Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter 2010/2011 Newsletter is hot off the presses!

It's a sunny, cold and snow covered morning here in Vermont, but the coffee is hot, the fire is warm and there is much to look forward to in the coming year.

READ the newsletter in its entirety here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Small Ag. Business Workshops beginning January 19th

Sponsored by the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) and the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE), join us for a 6 week workshop series called Introduction to Market Strategy through Computer Technology.

Specifically designed to reach out to any company, farm or organization that would like to understand market strategy through computers, their applications and the internet. Each workshop can be taken as an entire series or mix-and-match, based on your needs.

  1. Every other Wednesday, beginning January 19th and ending March 30th
  2. Classes are 90 minutes long, beginning at 7:15pm
  3. Classes are held in the Computer Lab at Hazen Union High School in Hardwick, VT
  4. $15/workshop or $60 for all six. Payment is due on or before January 19th, 2010
  5. Because of the overwhelming response, pre-registration is required.
    1. Please click here for the online link or email us. FIRST COME/FIRST SERVE with priority given to agricultural producers. Class size limit is 20.


Introduction to Market Strategy
through Computer Technology
Instructor: Warren Ramsey

During this class we will be learning the objective of any company/farm/organization; market strategy. Market Strategy is defined as a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. This being said there must be an understanding of how to receive and understand the technologies that are presented to us. A marketing strategy should be centered around the key concept that customer satisfaction is the main goal. But how do we accomplish this?

This program will give you the tools you need to work and compete in the 21st century and the programming that is available to almost all people. We will work together to break down concepts and understandings of certain terms and different programs that are used to better companies. This program will also answer any questions you have about programs and the different things you probably here about from people.

This is a breakdown of the key programs well be working with: (homework will be given out just to make sure everything is moving well and everyone understands; don’t want to leave anyone in the dark.)

Microsoft Suite (Weeks 1 - 2)

  • Excel Spreadsheet (week 1)
    • Learning about spreadsheets, how to use them, formulas, formatting)
  • Publisher (week 1)
    • Poster design, marketing ideas, colors to use
  • Word (week 2)
    •  Typing, how to use Microsoft Word, attachments
  • Powerpoint (week 2)
    • Powerpoint presentations, setup, design
Open Office (Weeks 3 - 4)

  • Calc (Week 3)
    • See Excel description above
  • Draw (week 3)
    • See Publisher description above
  • Impress (week 4)
    • See Powerpoint description above
  • Writer (week 4)
    • See Microsoft Word description above

Internet (Weeks 5 - 6)
Background info
  • Wix (week 5)
    • Website design, marketing to your demographics, creating an account
  • Facebook (Week 5)
    • Social networking, business, networking, creating an account
  • Linkedin (week 5)
    • Employee/employer networking, creating an account
  • Twitter (week 5)
    • Business/organization updates for constituents, creating an account
  • Youtube (week 6)
    • Video publishing
  • Google/Gmail/IGoogle (Week 6)
    • Searching on Google, working with different documents, setting up accounts, using gadgets for own needs.

Registration Form for Introduction to Market Strategy through Computer Technology

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sustainable Food Systems Education and Workforce Development

On our NEK Food Systems project website resources page, you can find an excellent report on sustainable food systems education and workforce development opportunities, commissioned by the Vermont Department of Education. Website:  NEK Food Systems - Resources

The report is entitled, "Growing Jobs, Vermont Style: Skills and Knowledge for Vermont’s “Sustainable Food System Cluster” and Natural Resources" (May 2010).

Please share your comments with us about the report or on the topic of sustainable food systems education.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Donate Equipment to the VFVC!

What do Ben and Jerry’s, Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Butternut Mountain Farm, Vermont Soy and Rhino Foods have in common? All have recently announced support of the procurement of equipment for the new Vermont Food Venture Center (VFVC) food-business incubator facility in Hardwick. In an innovative move to provide high quality equipment for a wide range of Vermont food processors the steering committee of the VFVC is reaching out to all signature Vermont food companies, restaurants and grocers for the donation of processing equipment.

Read the entire post here:

Vermont Food Venture Center is on the WCAX!

Check out the interview with Tom Stearns, CAE Chair, about the VFVC equipment needs!

Video Clip

Find out more VFVC at

Happy Holidays!!

Dear Friends and Supporters,

On this wintry day in December, as we look back at 2010, we at the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) are feeling grateful and amazed at the tremendous year we have had. This has been a challenging year for many non-profits, and ours was no exception. Yet in spite of those challenges we have continued to work towards our vision of an agricultural economy around a healthy, local food system.

As we look ahead to the new year, the support we've received from our community and beyond has filled us with enthusiasm and energy to continue our work. Your contribution of a year-end gift will continue to help us toward those goals.

(To read the remainder of the Newsletter, click the link below)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Connections Between People and Nourishment

Winter comes early in northeastern Vermont.

By Halloween, the air is so cool that costumes are graced with heavy jackets and mittens, impeding the eager hands that dig into coffers of candy. Thanksgiving tables are heavy with their burdens of food as the acrid smell of smoke from wood stoves fill the air and as we approach the Winter Solstice, there is often snow on the ground and dents in our root cellar inventory, as greens or fruit are harder to come by.

Winter comes early for those who are food insecure and hungry.

I am fortunate to be in a position where I do not have to choose between feeding my family or heating our house. For this reason, the frost on the windows while I wander the aisles of my local market, bring to mind the difficulty of those who are food insecure or hungry in Vermont. Cold temperatures slam into a wall of skyrocketing heating prices and this means those who are food insecure often struggle with two basic necessities to sustain human life. Although we are fortunate to have a network of organizations that work hard to fill in the gaps of food access for our population, it is one that needs support.

In a region where an abundance of food seems to be everywhere, we are well aware that many of our neighbors struggle to feed themselves. In a community blessed not only with farmers, but with artists, writers and poets, we are fortunate that so many care deeply for their fellow human.

Julia Shipley, a poet and writer, emailed yesterday as we prepared for tonight's Local Author Event & Benefit and she sums up the purpose of tonight beautifully.

"I think that freelance writers and sustainable ag. farmers have a lot in common in that they are both purveyors of nutrition--one feeds minds, one feeds bodies, both hope, through their practices, to nourish souls as well. In addition to raising funds, awareness and donations for the Food Pantry, I hope this helps folks recognize the connection between agriculture and culture. Maybe this event can be seen as experiment (a test drive) for building and strengthening more connections between people and nourishment throughout the area."

We hope to see you tonight!

Local Author Event & Benefit
with Caroline Abels, Bethany Dunbar, Ben Hewitt and Julia Shipley

St. John's Episcopal Church
39th West Church St
Hardwick, Vermont

Donations accepted for the Hardwick Area Food Pantry and the CAE's Food Access Fund

Contact Elena Gustavson with any questions.