image description: bright fall vegetables on a wooden picnic table in a field

As essential businesses, how are farms adapting to the evolving COVID-19 situation with no-contact direct sales, restaurant closures, and farmers markets in flux? Vermont is fortunate to have creative farmers leading the way, and a highly collaborative network of organizations supporting those farms and their communities.

In April and May 2020,.UVM Extension personnel, in partnership with many farmers, agricultural service providers including colleagues from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, NOFA-VT, Vermont Fresh NetworkVermont Farm to Plate, and community members, offered a series of interactive conversations in order to share strategies, challenges, and resources.  Our purpose has been to help farmers make a quick adjustment to new realities of selling local food, while embracing the opportunities to have successful businesses and serve communities in new ways.

Sourcing & Selling Vermont Food in the Time of Covid-19 Webinar Series: A UVM Extension Quick Response to Help Vermont's Farm & Food System Adapt Quickly

image description: large red barn under a blue sky

Did you miss the sessions when they first took place?  Don't worry - we recorded them all and also gathered the resources mentioned in each.

Direct Sales, eCommerce & Agritourism for Vermont Farms Description 4/8/20 Webinar Recording & Resources

Session Recording

Contacts and Resources

Lisa Chase of UVM Extension facilitated a conversation with:

Getting Started with Online Sales 4/15/20 Webinar Recording & Resources

Session Recording

Contacts and Resources 

Lisa Chase facilitated a conversation with Zac Smith from UVM Extension Farm Viability to provide an overview of how to get started online, following up on his terrific conversation with the UVM Extension Ag. Engineering podcast.  Having a website is just one part of the digital ecosystem.  This session was a brief overview of  the tools that must be in place in order to create a profitable online venture, including:

• Domains & Websites
• Types of onilne traffic
• Social networks
• Digital marketing
• eCommerce
• Analytics

Accepting SNAP/EBT as a Direct Market Farm 4/21/20 Webinar Recording & Resources

Session Recording

Contacts and Resources

Lisa Chase facilitated this conversation with Emmet Moseley and Jennie Porter from NOFA-VT about how direct market farms can get authorized to accept SNAP/3SquaresVT benefits (formerly known as food stamps) and obtain EBT processing equipment. With limits on access to farmers markets and the increasing number of Vermonters eligible for SNAP benefits, it is more important than ever to be able to process EBT payments

Meat and Dairy Direct Sales: Navigating Regulations, Licenses, and Aggregation Opportunities 4/29/20 Webinar Recording & Resources

Session Recording

Contacts and Resources

Lisa Chase facilitated this conversation with Center for Sustainable Agriculture Pasture Program Coordinator Jenn Colby and guests Beth Whiting and Bruce Hennessey of Maple Wind Farm, Greg Georgaklis from Farmers to You and staff from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, focused on regulations and opportunities for expanding livestock product offeringsAre you a meat or dairy producer in wholesale/bulk markets and are considering a shift into direct sales? Are you selling veggies and thinking about adding meat and dairy products to your direct sales?  Join Jenn Colby and guests to discuss regulations and opportunities for expanding product offerings.

Safely Selling Local Food at Farm Stands and CSAs during COVID-19, 5/6/20 Webinar Recording & Resources

Session Recording

Contacts and Resources

Demand for local food is surging, and many Vermont farms are heeding the call to feed their communities. They have adapted time and again to the evolving COVID-19 situation to ensure the safety of their food, customers, employees, and farms. They’re even selling products from other farms, along with their own meat, dairy, produce, maple, etc. This was a great discussion about COVID-19 best practices for farmstands and CSA models as well as current guidance and supports from state agencies, from presenters: 

Keeping a Focus on Equity and Access in Local Food Systems, 5/13/20 Webinar Recording & Resources

Session recording

Contacts and Resources

While farmers are shifting methods of sales and distribution, many are also continuing and developing practices that address community food access, broader food system justice goals, and other ways of addressing equity right at the farm level.  Please join farmers and other members of Vermont's agricultural community for conversation about how local farmers are engaging in this work, and what knowledge and relationships are supporting their efforts.  Lisa Chase facilitated presentations by:

Virtual Farm & Food Events, 5/20/20 Webinar Recording & Resources

As Vermont farmers and food producers adjust to new ways of selling local product to customers, they are also seeking to create meaningful and fun interactions that support community and build relationships.  Come learn from farmers, food producers and professionals working in regional agritourism on how they're creating virtual experiences that keep their customer relationships strong, even while groups are unable to come to their property.

Session Recording:

Resources and Contacts

 

This Conversation Series is a response to help Vermont’s farm and food system build resiliency and support safety in these challenging times.  If you have any questions about the series, please contact Lisa Chase or Cheryl Herrick.   Many thanks to our collaborating partners throughout UVM Extension, and in the broader community serving Vermont agriculture and communities as well, including the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets, NOFA-VT, Rural Vermont, Vermont Farm to Plate and Vermont Fresh Network.

We are grateful to be able to partner with our University of Vermont colleagues to offer live captioning for these events, and our colleague Becky Bartlett who helped with webinar accessibility and resource sharing.