Event to match growers with buyers

MIDDLEBURY — All Addison County growers are invited to attend the first ever “Producers’ and Buyers’ Forum: Where Buying, Selling and Marketing Happens.” Hosted by ACORN, the forum will take place on Thursday, March 10, from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Middlebury College’s Wilson Hall in the McCullough Student Center. In addition, ACORN will host a March 15 workshop on new and updated food safety and water regulations.
The March 10 forum includes a Buyers’ Roundtable on emerging local food market opportunities, breakout sessions with buyers, and marketing insights from Skillet Creative, a Vermont firm specializing in food marketing. Panelists include buyers from Sodexo, Deep Root, Middlebury College, the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union, the Abbey Group, Growers’ Hub, and Middlebury Foods, among others.
ACORN hosted four regional grower meetings around Addison County in January and February. “What we heard over and over again,” said Jonathan Corcoran, ACORN’s executive director, “was the need to develop and open up new markets for producers, including exports. The forum will be a great opportunity to develop new relationships and stimulate new business.”
Registration for the March 12 producers’ and buyers’ forum opens at 8:30 a.m. A local foods lunch will be served at noon. The cost is $10, and includes coffee, light refreshments and lunch. Purchase tickets at www.acornvt.org, as space is limited.
ACORN also heard from many farmers that they’d like clarity on new and updated food safety and water regulations. As a result, the organization will host a workshop for farmers and food producers on Tuesday, March 15, from 9-11:30 a.m. at UVM Extension, 23 Pond Lane in Middlebury.
Three top food and water specialists in Vermont will tackle regulations associated with safe food production and handling:
· Laura DiPietro of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets will outline the newly proposed Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs), the minimum standards by which a farm must manage its agricultural operations for improving water quality;
·Ginger Nickerson of the Center for Sustainability, UVM Extension, will focus her talk on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) geared to vegetable and fruit producers; and
·Kristina Sweet of VAAF&M will provide an overview on updates to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and its implication for Vermont producers.
The UVM Extension office is at the corner of Exchange Street and Mainelli Road.The workshop costs $10, payable by cash or check at the door, including coffee and light refreshments. RSVP to [email protected] as space is limited.

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