In Vermont, the effort to boost local food production is a priority
that’s spelled out explicitly in state law. The Legislature passed the Farm
to Plate investment program in 2009. The program aims to create jobs in the
farm economy and improve access to healthy, local foods.
Vermont has proved fertile ground for food co-ops and farmers’
markets. But advocates for a strong local food economy say it’s not enough to
make nutritious local foods available. They
want to get fresh locally grown food to everyone.
Planners looking to boost downtowns around the state have been focusing on home
grown stores that specialize in fresh produce and local products. In Barre, a group hopes a new co-operative grocery store will revive the city’s central business district.
In Rutland, organizers of the city’s newly expanded winter
farmer’s market say they’re thrilled with the community support they’ve
gotten. The larger location has boosted
attendance and sales for participating vendors.
Food and food products increasingly have become
a key part of the state’s economic development strategy. From small-scale
farming to value-added agricultural products, the business of food could become
the business of Vermont.