Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Farm to Plate Update

The staff of the Farm to Plate Initiative is busy finalizing the first draft of the Farm to Plate 10 year strategic plan.

"We're working to complete in-depth research which explores past trends, present conditions and potential future of Vermont's production, distribution, storage and processing capacity, food security, livestock production and meat processing, on-farm energy, and other major aspects of our food system. We're also working with Dan Erickson of Advanced Geospatial Systems, LLC to produce dozens of maps to enable us to assess and analyze Vermont's food system from a geographic perspective. Maps will be integrated with the text throughout the plan. And we're slowly but surely collecting dozens of vignettes, quotes and photos to illustrate existing conditions, trends, and innovative solutions -- telling the stories throughout the Plan."

Here's their current timeline:

June -August 14, 2010: Finalize 1st draft of the strategic plan; collect input on cost of implementation of strategies; complete economic impact analysis
August 15 -September 30, 2010: Public Comment Period
October 1 -December 31, 2010: Finalize the plan
January 2011: Release the plan and present to the legislature
January -December 2011: Take the plan on the road and begin implementation

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hello from Erin, the CAE's Summer Intern

Hello hello. This is Erin writing from the CAE's office on this June afternoon (I love how that rhymes). I come in to help out here about three times a week, but last Friday I had the opportunity to join Elena outside of the office for the Taste Test for a local lunch at the schools in Craftsbury.

First I'd like to say how pleased I was when I first heard about this project. I was a kid who brought lunch from home when I was in school because the generic options of pizza and chicken nuggets were nothing to the fresh fruit salad my mom would pack. Having a not only fresh and healthy, but local lunch at these schools is a wonderful idea and now I'm happy to say that I have had a (small) part in implementing it.

So, on Friday afternoon I arrived to the Craftsbury Elementary School and helped hand out the surveys I had copied and cut on Thursday afternoon for the kids to rate how they liked the food. (I'm the redhead in yellow on the right :) )

Then I got to help down the hall prepare bowls of salad as the kids lined up to receive samples of macaroni and cheese, pizza and a veggie wrap. I was surprised at how willing the kids were to chose their bowls of salad and take the pickles I was putting on their plates has they went back to their classrooms to eat and rate the food.

The process was similar at the middle/high school up the hill. I handed out the surveys and the students were surprisingly open to trying out these locally made food choices. After I had collected the surveys I got to have a sample! Everything was delicious, believe me. I almost wish I could go back to high school so I can have that veggie wrap for lunch.

This week I tallied up the student's opinions on the food. The Mac & Cheese was the winner with the most "love it" rating. The salad bar, surprisingly enough, was next in popularity. While there were plenty of "didn't like it" responses, that is expected, especially among k-12 graders. But overall I'd say this taste test was a success, and I hope this once a week local lunch program proves to be successful as well. I'll have to pay a visit during lunch time next year to make sure the food is meeting the same high standards. :p

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Volunteer Opportunities at the CAE

There are currently opportunities for volunteering at the CAE! We are looking for people to help out at events we will be hosting over this summer, such as the Kingdom Farm and Food Days on August 21-22. Possitions will include coordinating parking and working at the CAE table.

There are also volunteer opportunities in the Hardwick Community Gardens. We are looking for people who are interested in hosting gardening workshops as well as a volunteer to be the Community Gardens Coordinator. Their job would be to organize these workshops, as well as managing weekly meetings with the gardeners.

If you are interested in volunteering for the CAE, please contact our Community Outreach and Education Coordinator Elena Gustavson at hardwickagriculture@gmail.com. More information can also be found on our website.

Two volunteers, Cheryl and Wenonah, at the CAE table during
2009 High Mowing Seeds Field Days