Announcing: Vermont Equipment Access Program

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Posted: August 7, 2014

NEW PROGRAM LAUNCH: Partnership across Vermont’s two food business incubators helps small food entrepreneurs to grow!

August, 2014:

The Mad River Food Hub, the CAE Vermont Food Venture Center and the Vermont Community Loan Fund are pleased to announce a new equipment leasing program for food businesses and entrepreneurs.

The Vermont Value-Added Producer Equipment Access Program will help emerging food business by creating access to specialized equipment that will help them increase production and enhance product quality. Participants will have worked with a food business incubator for at least 3 months, have annual revenue of over $20,000, be planning to use the equipment in Vermont and directly or indirectly source ingredients from Vermont farms and producers.

The Equipment Access Program has been made possible by philanthropic support, in particular from the Castanea Foundation, High Meadows Fund, the Surdna Foundation, the John Merck Fund and the State of Vermont’s Working Lands Enterprise Initiative.

“Food businesses face the challenge of scaling up their operations on a regular basis,” says Robin Morris, owner and founder of the Mad River Food Hub in Waitsfield, VT. “This program will provide a solution for the clients of the food hub facilities by providing timely access to the critical equipment needed to produce more efficiently.”

The Equipment Access Program is being launched in partnership with the Vermont Community Loan Fund, whose mission is to create opportunities for healthy communities and financial stability for all Vermonters. The Program will be a revolving lease fund, so that as funds are repaid, they will be used again to purchase a new piece of equipment for another food business.

“We expect the Equipment Access Program to grow and serve many working lands businesses,” says Will Belongia, VCLF executive director. “The Loan Fund is always looking for new opportunities to grow Vermont’s food and farm economy. We’re thrilled to partner with Vermont’s two food incubator facilities as they provide technical assistance to these businesses.”

“It is particularly exciting that we can collaborate across the state,” says Sarah Waring, executive director of the Center for an Agricultural Economy, which owns and operates the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick. “Between Mad River Food Hub and the VT Food Venture Center, we have over 40 customers who are processing at our facility, and another 50 or so who have been accessing our business advising programs. We definitely have the people to put this new equipment to work!”

Applications are available through the Mad River Food Hub and the CAE Vermont Food Venture Center. For more information, contact Sarah Waring at the Center for an Agricultural Economy, or Robin Morris at the Mad River Food Hub. For more information on the loans and grants available through the Vermont Community Loan Fund, visit

Sarah Waring: Center for an Agricultural Economy 802-472-5362,,

Robin Morris: Mad River Food Hub, 802-498-7379, ,

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