Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Great Falls Food Hub (GFFH) Strategic Planning Meeting. GFFH is a collaborative between Post Oil Solutions and South East Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) with the mission/vision to “better the nutritional health of our communities and strengthen our local economies, while supporting the local farmers and creative food artisans who feed us.” They seek to “provide food that is Healthy, Local, and Fair to All.” The collaborative serves Windham, Cheshire, Sullivan and Windsor Counties in Vermont and New Hampshire.
The strategic planning session focused on GFFH’s three primary goals: 1) improve aggregation and distribution support for local food; 2) increase public awareness of local farms and food; and 3) increase community capacity to be food self-sufficient.
This group was filled with passion that carried the conversations and was brimming with energy for taking action, which helped greatly in our concrete steps planning! Several Antioch students, including myself, joined the committee for discussing the 3rd goal, which is really related to the concept of food access. We brainstormed as a group, but tried to stay focused on attainable short-term goals for GFFH to engage in. Some of the exciting ideas that came out were: a community and workplace gardens “help-line” or other mentoring network to expand learning on gardening in different settings; a Neighborhood Market and Healthy Convenience Store initiative; the expansion/creation of discounts or coupons for buying local food; and ways for farmers to donate excess food.
It was exciting to see that a number of the folks involved in the Farm Business Service Provider meetings attended this planning session. GFFH is working to link up the work that people are already doing in their communities to concrete, coordinated efforts on a regional, bi-state level!
And opportunities for CGC’s involvement abound!
The food access committee’s next meeting takes place at SEVCA, Friday, November 4th, at 4pm, for continuing this conversation on food access. If you’re interested in joining us, please contact Libby at firstname.lastname@example.org. This could be a great follow-up to our Food For All Community Conversation that’s taking place Thursday, November 3rd, 7-8:30pm. FOR DETAILS SEE FOOD FOR ALL FLIER IN OCTOBER 27 POST.