they care most about. We build partnerships across different segments of Vermont’s food system to promote shared goals.
It’s an exciting time for work in food and agriculture and we’re proud to have the experience of more than twenty successful years as our foundation at the Vermont Fresh Network. To learn more about our day to day work, check out: