October 2023 Resources, Opportunities, News, and FundingOctober 26, 2023
As the growing season slows during fall, and tourism slows during stick season, it seems opportunities to participate in programs, access resources, and apply for funding opportunities in Vermont drastically increase. In fact, there's more going on this month than we can fit in our member newsletter! Read on for an extensive (but hardly exhaustive) list of the goings-on in Vermont's food and farm sector.
VFN Member and Industry News
- Longtime VFN member restaurant Michael's on the Hill has been purchased by other longtime VFN members, the owners of Stowe's Black Lantern Inn! We wish Laura and Michael all the best in their next adventure, and are excited to see what new owners Andrew and Don bring to the restaurant.
- Grateful Greens' Brattleboro-based microgreens operation was featured in the Manchester Journal, Check it out to learn more about the Grateful Greens team, products, and operations!
- The Essex Resport and Spa is hosting the Vermont International Food, Film, and Friendship Festival in collaboration with the Québec Government Office in Boston, Tourisme Haut Richelieu & Montérégie. As a part of this festival, chefs Jordan Ware of Hen of the Wood, Frank Pace of Great Northern and August First, Greg Lang of The Essex Resort and Spa, and Colleen Hunt of Bramble will be cooking wth Chefs from Quebec including Fisun Ercan of Bika Farm and Chef Jean-Simon Petit of Ferme des Quatre Temps, among others.
- What does the future of agritourism look like for Vermont farms? Check out this article from Eater for some insights from David Rust of VFN member Sagra Farms.
- As more people prioritize food experiences when they travel, the culinary tourism industry is changing. Get the story on Morning Ag Clips.
- If you're finding yourself with more free time this fall and winter, check out this list from Food Tank of 23 books that will transform how you think about food.
- Radio Cherry Bombe's Restaurant (R)evolution series features chefs and restaurateurs who are changing the restaurant industry by doing things differently.
Project and Program Opportunities
- The Vermont Tourism Summit is calling for proposals! VFN serves on the board, and is helping to organize the 39th Annual Vermont Tourism Summit, scheduled for May 8-10, 2024. Presentation proposals should address current trends and issues relevant to Vermont travel industry businesses and professionals, and should not be a sales pitch for a product or service. Learn more and submit your proposal here.
- Join Rural Vermont for a series of on-farm animal processing workshops, including:
- Rabbit butchering at Giant Journey Farm on Saturday, Oct. 28
- Pig slaughter and processing at Merck Forest and Farmland Center on Saturday, Nov. 4
- Turkey processing at Union Brook Farm on Sunday, Nov. 5
- Lamb slaughter and processing at Argyll Farm on Saturday, Nov. 18
- Get the full list of events and details on Rural Vermont's website
- Poultry Farms & Agritourism study: Andrea Etter is partnering with Lisa Chase and other UVM researchers to conduct research to understand zoonosis risks on Vermont agritourism operations with animals present.There research goals are to (1) determine how commonly animals on agritourism operations carry bacteria, such as Salmonella, that could make visitors sick and (2) what practices/setups impact the odds of finding zoonotic pathogens. Their hope is to help agritourism operations preemptively identify and manage risks before any illnesses or outbreaks occur. Any operation with at minimum poultry is eligible to participate, and we will keep the identities of all participants confidential. There are no costs to participate, and they will provide participants with feedback on their individual bacterial testing results & work with them to identify solutions. If you are interested in learning more, email Andrea
- Applications are now open for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture's Farm to Institution Market Development Grant. This program support market development opportunities for local food producers and processors, with a focus on Vermont institutional markets. Funding is provided to help improve local producer access to, and engagement with, schools, hospitals, colleges, correctional facilities, and other local institutions. Visit the Agency of Agriculture website to learn more and apply.
- Vermont Working Lands Business Enhancement Grants are open! These grants fund projects in market development, research development, infrastructure development, and workforce training and development. Applications are due on Nov. 20, 2023. Visit the Working Lands website for more information and to apply.
- The Vermont Agency of Agriculture Organic Certification Cost Share Program offers funding assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to organic producers and handlers of agricultural products who have received organic certification through a USDA-accredited certifying agent. The application deadline is Nov. 1, 2023. Learn more and apply here.
- Submissions are open for the 2023 Small Business Awards! Learn more about eligibility and nominate a small business on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
- Agricultural producers and forest landowners in Vermont have the opportunity to apply for funding to participate in voluntary conservation programs and adopt climate-smart practices. Visit Vermont Biz to read the full press release and get the details.
- View additional Agency of Agriculture grant and funding opportunities, including the funding calendar, here.
- Check out the UVM Extension Regulatory Navigation Checklist, a resource for farms that offer agritourism activities. This resource provides the basics of entering into an agritourism operation, including land use regulations, permits, liabilities, and licenses to consider before implementing an agritourism enterprise.
- The Farm to Plate Agricultural Literacy Priority Strategy Team has released a new report on Agricultural Literacy in Vermont. This report seeks to answer important questions: What is agricultural literacy? Why does it matter? Who are the key stakeholders? And how can we strengthen agricultural literacy amongst Vermonters? Learn more about this project and read the report here.
- How does DigInVT support your business? Check out our report of the DigInVT website, Fresh Feed newsletter, and how our content helps your business reach Vermonters and visitors to the Green Mountain State who seek authentic food and farm experiences.
- Farmers! If your farm hosts agritourism activities - including a public farm stand, you-pick, farm stays, tours, and workshops - it is important for you to have proper ACT 31 signage. Act 31 (H.89) establishes a limitation on liability for agritourism hosts. The act acknowledges that there are “inherent risks” in participating in agritourism activities and shifts those risks to properly warned consumers. Signs are now available - click here to order yours!