Cultivating Connections
August 2020
ACORN's Lindsey Berk and RiseVT intern Cassie Kearney team up to distribute the weekly Farmacy CSA shares at the Hannaford Career Center's North Campus.
Behind the Scenes of Farmacy 2020
We're halfway through the second year of the Food as Medicine Program
Talk about COVID-inspired pivoting!

As part of the Farmacy "Food as Medicine" program, participants receive multiple points of educational engagement; an annual member handbook, a weekly newsletter with easy cooking tips, a recipe that uses that week's produce, and information about a partnering community organization, and, typically "tasty treats" that correlate with the weekly recipes.

This year's additional safety and health measures tasked us with coming up with a creative alternative to the "tasty treats." With help from the Midldebury Natural Foods Co-op, we quickly shifted to an online "kitchen hangout" with local chef Matt Laux.

Participants signed into Zoom and followed along as Matt whipped up a beautiful, easy to prepare multi-course meal. The Farmacy community shared tips, asked questions and learned a ton of great new tricks in the kitchen, such as the best way to eat a zucchini (when they're the size of your hand or smaller!) and that you CAN make sourdough without measuring ingredients, but you pretty much have to be a bread wizard with many rounds of trial and error under your belt, as Matt confessed to be.

The second year of the Addison County Farmacy program, launched July 9 and running through September 24, connects 65 families from Porter Medical Center and Village Health with 12 weeks of local fruit and vegetable shares from three local farms, New Leaf Organics, Lester Farm and Market and Firefly Fields. Learn more on our website.
If you'd like to support this Farmacy "Food is Medicine" program, please consider donating online today.
All photos courtesy of Todd Balfour, Balfour Studios
Local Food and Farm Guide App
One of the first effects COVID-19 had on ACORN was the cancellation of the 13th Annual Champlain Valley Guide to Local Food and Farms. This guide serves as a complete resource for residents, visitors, businesses and students to find local food and farm products.

As part of an ongoing collaboration with a team of Middlebury College students, ACORN will be launching a mobile-friendly app that will allow Champlain Valley residents, students and visitors to search and connect with your local foods business. The app will allow you to search for local food and farm products by category, town or map, connecting farmers using just a few swipes of a phone or tablet. This is planned to launch by Fall 2020.

BUT FIRST, WE NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE! Will you beta test the app for us?

Beta testing means you would download a trial version of the app to a mobile device (Apple or Android), try out the app in response to a few guiding questions while on the phone with one of the developers, and offer feedback. It's actually pretty fun and takes less than 10 minutes.

If you're interested in beta testing the app before its release, please let us know.

We're hoping to do this within the next week, so please reach out sooner rather than later.
Support Our Work By Rounding Up Your Change!
We recently found out we'll be the 10% partner in this September's Rally for Change Program at City Market!

Anytime you check-out at City Market during the month of September, you can choose to "round up" your total to the nearest dollar. At the end of the month, they donate 50% of those funds to Feeding Chittenden (previously Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf), 40% to an organization that aligns with their Global Ends, and 10% to ACORN!

ACORN has lost 2/3 of its funding in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. If you'd like to support our work directly, please consider donating online.

Our Local Farm Stands are BURSTING!

We literally live all year for this! Once you've tasted a juicy tomato or crunched into some fresh corn on the cob that was picked that very same day, you'll never go back to the supermarket for summer veggies again. Luckily, our neighbors agree - farmers with farmstands report they're doing extremely well this year!

To find a complete list of local vegetable farm stands in our area, visit our online map, or check out last year's Local Food and Farms Guide.

Hours and availability vary widely due; please call ahead to confirm.

Top photo: Layn Farms, Bristol
Other photos: Kingsley's Farm Stand, Brandon
ACORN Spotlight on: VT Releaf Collective
The Vermont Releaf Collective stands for Racial Equity in Land, Environment, Agriculture, and Food systems. They are a budding network of BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) in Vermont who enjoy, work in, lead in, benefit from, or contribute to the focus areas—land, environment, agriculture, and food systems—of Collective. From farmers and farmworkers to restaurant employees, entrepreneurs and activists to scientists and practitioners, advocates and researchers to educators and enthusiasts, our network seeks to create a collective alliance of BIPOC stakeholders and organizations who are deeply committed to promoting racial equity in land, environment, agriculture, and food systems initiatives. Learn more.

Online Events: Stay Connected and Informed!
Vermont Food System News
Rural Vermont is Plaintiff in Federal Lawsuit Challenging "Bioengineered" GMO Food Labeling

Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced his 2021 budget proposal – and included $2 million for the Immigrant Families Coronavirus Relief Fund!

Local Food Resiliency in Vermont - Check out this brand new website.

Crop Cash Triples Money Spent at Farmers Markets August - October

Bread & Butter Farm is Founding Farm for the Vermont Agrarian Commons

Volunteers needed for Community Supper in Middlebury. For more information or to volunteer contact Dottie Neuberger at 233-7588, or Michele Gilbert at 989-0096.
Farmer Resources + Opportunities
Find Vermont Food System Jobs via Farm to Plate

Center for an Agricultural Economy(CAE) Announces COVID-19 Response Micro-Grants for Farmers: Market Development & Sales Innovation $500 grants are available for vegetable producing farms in Vermont for market development and sales innovation in response to Covid-19. Eligibility criteria, form, and details can be found here.


Deadline for $5,000 Farmer Award Extended until September 18. This year’s award will recognize Covid-19 response and community engagement.


NOFA-VT Farm Beginnings and Journey Farmer programs
For all aspiring and beginning farmers in Vermont: Applications for NOFA-VT’s 2020/2021 Farm Beginnings and Journey Farmer programs are now open! Both programs are one-year long, beginning in late fall. Application deadline is September 14th, 2020. Questions? Contact Megan at or 802-434-4122, Ext. 7180.

Vermont Family Farmer of the Month Award - Applications Due September 11
Each month, this fund makes a financial award of $10-12k to a Vermont family farmer for a project that will improve the viability of the farm. Awards recognize farmers whose businesses are contributing to a resilient Vermont agricultural landscape and demonstrate environmental stewardship and innovation. Applications are due September 11th for November, December, January, February, March, and April awards. Learn more and apply at


COVID-19 Assistance for Ag & Working Lands Businesses - Deadline 10/1 for the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP) - Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first served basis, so the application may close prior to October 1 if all funds are expended.


USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently announced additional crops and payment eligibility for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Of particular interest to Vermont producers is the inclusion of Maple Sap in FSA's program expansion. Payments to producers can be for price declines, spoilage, and or un-marketed production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, farmers markets have become cemented as essential businesses, helping to connect farmers to customers, and customers to local, healthy food.

Is your farmers market one of the most essential in America? Vote today to help your market take home the $1,000 top prize!