Congratulations to the Farm to Plate Network for helping our state reach 12.9 percent local food and beverage consumption by Vermonters in 2017, surpassing a 2020 target of 10 percent. The increase from 5 percent in 2010 resulted in 6,559 net new jobs and 742 net new businesses. I applaud the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund for successfully coordinating and supporting so much work in achievement of this ambitious goal.
In fact, everyone in our food system, from farmers to composting facilities, shares in this success. Vermont’s 17 food co-ops have long played an important part in connecting local food producers and shoppers. Last year, our co-op alone purchased over $8.2 million of products and services from nearly 500 Vermont businesses. The Neighboring Food Cooperative Association estimates that New England food co-ops sell more than $90 million in local products each year.
Working together in Vermont and regionally, our communities are leading the way in creating a food system that drives economic development while providing healthy local food.
The writer is Hunger Mountain Cooperative's general manager.