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NEK Food System Plan Resources

Anywhere from 25% to 40% of the food that is produced, processed, and transported in this country will never be consumed. Food waste is more than an economic loss. It harms our environment by producing greenhouse gasses. The NEK Food Cycle Coalition is working to implement Act 148 by keeping food from the waste stream and redirecting it to those who can use it. Our goal is to establish an agile distribution system that moves healthy, fresh, and local food through the charitable food system with minimal loss. Our group meets monthly at NVDA. Read more about our work here. All are welcome to get involved! For more information, contact Alison Low at NVDA. 

Hardwick Business Accelerator Planning Gets Underway

The Town of Hardwick has selected Kitchen Table Consultants to lead a feasibility study for a next-level multi-tenant facility for ag-related businesses in Hardwick. The project -- funded by a Municipal Planning Grant -- will assess industry needs and available sites, resulting in a high-level operating plan and budget. Producer space is in high demand in Hardwick, and successful graduates of the Vermont Food Venture Center cannot always stay in the community once they have grown beyond the incubator phase. The Town of Hardwick, the Center for an Agricultural Economy, NVDA, and members of the business community have been working on securing production space that allows successful start-ups to stay in Hardwick and continue to contribute to the thriving agriculture and food-related business sector.


Hardwick business planning efforts also received a boost from a $250,000 Northern Border Regional Commission (NRBC) Grant, which will be used to help secure future use of the iconic Greensboro Garage "Yellow Barn" for potential agricultural-related enterprises. The Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that provides resources to spur economic and community development. For more information, contact Sarah Waring at the Center for an Agricultural Economy.

Additional Planning Resources

Storage and Distribution Report for Local Food in the Northeast Kingdom (May 2016)

Because storage and distribution remains such a critical challenge, the CAE and NVDA commissioned a study among producers, growers and distributors. These initial findings are a supplement to the 2016 NEK Food System Plan. The report identifies a range of potential solutions and opportunities -- and identifies best practices among distributors, shippers, and producers for sustaining successful collaborative efforts.


Northeast Kingdom Agricultural Transportation Feasibility Study (October 2016) Northeast Kingdom Agricultural Transportation Feasibility Study (October 2016)

This study expands on the Storage and distribution Study by exploring the feasibility of a collaborative, shared use, refrigerated delivery vehicle. But there are additional findings! For example:

  •       ● The avg. cost of transportation for food fleets in VT is ~$1.30/mile, compared to a nationwide cost of ~$0.76/mi.
  •       ● Producers or shippers with trucks should consider leasing vs owning, if their expenses average higher than $1.30/mi, or if they drive 15,000 miles or more per year.
  •       ● The study also contains a cost matrix for shippers, showing the value of product that must be on the truck to achieve selected profit margins.

Local Food System Partners & Resources

  • Center for an Agricultural Economy - The Center for an Agricultural Economy envisions a future with thriving landscapes, healthy local food, and vital, equitable communities. We believe a place-based agricultural economy and intentional community development is the path to this future.
  • Vermont Farm to Plate - Vermont’s food system plan being implemented statewide to increase economic development and jobs in the farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters.
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont - a nonprofit association of farmers, gardeners, and consumers working to promote an economically viable and ecologically sound Vermont food system for the benefit of current and future generations.
  • St. Johnsbury Area Local Food Alliance - a Vermont non-profit organization devoted to increasing local food production and consumption.
  • Newport Fresh by Nature - is a whole-hearted approach to connecting consumers, growers and makers of the region. By making it easy for you to find quality you can trust, flavors you can taste and food you can trace right to its source, Fresh by Nature proves that the best way to a town’s heart is through your stomach.
  • Green Mountain Farm to School - A leader in the growing farm-to-school movement in Vermont, Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) mission is to restore and strengthen local food systems in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont by promoting positive economic and educational relationships among schools, farms, and communities
  • Green Mountain Farm Direct - a regional food hub increasing access to healthy food by delivering from local farms to schools, restaurants, and institutions in Northern Vermont.
  • Fresh Start Community Farm - (Facebook Page) dedicated to growing Organic food for the community. We have 5 gardens in the Newport area and 2 in the Derby area.
  • Upper Kingdom Food Access - (Facebook Page) is a community initiative to support "healthy food access for all" in Orleans and northern Essex Counties, VT.
  • Hunger Council of the Northeast Kingdom - to end the injustice of hunger and malnutrition for all Vermonters, we strive to make long-term, systemic changes to end hunger and malnutrition in dignigied ways for Vermonters of all ages.

Planning Publications Resources

  • Vermont Farm to Plate Strategic Plan - The most comprehensive statewide food system plan in the country and the first of its kind in New England.
  • Sustaining Agriculture Land Use Modules - Training modules developed by Vermont Farm to Plate, which provides guidance and resources on issues like food system planning, agripreneurism, and composting, as well as farmland conservation, farmland and taxes, and land use regulations. 
  • Upper Kingdom Food Resource Directory - Connecting residents, school, and institutions with food access resources, nutrition education programs, community gardens, gleaning, and more.
  • Maple Syrup Producers in the Northeast Kingdom - A listing by county including location and contact information.
  • Vermont Land Link - A free and user-friendly portal that connect farmers and landholders.
  • Land of Waste - This analysis provides national perspective on waste, landfills, and methane gasses -- and the 20.2 tons of landfill waste generated per person each year in Vermont.