Summer has finally arrived here in Vermont, after a cool and wet spring. The days are long, the sun is strong, the birds are alive with song, and the landscape is vibrant with shades of green. Farmers, while delayed in getting into the fields, now see promising growth in the crops they have sown.
Meanwhile, Salvation Farms is keeping busy. We’re working to reestablish our gleaning program in our home valley, we’re recruiting for our for our next cycle of workforce development in Winooski, and we’re connecting and planning with community partners. It’s all in support of our big-picture work to identify opportunities and gaps that reduce food loss on farms and increase access to wholesome food. Read more about this big-picture work in our Summer 2017 Newsletter.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but it’s a diverse network of supporters and partners that make our programs possible. From volunteers to funders to peer advisors — our work is strengthened by support from all angles.
…That support includes the gift of visibility, the gift of a little stage time — which is why we’re so excited to announce that we are the nonprofit beneficiary of this year’s Oxbow Music Festival! It’s Sunday, September 3rd, noon – 11pm, at the Oxbow Park, Morrisville, VT. The festival is free for kids 12 & under; Adults $20 at gate/$15 in advance.
As beneficiary, we receive 100% of the funds generated from the event’s raffle. Your attendance and purchase of raffle tickets helps Salvation Farms’ mission. Here’s a sneak peek of what you might win: — A 3-week Localvore Farm Share sample from Pete’s Greens — A private tour of Jasper Hill Farm’s cheese caves & complimentary selection of cheese — A brewery tour and tasting at Rock Art Brewery (proud brewer of the Humble Harvester!) — A Concept2 sports duffel filled with a selection of outdoor apparel and goods from local businesses like Turtle Fur & Power Play Sports.
Check out the musical lineup below & get tickets at www.oxbowmusicfestival.com – Hope to see you there!
Whether you can attend the festival or not, please consider giving to our mid-year appeal. We need your support to continue our important work. Donate Here.
In other community news, we were proud this past month to see our Executive Director Theresa Snow receive a Marvin Award for Excellence in Community Service, given annually by the Lamoille County Planning Commission in memory of Jim Marvin, a dedicated community volunteer. Read the News & Citizen article here.
Just as visibility helps advance our work, so does research that helps demonstrate the need for what we do. We recently concluded a semester-long partnership with a UVM undergraduate Environmental Science class where the students used our Food Loss Study to inform their investigation of some of the environmental costs of un-sold Vermont crops.
Their report, An Analysis of the Environmental Impact of Food Loss on Farms in Vermont, found that 140 million gallons of water and upwards of $20,500 worth of fuel (8,000 gallons) is used per year to grow crops that never make it to people.
These findings add dimension to the value of Vermont’s surplus crops. Our study estimated that 14.3 million pounds of edible, Vermont-grown vegetable and berries are “lost” – unharvested or unsold – per year. Measuring the costs of food loss beyond simply the pounds of food more fully illustrates the multi-fold environmental and economic benefits of managing these crops…and also mirrors national analysis on the topic. ReFed, a multi-stakeholder nonprofit, notes that food loss/waste across the food chain consumes 21% of all fresh water, 19% of all fertilizer, and 18% of cropland, costing $218 billion a year.
In Theresa’s words, “Identifying the resources lost when edible crops are left on our state’s farms, beyond the nutrition that could benefit people, shows the environment conservation potential that moving currently lost food to people can have. We are very grateful for the work this student group did for Salvation Farms!”
The students’ findings support the need to create supply chain practices and improvements to manage surplus crops. The study concludes: “Utilizing limited resources effectively is an important aspect of promoting a healthy environment. When millions of gallons of water and fossil fuels are used to produce crops which are not consumed, those resources cannot be used to support the people and places that need food…Rather than allowing these resources to be lost in the form of unused food, using edible but unmarketed surplus to feed people is an important alternative.”
Salvation Farms invites you to join us in the fields! Help harvest the edible crops that are not going to market and help your community eat more locally. Sign up today for the opportunity to volunteer with us – and other Vermont Gleaning Collective programs. Visit: www.vermontgleaningcollective.org and register to receive gleaning invitations.