Vt. Coffee Co’s Ralston launches nonprofit
MIDDLEBURY — The sale of Vermont Coffee Company to Maine-based Stonewall Kitchen should pay dividends to Addison County for years to come.
Not only will the transaction preserve and grow local jobs (see related story), it will result in the creation of a what Vermont Coffee founder Paul Ralston called a “new social venture” called Little Village Enterprises that will tackle food insecurity in the county.
Staffed by former Addison County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sue Hoxie, Little Village Enterprises, according to Ralston, will do “research and planning to try to address food insecurity and local food production in Addison County. One of the ways I’m going to be able to actualize that is by liberating some of the equity that I have in the coffee company.”
Ralston, a former Middlebury state representative who served on the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, has long been a voice for “growing good jobs, close to home.” He sees economic development as crucial in giving local residents the salaries they need to buy homes and raise families.
He alluded to statistics provided by Feeding America, a national nonprofit, indicating around one in four Vermonters is currently food insecure — a situation exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Feeding America further asserts there’s a gap of $40 million between the resources Vermonters have, and what they need to get the food they require.
“It’s a really significant problem and can’t be addressed by just donations and volunteer programs,” Ralston said. “It has to come from some economic growth, the ability of people to earn enough money to afford to live.”
Ralston promised more details about Little Village Enterprises during the coming months.
Homepage Featured News
Late spring frost devastates crops
When temperatures dropped below freezing during the early hours of May 18, it not only sur … (read more)
Pump track good for kids and adults
It’s fun, it’s free and it’s kid friendly. It’s the Middlebury Bike Pump Track, which open … (read more)
Orphaned bear cub rescued in Bristol
An orphaned, black bear cub was rescued in the Bristol area after a group of local minors … (read more)