With partners in the Blueprint Initiative, to provide emergency technical assistance to up to 160 small-scale farmers and food entrepreneurs across New England.
To support the Farmer Emergency Fund and Relief Milking Program, advocate to ensure access to healthy food for all Vermonters during the pandemic, and provide technical assistance to help farmers find new markets for their products during the crisis.
To enable the partners in the New England Food System Planners’ Community of Practice to increase staff capacity in areas such as communications, outreach, policy advocacy, administration, and fundraising during this public health emergency, and to support VSJF in its COP coordinating role.
To support Vermont’s immigrant farmworkers during this public health emergency, and to advocate to ensure all “essential workers” in Vermont’s agricultural sector are protected and supported regardless of immigration status.
With the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, to offer emergency grants to small-scale farmers and food processors affected by the public health crisis.
To repurpose locally grown vegetables originally processed for cafeterias for expanded retail markets, and to plan for how the processing center can retain these retail sales beyond the crisis.
To respond to expanded demand for local/regional food resulting from the public health emergency, including increasing purchase and sales staff capacity and expanding cold storage capacity to improve efficiencies.
To adapt internal systems in response to the COVID-19 crisis, including pivoting a wholesale system to serve home delivery and curbside pickup.
To pivot to meet market demands arising from the COVID-19 crisis, including making warehouse improvements that meet food safety and organic standards and updating and expanding marketing efforts, particularly for COM’s “50 Small” cobranded product line.
To provide technical assistance to farm and food businesses, conduct food safety and worker safety training, collaborate to ensure emergency food programs include local farm products, and otherwise respond to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.