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We're a network of Vermont Chefs, Farmers, Food Artisans, and Diners.

Project Examples - VFN Conference Program

The goal of the VFN Conference Program is to build professional networks beyond Vermont and also within Vermont. We ask grant recipients to plan ahead for a project to share what they've learned when they return. These projects are also what allow the grant program to continue, because they each have a fundraising element to add money back into the pool. The Vermont Fresh Network can help with project planning and to get word out about each initiative. Here are examples of past projects:

Claire Georges (Butterfly Bakery of VT) attended Slow Food Nations in Denver, Colorado, in July of 2018. She was exploring the many different ingredients showcased at the event, and how they are incorporated into different dishes. Back in Vermont, she developed the "Partners and Pairings" specialty hot sauce with flavors designed to complement Vermont's local food, and also with a taste profile inspired by the foods at a pairings workshop she attended. Claire unveiled the hot sauce at the VFN Annual Forum dinner and talked to diners about her experience. She is also writing a follow up article for Vermont's Local Banquet. All profits from the specialty hot sauce line return to the VFN Conference Program.

Bill Cavanaugh (Mad River Food Hub) attended Slow Food Nations, and also the Slow Food leadership summit that offered smaller group sessions before the larger gathering. He's brought information from that summit back to share with Slow Food Vermont. In a public event, this September 21st, Bill and the Mad River Taste place are hosting a "Meat and Mingle" butchery and charcuterie workshop. It will combine education about sustainable farming and artisanal butchery with a chance for farmers, chefs, food producers, and people interested in small scale meat production to meet each other. The event is free, but there is a suggested $20 donation to support the VFN Conference Program.

Ashley Nunez (City Market) will be attending the FoodTank Issues Summit on Food Waste in October. Her project is only in the "proposed" stage, details will undoubtedly change, but it was particularly well articulated so we're including it for other applicants as an example. City Market will offer a breakfast sandwich special that utilizes seconds/spent/”waste” products from local producers and City Market’s own kitchen. Examples of the types of ingredients available include chicken sausage made in house from trim chicken, ketchup from a local farm’s bruised and unsellable tomatoes, trim from a local cheese maker. The educational component will be coordinated with their communications team and include in-store signage along with social media promotions. VFN will help with communicating the model to other kitchens that might be interested in lessons learned. City Market already has an established program for making donations to local nonprofits, and the VFN Conference Program will receive funding via their Rally for Change - but if that system weren't already in place, something like a $1 donation from each breakfast sandwich served would have been an option.

The specifics of the project might change after the Summit, but Ashley explains the overall objectives this way “The creation of this product, and the promotional campaign around it, will serve as a public outreach tool, offer financial support to local farmers through the purchase of their non-retail grade produce, and offer an example of how the themes of food loss and waste can be tackled in a large scale kitchen operation in conjunction with other efforts such as composting, tracking waste, and the other ways in which we utilize seconds and can support our local producers.”

A project description that articulates the project concept + educational component + fundraising component + bigger goals that will be met even if the details change = a winning combination for applications. 

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