We each need food to build and retain strength. To perform our best each day, we all need wholesome food. Sustenance is nourishment that maintains life. In the simplest of terms, Salvation Farms provides sustenance.
Through working closely with farmers, Salvation Farms provides locally grown crops — and nourishment — to people who struggle to meet their nutritional needs. Salvation Farms believes a local food system should be designed to provide quality sustenance for all, so we can lead healthy and stable lives. Knowing that farmers are bound by realities of the marketplace and mother nature, Salvation Farms is filling a void in Vermont’s food system.
It is our supporters, people like you, who provide the sustenance Salvation Farms needs to build our strength — to grow our team and to grow our powerful and impactful work. Please consider donating to Salvation Farms this harvest season. Your gift ensures Salvation Farms has the support necessary to maintain our programs all year long.
In our last blog post & newsletter, we identified the gaps and opportunities to connect Vermont’s farm abundance to the people and places in need. To reach our aspirations of partner engagement, building food system solutions, orchestrating dependable programs, and producing impactful outcomes — Salvation Farms’ team has grown.
We are excited to announce the addition of two new staff and two new AmeriCorps VISTA members, all dedicated to program development and implementation. This increase in capacity strengthens our interdisciplinary approach and reinforces our goal to be at the intersection of change between food system development, food loss reduction, community food security, and experiential education.
Salvation Farms is perhaps best known for the robust Lamoille Valley gleaning program we operated between 2005-2008. We are excited to anchor ourselves again in the Lamoille Valley through gleaning — and have already set up regular gleans and deliveries across our valley.
Pete’s Greens is one of our regular pickup and gleaning sites. “Pete’s Greens is excited to work with Salvation Farms as it relaunches the Lamoille Valley Gleaning program! We appreciate the partnership between our farm and Salvation Farms to help us rescue crops and increase food access for all Vermonters. We look forward to working with Carly to organize regular gleanings at our farm.” – Taylar Foster, Pete’s Greens
We have an ambitious goal to glean as much as 50,000 pounds of quality, local crops from at least 12 farms to serve some of our 3,600 food-insecure neighbors in the coming year.
You are invited to join us!
Register at vermontgleaningcollective.org or contact Carly at firstname.lastname@example.org / 802-888-4360
As we and other gleaning organizations and our volunteers keep busy with gleans, the Vermont Gleaning Collective is engaging in long-term planning — specifically, in restructuring its membership and Governance Board, examining different tiers of involvement. We believe this work will strengthen the group’s collective impact and grow in its membership.
Claire Wheeler, facilitator from Re:work, is helping guide the discussion: “It’s an exciting moment for the Vermont Gleaning Collective as they restructure to optimize participation, streamline initiatives and align towards stronger collective impact. It is an honor to be working with a group of such talented and committed people as they enhance and amplify gleaning in Vermont!”
Allison Levin, member organization Community Harvest of Central Vermont, put it this way: “The Vermont Gleaning Collective is currently working to create a more nuanced structure to better support all the like-minded but diverse gleaning programs in Vermont. Through working with a facilitator, I feel we uncovered our shared goal of integrating the local and charitable food systems into one more sustainable and equitable system.”
Meanwhile, between Vermont Gleaning Collective discussions and Lamoille Valley gleans, we’ve been buzzing with activity in our Vermont Commodity Program. During the summer of 2017, we hosted 15 blind and visually-impaired young adults at our Vermont Commodity Program facility, through a partnership with ReSOURCE’s LEAP Program. The participants gained kitchen experience and were able to confront firsthand the issue of food loss and hunger in Vermont.
This summer, while the LEAP crew kept our facility humming, Salvation Farms committed to evaluate and refine the Vermont Commodity Program operations. Our Vermont Commodity Program handles large volumes of surplus crops through a job-readiness training program for unemployed individuals. During the first nine months of operations, trainees handled over 170,000 pounds of diverse crops, distributing over 460,000 servings of food to regional food access sites. Our refinement of the program includes instituting more sophisticated operational systems, refining our recruitment and enrollment process, polishing our training calendar and activities, and formalizing critical program partnerships.
We look forward to welcoming our next training cohort, who begin working and learning on October 2nd!
As part of refining our work, over the next year Salvation Farms will expand our Vermont Commodity Program business model by exploring the purchase of surplus crops from farmers, creating new Commodity products, and testing the feasibility and capacity needed to provide Commodities to both institutional meal programs and charitable food sites.
We look forward to support in this project from business consultant Diane Abruzzini, who is working with Salvation Farms for the next 6 months to revise the Vermont Commodity Program business plan. Diane, a recent graduate of the University of Vermont Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA, will assist with financial modeling, business strategy, and stakeholder relations in the Vermont Commodity Program.
“I have spent most of my career focusing on innovative ways to increase population access to local food, both the supply and demand side of the equation,” said Diane. “Salvation Farms is creating a unique opportunity to assist both sides at once: increase farmer revenue and facilitate new markets.”
Diane’s time with Salvation Farms is made possible by Cabot Creamery Cooperative.
“The 1,100 farm families who own Cabot Creamery are committed to supporting programs that not only bring more food to those in need, but also increase farm sustainability, while being replicable throughout the region,” said Cabot Creamery CEO Ed Townley. “Salvation Farms has a strong vision; we hope that by utilizing the unique set of skills Diane brings from her UVM SEMBA and work experience, their vision will be strengthened.”