Advancing Regenerative Trends
December 10, 2020
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People helping people, neighbors helping neighbors, businesses helping businesses.
Grocers: B2B Support thru C-19
Dan & Whit's a preeminent independent grocery store in Norwich is a long-standing community staple. They play an active role helping nurture the entire independent business community. Restaurant sales are down in the area & money-making alcohol sales are significantly less with take-out orders. However, at Dan & Whit’s alcohol sales are up considerably. With that fact,
owner Dan Fraser got to thinking & they recently started donating 10% of
alcohol sales on Fridays & Saturdays to area restaurants. The first recipient
was the Norwich Inn, which is adjacent to the store & since March has made difficult decisions impacting their loyal staff. Faithful & caring shoppers are adding extra donations helping this creative endeavor to support ailing restaurants. WCAX ran a story on it, catch it here. 
Crooked Mile Cheese, a micro goat dairy in Waterford ships their fine cheese via FedEx making it available to any store! They also ship DSD in their area. Fortunately for folks in the upper valley- it is available at the Lebanon Coop across the Connecticut River in NH & sold at Dan & Whit's. Picking up a bottle of wine, some crackers & Crooked Mile Cheese contributes to area restaurants through Dan & Whit's weekend-sales donation program.
Paradise Provisions in Warren prepares & awaits for the arrival of an
uncertain ski season & the holiday seven-day quarantine for out of state
visitors. In the shadow of Sugarbush this market has ready-made meals along with all the basics for gourmet & homestyle condo-cooking. High restock rates on Vermont products from Lesser Distribution
include Bove's frozen meatballs, pasta sauce, & salad dressing. When
combined with Paradise prepared meals made with local ingredients, it is
win-win for all our VT businesses that supply the store.
Made in Vermont is all the buzz this year for good reason. Wherever we can, let's do our best to support any & all of our VT businesses with our holiday gift giving. The VSFA has a fantastic list of food companies shipping their food anywhere & everywhere. Send a gift from our food producers to someone

Quote of the Week

"We want to remind all types of food producers that we can help them with their trucking needs. We are a local company able to help other local companies with fair pricing through our logistics & freight shipping department."
-James Gordon owner, Upper Valley Produce

Vermont Product Highlights
While there is not a "VT Specialty Dog Food Association" we do have producers of exceptional freshly baked treats! Andy's Dandys has done some retooling of their brand that includes new pouch packaging. It is easy to display, stock, & of course ship for gift-giving to canine friends around the country! This thriving business nestled in Richmond has been a success story ever since its concept to create a supportive workplace for young folks with special needs to develop business skills.
Is your business listed on the Farm
to Plate Food System Atlas? This resource is used widely & to illuminate the businesses & organizations that make up our food system.( Stores, farmers, distributors, specialty food producers, seed companies, etc). Is your business listed but perhaps the info you posted is now out of date? Please finish up this crazy year with an updated profile to help gain
exposure through this robust search capacity. It does not take long to do, yet
it benefits us all to have profiles that most accurately represent our business
& organizations. If you are reading Small should be listed!
It might be hard to focus on selfcare during a pandemic, but it is important. Dorset Daughters handcrafted artisan skin care products can be integrated into displays for self-care gift bundles. They are shipped to Vermont stores & nationally too.

Every area in Vermont has wonderful producers of health & beauty products selling DSD. Middlebury Coop has created a display of feel-good local products for easing our mind while taking care of our bodies through little pampering. Are you promoting VT health & beauty products too? Let us know if you need help with sourcing.
This year Vermont Fresh Network created fundraiser gift boxes with proceeds going toward their programs that build our local food economy by building relationships between farmers & chefs. Supporting local producers by sending gift boxes is a good thing, especially this year. Spread the Vermont love across the country & introduce our products to friends & family.

