As many leaves have fallen and the crisp fall air has set in, Salvation Farms reflects on community – in gratitude.
We are grateful first for our hardworking staff and are pleased to welcome our newest team members. Morgan Wickstrom, Vermont Commodity Program Manager, oversees operations at our Winooski food hub. She has worked as a chef and educator, and joins us from Long Island, NY. Jake Kornfeld is a familiar face, as he just completed an AmeriCorps VISTA year with us. We are excited that he has joined our staff as the Vermont Commodity Program’s Community Coordinator. Emma Korowotny supports our Lamoille Valley Gleaning program and our technical assistance program as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. Hailing from Connecticut, she joins us by way of Gettysburg College. And, Danielle Smith supports stakeholder engagement during her year as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. Originally from Wisconsin, she comes to us from American University.
We are especially proud and honored to announce that our Founder/Executive Director was just awarded the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility’s (VBSR) Young Changemaker Award. This award recognizes an individual who has led the formation of a socially responsible enterprise, using the power of business to advance innovative solutions to society’s challenges for the good of the planet, their employees, their community, and economic growth.
Jane Campbell, VBSR’s Executive Director, writes that “the Awards Committee all agreed that what Theresa has accomplished certainly provides an innovative solution. It also serves as an inspiring model for other potential young change makers, and we are delighted to give her work the recognition it deserves.”
Theresa writes that “after dedicating my young adulthood to developing Salvation Farms – nearly 15 years – it is truly an honor to be recognized for those efforts by a group of peers like VBSR. As an innovator, I believe in the power to leverage social capital to influence systemic change. It is progressive of VBSR to acknowledge a leader in the not-for-profit sector with this award. It is my true honor to receive it in recognition for the blood, sweat, and tears I’ve given to creating Salvation Farms.
But more importantly, I am proud to receive this award in recognition of the fact that change-making work does not occur because of one person or one organization. Change happens when a collection of individuals envisions a different and better future, system, or outcome. I have been fortunate, from seeding the idea for what would become Salvation Farms with Pete Johnson of Pete’s Greens, to nurturing the seedling of our organization with co-founder Jen O’Donnell, to working with countless others who have given to and given for the vision and the aspirations that make Salvation Farms what it is and what it is known for today. To them, I am forever thankful.”
As we head toward shorter and colder days here in Vermont, it is a prefect time to reflect and to spend time together in the kitchen, at the table, and as community. Theresa offers a reflection on community and how engagement with each-other is core to work like ours.
What do I do with kohlrabi? This is one of my favorite questions; it could end with any vegetable, because this question opens the door to story tell, to offer some food folklore (or rather fork-lore) about how someone can enjoy the diverse bounty of Vermont’s farms. Without a little simple encouragement, it can be intimidating to try an unfamiliar vegetable, or to prepare an unfamiliar vegetable for oneself or for loved ones when never having done so before. We all need more fork-lore that involves eating food that was grown near to us.
Experience – this is how we learn and normalize things that are unfamiliar. Through working with partners, like Meals on Wheels of the Lamoille County, WIC, and The Manor, we provide experiential opportunities that change the lives of those around us and that change some of our own personal and professional habits.
From our humble roots, we’ve always valued the power of experience and how individuals learn through doing and through exposure to new concepts. Salvation Farms embodies this to this day; we make our biggest impact in this way. It is the people who engage in and who are touched by our work that are making change happen, that are knitting strength within our community and into our lives through connection with food and farms.
To our partners, volunteers, donors, and friends – current and those to come – thank you for your courage to see the potential for change and take risks with us. It is a pleasure to work with you – it always has been.
In this blog post, we turn our focus close to home, to the community within which Salvation Farms got its start and where we operate our Lamoille Valley Gleaning program. We are pleased to share contributions from a few of our partners in this community.
Cynthia West, one of our longest-serving volunteers, reflects on how her time volunteering with Salvation Farms has impacted her and her community.
I had both a gratifying and poignant experience one morning last year while delivering fresh produce to the Greensboro Nursing Home.
