Greetings from the Co-op! I hope you and your family have a healthy and happy December. The Co-op is as lively as ever; we are catching our breath from Thanksgiving and transitioning to the next holidays.
I want to offer my congratulations and appreciation to the Farm to Plate Network for helping our state reach 12.9 percent local food and beverage consumption by Vermonters in 2017. Back in 2010, the state was at 5 percent and the original Farm To Plate plan established the 2020 target of 10 percent. The improvement in local consumption has resulted in 6,559 net new jobs and 742 net new businesses, and has established food and beverage production, distribution and retail as a key economic driver in Vermont. Hats off to the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund for successfully coordinating and supporting so much work in achievement of this ambitious goal.
Of course, everyone in the food system, from farmers to composting facilities, shares in this success, co-ops included. With the addition of Morrisville Food Co-op in 2017, Vermont now has seventeen food co-ops who serve to connect local food producers and shoppers year-round. Along with Adamant, Plainfield and Buffalo Mountain Co-ops, our co-op fills that role in Central Vermont. Here are a few noteworthy statistics from last year:
- 40% of our sales came from local products, which we define as “grown or value-added in Vermont and/or within 100 miles of Montpelier.”
- We sold more than $1.1 million in local produce, including over 93,000 pounds of local apples.
- Local sales also included over 59,000 dozen eggs, 36,000 gallons of milk and 10,000 pints of maple syrup.
- In total, we purchased more than $8.2 million in goods and services from 491 different Vermont businesses.
Our Co-op has long valued local food. Our Ends Policies, for example, define success in part as “local ownership and control of a comprehensive, sustainable food economy.” Our co-op is a good example of how core values can translate to organizational success. Fortunately, in Vermont, there are many businesses, organizations and agencies whose missions also focus on supporting local.
I hope that this exciting news motivates all of us to shop local a little more this holiday season. Whether its food, beverages or gifts, we are fortunate to have exceptional local options here in Central Vermont. In this era of corporate consolidation, it is gratifying to live in a place where small, local businesses can thrive and, in turn, support our community. Happy Holidays!
See you in the aisles,