It should be noted that Vermont has competition. Minnesota has You Betcha Boxes- attractive specialty gift boxes of artisan foods across product categories. All small businesses across the country are seeking support this season. No matter where they are located, let’s keep in mind artisan producers are banking on our support. 
Upper Valley Produce provides freight logistics to Vermont & wider northeast region
Distribution: Freight
Upper Valley Produce provides logistics to local/regional growers & suppliers to help them achieve their transportation & distribution goals. They are a conduit between smaller farmers & large supermarkets & smaller retail food stores. In addition, they back-haul freight throughout New England at very competitive rates. For Vermont specialty food producers shipping pallets to distribution centers, UVP can meet many needs with a fleet of trucks reaching most of the state.
One of the great pieces of advice in shipping is building strong relations between shippers & carriers (food manufacturers & trucking). It can be a disservice in the long run to jump between carriers. It may be possible to reduce shipping on occasion but over the long run, carriers can build you into existing routes thereby reducing your costs & favoring a higher margin. When the carrier can maximize their assets & strong relations are in place, the supplier benefits with lower shipping rates. Also locally owned businesses tend to have more flexible approaches to shipping.
We all know a good reputation works wonders in business. When arranging with a carrier, shippers should strive to be super-efficient when loading; this generally allows for more favorable rates. A slow loading process costs the driver extra labor. This is noted & the supplier is flagged & might even be removed by the dispatcher. Basics for good relations include being efficient with product at the loading dock & having all paperwork lined up & ready to go. Logistics & transportation make up 60% of "supply chain costs". It is important to understand packaging-design carton specs to align with shipping needs. Packaging is not just about shelf placement. Do not wait too long before considering distribution variables attached to shipping. (More on this in a future post!).
Working to build strong relationships between carriers & shippers helps move the local food system toward efficiencies & profitability. Plan to re-visit expectations & review relationships annually for potential cost-savings. 
Stores across the state are trying to meet the needs of their community with creative ways to bring some cheer. Every December there are efforts to help children have gifts to open. Pandemic safety precautions make this an even more pressing issue in how donations & gifts are received.
The Putney Coop together with area businesses & the Putney Community Alliance, are reinforcing community connection between those better positioned to part with money with those most severely impacted. One can purchase ornaments for $10, $15 or $20 with proceeds going toward a gift for children in need. The ornaments are hung on a tree providing a semblance of Christmas cheer. The Coop will be purchasing the gifts locally whenever possible. 
Super important for farmers

Order your seeds early this year! Covid has impacted seed production & distribution which will add issues of availability for the 2021 season. It is expected that seed sales for home gardeners will again be high next year impacting wholesale availability. Buy early to ensure your seeds!

Farmers, we hope you caught Chris Callahan's webinar on Bags, Liners & Bins. If not, definitely check it out!
On July 2, 2020, Governor Scott signed Act 129 (H.656) into law. The legislation changed the definition of “local” and equivalent terms like “locally grown,” “local to Vermont,” and “made in Vermont” to better define Vermont food. The clarity should also help protect the value and craftsmanship of Vermont’s food and agricultural producers and processors. The new definition makes “local” synonymous with “Vermont” with respect to food products. It also offers opportunities to celebrate Vermont’s brand and recognize the value of buying Vermont products.

Questions or feedback about the new definition can be directed to: 
 (802) 522-6679
For more information, click here.
VAAFM has a regular e-news of info &
resources for farmers & interested folks. Find the current issue & sign up here.
Statehouse to Farmhouse
State House to Farmhouse is an annual opportunity for farmers, farmworkers, & legislators to build relationships. It is rich in dialogue about policy to create equitable agriculture that benefits all of our people, communities, & landscape. During a year where so much has changed on farms & within our greater food web, join Rural Vermont & area social profit organizations for a lively discussion on a range of agriculture & equity issues via zoom. Details & sign up here for the December 16th meeting 10-12:00
Farm to Plate Annual Gathering: Recorded sessions & resources are available. Thanks to our sponsor City Market which has a long, rich history of supporting our communities including local food producers & organizations. Thank you
City Market!
Are you a business spinning like crazy in these times? Are you stuck in your own head? Have you considered creating a team of outside advisers to run ideas through? Or maybe you'd like to partner with other business professionals for fresh insights. VSJF created You Tube videos to help businesses identify if an advisory board is good for your business. Check out the first in the series, then watch all the others.
Improve your retail operation
Do you carry gateway products?
Not sure what they are? Catch Take 5 Episode 6 for details. Farm to Plate Retail Services can help stores re-engage staff, assist with inventory management, & review operations using training tools.
Attention Everyone!
Please take the The Vermont COVID Consumer Survey. This short consumer survey gauges Vermonters’ attitudes & behaviors around travel.
A must read-one The Secret Life of Groceries is insightful, at times heartbreaking & inspirational. Available at any VT library through our intrastate loan program!
Unless otherwise noted, photo credits are from company social media, websites or Annie Harlow

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Contact: Annie H Harlow

Grateful for the funding support provided by High Meadows Fund
Week 40 of Covid December 10, 2020