Consumer Education and Food Access Coordinator
Green Mountain Farm to School
Food Access Coordinator
The Center for an Agricultural Economy
On Thursday, April 29, Vermont Everyone Eats, an innovative COVID-19 response program, celebrated one million meals served to Vermonters from Orleans County restaurants and caterers like the Parker Pie Company, Tatro’s Catering, Craftsbury General Store, Newport Natural Foods, Lago Trattoria, Wayne’s Family Restaurant, Jay Village Inn, Parson’s Corner, the Vermont Pie and Pasta Company, and Miso Hungry Ramen.
Over 200 Vermont restaurants have contributed to the one million meals, which have contained nearly $1-million of Vermont ingredients.
Fourteen community hubs execute the programming in all 14 Vermont counties. These hubs represent hundreds of community organizations that are working together to contract meals from participating restaurants, manage delivery logistics, promote the program, and ensure the meals are delivered safely to meal recipients. Through leveraging strategic partnerships with organizations like RuralEdge, hubs have ensured meals reach even the homebound members of our community, as well as those living in affordable housing developments. The participation of community members has helped restaurants remain open and frontline restaurant workers employed throughout the pandemic.
The program was created and has developed through powerful, cross-sector, public-private partnerships. Jean Hamilton, Vermont Everyone Eats Statewide Coordinator acknowledges the important role of the community hubs, “Vermont is well-known for its community organizations and thank goodness for them. In less than nine months, our program was launched from a concept to this moment, 1 million local meals delivered to neighbors all across our state. We were able to do this because of the community organizations that stepped up and got right to work.”
The program was launched in August 2020 with an allocation of $5-million of the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund contracted by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to Southeastern Vermont Community Action Agency. The program would have expired in December, but widespread community support and advocacy empowered the program and state partners to secure additional funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program has been extended through the State of Emergency.
For more information about the restaurants and organizations involved in Orleans County’s Everyone Eats Program, visit the Center for an Agricultural Economy at NourishHardwick.org, Green Mountain Farm to School at greenmoutainfarmtoschool.org, and Northeast Community Action at nekca.org.
For more statewide information about Vermont Everyone Eats visit www.vteveryoneeats.org.
— from Green Mountain Farm to School and the Center for an Agricultural Economy.