Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interim Project Manager Hired for the Vermont Food Venture Center

For Immediate Release

Contact: Louise Calderwood, 802-586-2239, rcalderwod@aol.com

Interim Project Manager Hired for Food Processing Incubator in Hardwick

The Center for an Agricultural Economy is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Louise Calderwood of Craftsbury as the interim project manager for the 15,000 square foot Vermont Food Venture Center being constructed in Hardwick. The new building is a shared-use kitchen incubator for value-added and specialty food producers who can rent the kitchen on an hourly basis or arrange for co-packing or storage at the facility. The operation plan calls for anchor tenants in two sections of the building devoted to dairy processing and meat processing. The facility is expected to generate the equivalent of 16 full time jobs when it is fully operational.

Site work began on the Vermont Food Venture Center in mid May and currently the structure is a combination of steel supports sheathed in yellow insulation board. Work is on target for the building to be closed in and construction to continue through the winter months.

Calderwood is expected to provide outreach to prospective users of the Vermont Food Venture Center and to finalize lease arrangements with anchor tenants. Additionally, she will be responsible for providing leadership on many details necessary to ensure the project stays on track for an anticipated mid March 2011 opening date.

Tom Stearns, owner of High Mowing Seeds and member of the Vermont Food Venture Center steering committee stated “We are pleased to have Louise on board. With her knowledge of agriculture and attention to detail she will streamline access to the building for Vermont food processors.”

The non-profit Vermont Food Venture Center is a central piece of defining and promoting a local food system begun in recent years emphasizing community involvement, integrated and responsible agri-business, and a commitment to economic and nutritional health. Other parts of the localfood system includes the expanding of food system educational programs at the non-profit Center for an Agricultural Economy, the preliminary steps for creating an agricultural education center at the 15 acre Atkins Field at Cooper Creek in Hardwick, and the increasing number of garden plots available at the Hardwick community garden space located along the banks of the Lamoille River.

Funding for creation of the Vermont Food Venture Center has been provided by USDA Rural Development, the Vermont Agency of Economic Development, The US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Economic Development Administration. Individuals interested in utilization of the Vermont Food Venture Center can reach Calderwood at 802-586-2239 to arrange a tour.

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