For Immediate Release

December 26, 2017

 

Rutland Area Farm and Food Link Programs Will Continue

Rutland, VT — The board of directors of the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link is pleased to announce that all of its five existing programs will continue operating into the future, despite RAFFL’s impending closure. The RAFFL board announced in October that it would cease operations by year end, but hoped to transition these successful programs to other local non-profit organizations that could provide leadership and stability going forward.

RAFFL runs five programs that support farms, connect the community to local produce, and provide a unique service in the Rutland area:  Everyday Chef, Glean Team, Farm Fresh Connect, Farm Business Development, and the Locally Grown Guide.

“It has been our goal to see that RAFFL’s legacy will continue through the programs that so many local producers and customers depend on,” said Larry Courcelle, RAFFL board president. “We are thrilled that the programs will continue under new leadership that will position them for future success.”

The Vermont Foodbank will take over the Glean Team, which gleans unharvested produce from local farm producers and donates it to local food shelves.  In addition, the Vermont Foodbank is partnering with The Vermont Country Store to operate the Farm Fresh Connect online market. They will form an advisory team that will develop a strategic plan for Farm Fresh Connect and leverage opportunities to work with local colleges to support both the Glean Team and the online market.

This new advisory team will also retain the Locally Grown Guide through 2018 and will develop a plan for its future beyond that date.

Everyday Chef, which provides cooking workshops featuring locally produced food, will continue under the leadership of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont. NeighborWorks had been partnering with RAFFL on Everyday Chef through the Youth Employment Initiative, a start-up that offers supportive entry-level positions to teens from northwest Rutland by teaching them marketable culinary and business skills. The entire Everyday Chef program will now be integrated into NeighborWorks’ portfolio of community revitalization programs.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) will take on the Farm Business Development program, which provides support and guidance to new farm producers to grow and expand their business.

“Each of RAFFL’s programs is well established and popular with those they serve,” said Mr. Courcelle. “We are grateful to our for-profit and non-profit friends who will continue where RAFFL is leaving off. We could not be more pleased that the seeds we have sown will be given the opportunity to grow and prosper.”