By Rachel Carter
Communications Director, Vermont Farm to Plate Network
Vermonters were farming, gardening, fishing, and hunting long before there were craft beers and gourmet burgers. Traditions like gardening, hunting, fishing, and foraging are as core to Vermont’s local food movement as purchasing local food from farmers, restaurants, schools, and stores. Rooted in Vermont is a grassroots movement that empowers all Vermonters to be a part of the local food movement.
Vermonters are proud of tradition and our way of life. Local food connects us to the land, to our history, and to our communities. Rooted in Vermont is a movement to help all Vermonters see local food as their own—not because it is a trend, but rather a part of our history and who we are as Vermonters. The Vermont Farm to Plate Network, a network of over 300 organizations, is nurturing the Rooted in Vermont movement as a component to implementing Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan.
Rooted in Vermont Celebrates How Vermonters Acquire and Enjoy Local Food
Growing and foraging; purchasing directly from a farmer or at the store; hunting or fishing; eating at schools, institutions or restaurants serving local food; picking up food at a food shelf; or just sharing Vermont food and drinks with friends and neighbors—these are all examples of being ‘Rooted in Vermont’ and can be experienced in any Vermont community or online by following or using the hashtag #RootedinVermont.
“Our family has been hunting, making maple syrup, and growing our own veggies for years and that’s how we eat local food. I love that Rooted in Vermont includes these traditions in the local food movement. When more Vermonters can see their own values and traditions being celebrated and recognized, they will be more likely to seek out and purchase local foods—especially when they understand how it will benefit our state,” shares Liz Perreault, a Plainfield, Vermont resident who follows Rooted in Vermont on Facebook.
Rooted in Vermont has followers from all over the state on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In fact, Vermonters from all regions of Vermont and how they enjoy local food are featured on the Facebook page every Wednesday.
What constitutes a Vermonter? Anyone who lives and works in Vermont. The intention of the Rooted in Vermont movement is to create unity among all people who make their home in the Green Mountains without judgement about how they acquire and enjoy food—or any judgements for that matter. We are trying to shift the local food narrative on social media and in Vermont communities to be inclusive and invite all Vermonters to share how they are ‘Rooted in Vermont.’
Increasing Consumer Demand in Local Food
As more Vermonters engage in the Rooted in Vermont movement, grassroots outreach efforts will encourage ways to demonstrate increased demand in local food.
Cost, convenience, availability, and different food preferences all come into play when Vermonters make decisions about food purchases. But a little goes a long way! The power really lies with Vermonters to change the system by demanding more local food where we shop so that we have more in-state control about the food available to us and more economic opportunities for our families.
Increased consumer demand sends a signal to the marketplace for more local food to be produced, distributed, and available to Vermonters. Local food sales currently account for $6.9 percent ($189 million) of total food sales in Vermont. If 10 percent of the food purchased in Vermont was locally produced, it would equate to $300 million staying in the Vermont economy. Purchasing local products keeps more money here in Vermont, in turn creating jobs, supporting the in-state supply chain, protecting our family farms, and making local food more accessible to more Vermonters.
“I’m excited to see the local food movement grow, especially because increased demand for local food means more family farms and local businesses can be successful and will make more local food available at regular grocery stores and small town convenience stores,” shares Perreault. “Rooted in Vermont matters to Vermonters because it will help keep more money in our state and hopefully create more jobs. So many Vermonters struggle with a high cost of living and I think we can all get behind Rooted in Vermont and building a stronger Vermont economy.”
Join the Rooted in Vermont Grassroots Movement
• Follow the Rooted in Vermont social channels on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
• Share your Vermont Food roots and tag us in your posts on Facebook; use the hashtag #RootedinVermont on Twitter and Instagram.
• Like, share, comment, retweet, and repost our content with your friends and followers.
• Participate in local food activities and purchase local food—then share with us on social media.
Businesses, organizations, and Vermont communities can get involved too. Learn more at http://bit.ly/RootedinVermontMovement.