My 95-year-old mother had broken her femur and was there for rehab. After gleaning at Pete’s Greens that day, when I delivered that fresh squash and cabbage to the cooler and went into the kitchen to check out the lunch menu, I had one of those “Aha!” moments.
This community-based care facility, the Greensboro Nursing Home, was partnering with our community-based gleaning program.
My own Mom (and all of the other residents) was getting to eat organic, wholesome food that otherwise wouldn’t have reached her plate.
No food wasted. No cans opened. It was really a win-win situation that made me feel wonderful!
Farms are among our most important partners. We are so grateful for the years of friendship and collaboration that Judy Jarvis and Bruce Kaufman from Riverside Farm have brought to our organization. They are dedicated to feeding their neighbors and offer this reflection on their work with Salvation Farms.
We have been farming at Riverside Farm for 29 years.
Our desire to farm organically is to produce healthy food, steward the land, support the people who have worked here planting and harvesting tons of produce, and to have some time off to ski in the winter. Bruce’s philosophy is real food for real people.
Salvation Farms plays a huge role in gleaning and distributing produce to people in need. There is so much waste in food production with vegetables having to look perfect in order to be sold in stores.
We all know imperfections make us special. There is nothing wrong with a carrot that has a crook in it or a spotted apple that got hailed on during its growth. It is nourishing food that keeps us healthy.
There is not the time for farmers to both grow and distribute produce that can’t be sold. I am grateful that is the purpose of Salvation Farms. Any produce that is not harvested goes back into making fertility for the soil, so it is not wasted.
It makes us happy that it is going to people in need and our farm can play a role in food security for people with the support of Salvation Farms.
Sara Babcock, Program Coordinator at Lamoille Community Food Share writes that: From the simple idea that wasting useable food is wrong, Salvation Farms has built a strong and valuable organization.
We at Lamoille Community Food Share have benefited from the beginning. Our clients have had access to good, nutritious food for their families; thousands of pounds over the years. Thank you!
Chef John at The Manor, writes that “we aspire to utilize local products. This is uniquely challenging; frequently, the lower the cost of mass-produced food presents chefs with a moral dilemma. Foods that are “cheapest” in dollar value may mask environmental and social costs that are an afterthought for many consumers.
I met Carly (Salvation Farms’ Gleaning Coordinator) last September when she called to inquire whether we could utilize squash that was gleaned from local farms. What I received exceeded my expectations.
We were introduced to the kuri squash, which looks like a red pumpkin, and makes a tasty pie due to its low moisture content. We had huge bluish-green hubbard squash which has a rich chestnut flavor. And there were many butternuts with slightly imperfect exteriors that didn’t make it to market, but under the skin they were sweet.
All of this was free to us. What a treat it is for us to offer such fine food to our residents and their families, and help us elevate our dining program.
Another unforeseen benefit of our collaboration is felt in our Life Enrichment Department, which has utilized these donations for activities that enhance the residents’ cognitive, social, and physical well-being. It gives residents a great sense of purpose when they gather to prepare food like dilly beans, or zucchini relish, and store it for the winter ahead. For many of them, it certainly stimulates memories of life on the farm. Smell and taste are undoubtedly linked to memory and family.
I really can’t say enough about the forward-thinking people at Salvation Farms, except “Thank you!” and “Keep it coming!”
In broader reflection, Salvation Farms also appreciate our partners doing research, advocacy, and on-the-ground work nationally. We are pleased to partner with World Wildlife Fund by serving on a WWF-directed research project focused on food loss on farms in the US.
Recently, we received WWF support to complete analysis of farmer interviews conducted in 2017. And on November 1st, their Food Waste Program Officer, Leigh Prezkop, will join us for a Salvation Farms-facilitated panel at Vermont’s Farm to Plate Annual Gathering.
As the year wraps up, please reflect on the value and power of Salvation Farms work. We are asking you to consider supporting us this fall/winter season. Be one of the donors that helps us raise $25,000 to leverage in a $25,000 match. Be an important part of moving Salvation Farms progressive and change-making work forward – and have your donation matched today!