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- Local food and farm economy heats up as farmers purchase former Mintzer Complex
Wed, Aug 15, 2012 03:05 PM
Building on the successful Vermont Farmers' Market model in
Rutland that annually generates over a million dollars in sales,
the Vermont Farmers Food Center will open on November 3.
The Center will usher in a new food system that will insure that
everyone, regardless of economic status, has access to fresh,
wholesome, local food year-round. The three-acre complex on 251
West Street will be the permanent home of the Winter Farmers'
Market, Vermont Foodbank and the Rutland Community Cupboard.
Multiple activities are planned for the Center which is owned by
the Vermont Farmers' Education Center, and is a nonprofit arm of
the Vermont Farmers' Market. The Center will meet the needs of
farmers and food-related businesses who will be able to
refrigerate, store and process locally grown foods in a
state-of-the-art commercial kitchen. It will also serve as an
agricultural events center hosting wine tastings and a variety of
food festivals during the summer months.
Education and training will be a hallmark of the Center's
activities which will include job training for a range of
food-related occupations. Food demonstrations and cooking classes
will be featured regularly to enable more consumers to learn to
prepare and love healthy foods that are available in the greater
"Vermont spends two billion dollars annually to feed itself but
only 5 percent of those dollars stay here. The rest goes out
into the corporate universe when those dollars could stay in
Vermont and grow the local economy. New jobs and businesses would
result, and our kids could stay in Vermont and earn a living," says
Greg Cox, owner of Boardman Hill Farm and a leader in the
Renovations have begun on the former Mintzer property which has
a long and rich tradition in Rutland's industrial history, but it
has been vacant for years and is now in need of extensive repairs.
A committee has formed to raise the funds needed to renovate the
structures for November occupancy. Volunteers are welcome to come
to the site each Sunday as work crews continue to clear and prepare
the property for renovation.
The Vermont Farmers' Market will continue to operate each year
in Depot Park during the summer and fall months.