(Williston, VT) – This year Vermont Breakfast on the Farm shifted its approach to agritourism due to COVID-19. Instead of hosting in-person breakfast on the farm events, a virtual tour was held at Newmont Farm for 1,800 people in May. In addition, a new grant program was created to give Vermont farmers and industry organizations the opportunity to engage the public in learning about modern dairy farming in the Green Mountain State in creative ways.
Vermont Breakfast on the Farm awarded more than $31,000 to six dairy farms, farmer organizations and other Agricultural-based non-profits to promote dairy farming and dairy foods. The circumstances of 2020 made this initiative possible, and the projects outlined below will help further connect the public to hard working farm families and the dairy products they make.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous pressures on many aspects of Vermont life. The agricultural sector certainly wasn’t spared from these challenges,” explained Committee Chair Melissa Carabeau. “However, I am continually amazed by the hard work and perseverance of our dairy farming community. Our goal is for these grassroots-efforts to positively impact communities in a time when local food production has become more important than ever.”
2020 VT Breakfast on the Farm Grantees:
- Launch of a ’24 Hours of Farming in Vermont’ social media campaign. The project is a day-long celebration of dairy, food, and agriculture in Vermont. Dairy farmers, agribusinesses and others involved in the farm-to-table supply chain will share photos, videos and stories to engage and interact with consumers over a 24 hour period.
- Creation of sustainability-focused signage to be displayed along public recreational trails located on farm property in East Montpelier. The project is an innovative way to connect the community back to local agricultural lands and highlight the ways in which dairy farmers care for and enhance the Vermont landscape.
- Production of a ‘Follow a Farmer’ video series in which dairy farmers and on-farm experts discuss their roles in caring for their herds, maintaining lands, and creating nutritious dairy. Videos will be released regularly on social media to highlight Vermont farms and further educate the public about modern dairy farming.
- Production and delivery of 700 gallons of fluid milk to food shelves throughout northern Vermont. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to put pressure on families across the region. Milk is one of the most requested items at food banks.
- Sponsorship of a Mac-N-Cheese day at the Woodstock Elementary, Middle and High Schools. This local program ensures cheese is front and center once per month for four months in the Woodstock community school system. The local dairy food connection will be enhanced with educational dairy farming and dairy nutrition handouts for students.
- Development of a ‘Vermont Hot Chocolate Week’ to launch during the winter season. The initiative would feature dairy farmers, a ‘hot chocolate trail’, blogs, social media and events when possible. Cafes, coffee shops, restaurants and other partners throughout Vermont would be tapped to engage consumers around hot chocolate made with milk by local dairy farmers.
This grant program is an opportunity to empower farmers and organizations to amplify the core mission of Vermont Breakfast on the Farm: to engage the general public in learning about modern dairy farming in Vermont. Programs will be launched and completed by May of 2021. Each program is required to provide measurement and results of their activities.
These grants are made possible by the following 2020 corporate sponsors of Vermont Breakfast on the Farm and supported by the Vermont dairy community.
AminoMax (Agritech), Cabot Cooperative Creamery, Church & Dwight (Arm & Hammer), Booth Brothers, Cargill, Diamond V, Dairy Farmers of America, Front Porch Forum, New England Dairy, Phibro Animal Health, Phoenix Feeds, Poulin Grain, Vermont Economic Development Authority, Vermont Dairy Industry Association, and Yankee Farm Credit.