Home Gardeners Invited to Get Involved at the Vermont Food Venture Center

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Posted: August 23, 2011

Hardwick, VT, August 22, 2011 – On September 2nd and 3rd, the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) and Vermont Food Venture Center (VFVC) will receive and process home-grown garden vegetables and donate them to regional food pantries, including the Woodbury and Hardwick locations.  Annie Rowell, staff and primary of the VFVC minimal processing project, is coordinating “Stock the Pantry” to process locally grown food and continue CAE’s ongoing efforts to support local access to local food.

Recently, the VFVC processed 250 pounds of zucchini grown by local farms and distributed it to schools and one senior center in the area. The experience was valuable in helping Rowell expand the minimal processing at VFVC to other crops like spinach, peppers and squash. “By utilizing the processing equipment at the VFVC”, Rowell said “we can capture food from the community that potentially could be wasted from sheer over runs.”

The CAE’s Food Access program focuses on bringing local food to all Vermonters, from their annual Pies for People/Soup for Supper events to monthly donations and the Food Access Fund, a program that reimburses the Hardwick Food Pantry for local food purchases.  “By lightly processing vegetables into a more easily used form”, says Monty Fischer, Executive Director, “we can support local organizations that distribute food to those most in need and meet our goals of a healthy food system inVermont.”

People who are interested in donating their extra summer squash, sweet peppers or other excess vegetables to “Stock the Pantry” are invited to drop off their donations at one of four locations from September 2nd to September 3rd.  The VFVC will donate unprocessed vegetables to the local food pantries along with the minimally processed squash and peppers. Donation locations on September 2nd will be the VFVC at 140 Junction Rd, Hardwick from 8am to 4pm; the CAE table at the Hardwick Farmers’ Market at Atkins Field on Granite St., Hardwick from 3pm to 6pm. Donation locations on September 3rd will be the C Village Store at 25 S. Craftsbury Rd, Craftsbury from 10am to 1pm; the CAE table at the Craftsbury Farmers’ Market on the Craftsbury Common from 10am to 1pm. Other donation locations to be announced.

To volunteer for the processing or to find out more, please contact Annie Rowell at the VFVC at 472-5362, ext 4 or at arowell@hardwickagriculture.org.  For more information about food access and the Hardwick area food system, please visit the Center for an Agricultural Economy‘s website.

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