Members at NOFA-VT Winter ConferenceFebruary 23, 2019
Our members represented both the Vermont Fresh Network and DigInVT at the NOFA-VT winter conference.
A wealth of knowledge was shared last weekend at NOFA-VT's annual winter conference. The Vermont Fresh Network coordinated two sessions, one focusing on agritourism and the other on farm-to-care.
The Lifelong Pleasure of Local Foods: Local Menus for the Aging Palate featured Zea Luce, Vermont Fresh Network; Christine Moldovan, Age Well; Tim Pratt, Living Well Group; George Mackey, Westview Meadows and The Gary Residence.
Presentations and discussion included the fact that people are living longer and the related health and nutrition considerations. Taste, texture, salt, portion sizes, even the color of the plates come into play. It was noted how helpful it is when dining staff have a restaurant background and how far senior living facility food has come. Many of the VFN senior residences have highly discriminating clientele that expect the best and love to learn about new foods and hear farmer stories. Many chefs have instituted local food purchasing policies, engage in crop planning with farmers, have gardens on-site, and change their menus weekly.
For more info, several of our residence and hospital members are part of the Vermont Healthy Food in Healthcare work group; see their 7 minute video. Also check out the upcoming New England Farm to Institution Summit, April 2-4 in Amherst, MA.
A Cabin, a Concert, and a Casual Farm Dinner: Agritourism Stories from Three Unique Farms featured Tara Pereira, Vermont Fresh Network; Todd Heyman, Fat Sheep Farm; Amy Todisco, VT Food & Farm Tours, Hartshorn Farm; Chris Piana, Fable Farm Fermentory in an informative panel discussion.
Topics ranged from location, hosting, farm stay regulations, marketing, online reviews, and more. One of the big take aways was the importance of communicating with the local community; surprising your neighbors with loud music or parking issues is generally not appreciated. Find others who are doing the same thing; ask questions and learn from them. Having an immersive or very visual website is important; it allows visitors to get a taste of the experience. The conclusion? There is room to grow Vermont's agritourism industry.