I just had the opportunity to appear on the WCAX morning news to talk about their “Grow an Extra Row” initiative (a partnership between the Agency of Agriculture, City Market, and High Mowing Organic Seeds), which encourages local gardeners to grow an extra row of produce and donate it to their local food pantry. It is a great way to get involved by doing something you love. You can get in contact with your nearest food pantry by going to the Vermont Foodbank website at www.vtfoodbank.org and clicking on “find a food shelf.” Fresh produce from your garden is a nutritious and great-tasting addition to your local pantry’s shelves, and it is a wonderful way to get involved. You can learn more abou this initiative at http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=10278787
This being graduation season, it is also great timing for the first graduation of the Community Kitchen program at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. The program is a partnership between the food shelf, the Vermont Foodbank, and the state of Vermont that provided 14 weeks of culinary training to seven women who were unemployed or underemployed. Two are moving directly to full-time jobs and five will be taking advanced culinary training at the New England Culinary Institute. Congratulation to the graduates! The next class is starting soon, and the Vermont Foodbank hopes to expand the program to other locations as we can.
I am also participating in a statewide conference today on the “Future of Vermont” sponsored by the Vermont Center for Rural Development. Participants from across the state will be discussing what priorities and policies make sense for Vermont in the next generation. I will be in a small group discussing an economic development plan. As our COO, Ed Fox, once told me, “The most important thing we can do for hungry Vermonters is make sure good jobs are available throughout the state so that everyone can put food on their tables, a roof over their heads and heat in their homes.” Let’s hope we make some progress! To read the full “Future of Vermont” report visit www.futureofvermont.org