Thursday, March 10, 2011

Announcing the Vermont Farm Fund!

Pete's Greens and The Center for an Agricultural Economy 
Partner to Create the Vermont Farm Fund

Partnership will create fund to support Vermont farmers.

Craftsbury, VT., March 9, 2011—A new fund, organized by Pete’s Greens and the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE), aimed to help Vermont agricultural organizations, is on the fast track to becoming a reality. Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens, and Monty Fischer, Executive Director of CAE met recently to outline the details to create the Vermont Farm Fund. Plans include the creation of an advisory board by the end of March and focusing the funding towards innovative and progressive agricultural efforts by Vermont farms, including support for farm-to-school initiatives, emergency farm relief and exploring the establishment of small farm loan funds.

“We are setting an aggressive pace to get the Vermont Farm Fund going so donations can be received immediately,” said Pete Johnson. “In addition, a few years from now, Pete’s Greens will begin to reinvest the money that was donated by the community to help us rebuild. We are committed to paying that money forward and to making sure that the funding donated to us will do more good work down the line.”
Pete’s Greens barn which housed its processing facility, equipment, supplies and food burned to the ground in mid-January. Since then the farm has received over $130,000 in donations as a result of statewide community efforts and individual donations, including a large online auction, a concert, local dinners and events. As donations began to roll in, Johnson and his staff embraced the spirit of supporting Vermont agriculture for which the donations were given and the idea to “pay it forward” was born. As a non-profit dedicated to supporting the efforts of small farms and progressive agricultural pursuits, the Center for an Agricultural Economy will house the fund and oversee the process.

Pete's Greens is a four season organic vegetable farm located in Craftsbury, VT and owned by Peter Johnson. The farm's top priority is growing a wide variety of crops to feed Vermonters year round. The weekly food delivery program Good Eats is based on the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model in which customers pay up front for vegetables and other farm products receiving a share each week. Shares at Pete’s Greens save members an average of 18% per week over retail prices. Pete’s Greens vegetables are also sold at regional stores and restaurants as well as local farmers’ markets. More information is available at

The Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) is a non-profit organization based in Hardwick, VT that focuses on supporting a healthy, ecological and economical local food system, through community involvement and education as well as research and small agricultural business support. In the spring, CAE will operate the newly built Vermont Food Venture Center, an incubator kitchen with a focus on value-added agricultural products. More information is available at

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Upcoming Events! Check out our Newsletter

Read our most recent newsletter on upcoming events in March.

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NEK Food & Farm Summit - April 2, 2011

Full Workshop Schedule Available March 4

Northeast Kingdom Farm & Food Summit

Saturday, April 2 from 9 am – 4 pm at Lyndon State College

Workshops, Information Sessions, and Networking on a variety of topics:

Business Planning, Composting, Farm Safety, Agritourism, Local Food Distribution, Dairy Goats, Micro Dairy Processing, Food Specialty Businesses and Value-added Production, Digital Marketing, Fiber, Diversified Production, NEK Food Systems Planning, Composting, Renewable Energy, Farm to Plate, and MORE!

--This event is free and includes lunch--

For more information, please contact Gloria Bruce, 802-626-8511, 


Erica Campbell,

Small Business and Food Entrepreneurship Events

Specialty Food Seminar with Annie Christopher and Peter Backman of Annie’s Naturals

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Craftsbury Public Library, Craftsbury Common, VT

Join Annie Christopher and Peter Backman, founders of Annie’s Naturals and successful entrepreneurs, in the beautiful Craftsbury Public Library to learn about product development, label design, container choice, cost, distribution and marketing for the specialty food market.

Annie has a BA from Colorado Womens College in 1964 and an A.S. from New York City College of Technology in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1983 with an emphasis on Culinary Arts. Peter worked as a farmer in his early twenties on the family farm and became a salesman for the family printing company Capital City Press and worked for 15 years in sales in the printing industry. Annies Naturals was founded in 1984 by Annie and was located in North Calais at the family homestead. Peter joined the company in 1990 to oversee Sales and Accounting. They were partners in the business and oversaw many aspects of the company together until it was sold in 2005

Bringing Your Product to Market: Specialty Food Product Development

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Sterling College Houston House, N. Craftsbury Rd, Craftsbury Common, VT
8:30am - 4:30pm

Join two experts in food development, product placement and marketing. This full-day comprehensive workshop with Cathy Bacon and Molly Creelman will include topics like market research, goals and objectives, where to sell, competitive analysis, product testing and refinement, packaging, labeling and pricing and margins. If you are selling or plan to sell your products, this seminar is not to be missed!

To sign up or for more information, please visit the Vermont Small Business Development Center site or copy and past the following url into your browser window:

Cathy Bacon, founder of Cathy Freedom Foods, LLC operates a Randolph based food development center that supports consulting through co-packing services since 2008. For the previous 20 years Cathy operated a specialty food company focused on using locally produced ingredients. Active in supporting local, regional and national sales and marketing of Vermont products, Cathy worked with local food producers supporting kitchen to market activities. Cathy’s credentials include serving on a number of community boards as well as the VT Specialty Food Assoc., VT. Grocers Assoc. and VT Handcrafters.

Molly Creelman’s professional experience ranges from government, marketing and education. Molly campaigned for Gov. Jeanne Sheehan and served as her Director of Scheduling. Using her public figure experience, Molly subsequently was a senior sales executive at a national event marketing and advertising company. She created, budgeted for and sold interactive marketing programs for food brands within national companies including: Kellogg's, Campbell's, Procter& Gamble Co. and Coca Cola. Partnering her clients with Nascar events, NFL games, Spring Breakers on location and pop star concert tours, Molly has direct experience with product placement, sales, marketing and co-branding synergies for food brands. Molly taught both United States and European History before starting Miss Molly's Provisions.

The Center for an Agricultural Economy is an equal opportunity provider and employer. We would like to thank USDA Rural Development for making this possible.

Northeast Kingdom Systems Planning Summit

Northeast Kingdom Systems Strategic Planning Summit

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Sterling College, Craftsbury Common, VT
5:30 pm - Local Food Meal
6 pm - 8:30 pm - Presentation & Discussion


Monday, March 14, 2011
North Country Career Center, 209 Veterans Ave, Newport, VT
5:30 pm - Local Food Meal
6 pm - 8:30 pm - Presentation and Discussion

The Center for an Agricultural Economy and the Northeastern Vermont Development Association
have been working with stakeholders around the NEK to develop a Food Systems Strategic Plan.
This summit will allow the public to learn about the key findings from the planning process,
and to discuss draft goals and recommendations.

For more information, please contact Erica Campbell, 802-272-0886
or email RSVPs welcome.