VFN Member March Mixer in DanvilleMarch 29, 2023
On March 13, 2023, over 50 farmers, chefs, service providers, specialty food/beverage producers, and distributors gathered at Red Barn Brewing in Danville. With pizza in hand, event attendees made connections, deepened relationships, and learned about resources to help them expand their networks and businesses within their region and statewide.
The event was co-hosted by Vermont Fresh Network and Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS). GMFTS, and their food hub, Green Mountain Farm Direct, connect farms to schools, hospitals, and other institutions around the state.
Conversations started organically, as attendees trickled in, grabbed drinks, and started chatting about their businesses and projects. Vermont Fresh Network also provided custom “matchmaking” for every attendee, to help them connect with others at the event who could be a good resource or connection for them.
Although many attendees were based in the NEK - some as close as just down the road from the brewery, others came from as far as Enosburg, Burlington, and Brattleboro.
“It was worth the trip,” said Jon Megas-Russel, Sales and Marketing Manager at Grateful Greens, a microgreens farm based in Brattleboro. “We were able to connect and create relationships with other farmers, distributors, and promoters of food in Vermont. It was worth every second of the two hour drive both ways to get to meet people in person, share samples and build relationships.”
Lisa Chase from the University of Vermont Extension Agritourism Research Center; Kristen Brassard from Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets; and Katharine Ingram from the Vermont Department of Tourism also provided resources to farms who host members of the public for farm stays, tours, and other special events.
“It was great to see our partners connecting in person to plan for the upcoming season,” said Tara Pereira, Executive Director at Vermont Fresh Network. “It’s our mission to help make those connections.”
“It was really nice to again get to meet more staff from VFN and other members,” Megas-Russel agreed.
A huge thank you to all the food and farm businesses who attended our meetup including:
- Artesano / KIS Kombucha
- Breezy Acres Farm
- Buffalo Mountain Coop
- Center for and Agricultural Economy/Just Cut
- Dubs Farms
- Eat Vermont
- Four Town Lowlines LLC
- Glover / Barton Area Senior Services Inc.
- Grateful Greens
- Green Mountain Farm to School
- Green Mountain Smokehouse
- Joe's Brook Farm
- Lamoille North Supervisory Union, Nutritional Services
- Main Street Market
- MKVT Farm
- Montshire Packing LLC
- NEK Grains
- North Country Hospital
- Northeast Kingdom Processing
- Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union
- Pitchfork Pickle
- Trencher's Farmhouse
- UVM Extension
- Vermont Department of Tourism
- Vermont Fresh Network
- VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
The next networking mixer is planned for mid-May in Brattleboro, in partnership with Food Connects Food Hub and Retreat Farm.
This event was the third of four Chef/Farmer/Food Producer meetups planned as part of Vermont Fresh Network's effort to strengthen Vermont's culinary and agricultural tourism sector through partnership and collaboration. This meetup was co-hosted with Green Mountain Farm to School who worked with VFN and service providers from the Vermont Department of Tourism, The Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets, and the UVM Extension Agritourism Research Center to provide technical assistance and guidance connecting with statewide plans to develop Vermont's Agritourism sector.
Funding for this event is made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM190100XXXXG100 awarded to the Vermont Fresh Network.