Green Mountain Farm-to-School Delivering Free Meals to Migrant Farm Workers in the NEK through Vermont Everyone Eats
Contact: Alida Farrell, Local Food Access Coordinator
March 22, 2021
In an effort to reach some of the most important yet underserved populations of the Northeast Kingdom, Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) is delivering 130 free meals per week directly to 65 migrant farm workers located at 10 different farms in Orleans County. These meals are provided by local restaurants as a part of GMFTS’s Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE) community hub. In total, GMFTS is coordinating the distribution of 1,600 free meals from 9 restaurants to NEK residents every week, thanks to a number of partner organizations and volunteers.
VEE is a statewide program addressing food insecurity and creating a stabilizing source of income for local restaurants and farms. This happens by reimbursing restaurants for the meals that they create, and requiring participating restaurants to use at least 10% local ingredients. The meals are then distributed to folks that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 or are otherwise experiencing food insecurity. Statewide, VEE has provided more than 700,000 meals at 134 different distribution sites managed by 18 community hubs.
Migrant farm workers are an essential component of Vermont’s agricultural economy. Many of these farm workers survive on low wages and live in communal housing on local farms without access to reliable transportation. Alida Farrell, GMFTS’s Local Food Access Coordinator who has been coordinating these deliveries said “We are making a concerted effort to directly serve these often overlooked members of our community with the goal of mitigating food insecurity caused by socioeconomic distress and isolation among these populations.”
A cohort of volunteer drivers based in Orleans County are delivering the meals every week. The volunteers are either delivering directly to farm workers at their front door, or leaving the meals in coolers in front of the living quarters. GMFTS is pleased to see this project operating successfully thanks to our passionate and dedicated volunteers.
GMFTS is a nonprofit organization located in Newport, VT with the mission of strengthening local food systems in Vermont by promoting positive economic relationships, education, and access between schools, farms, and communities. Learn more at www.gmfts.org