Our programs utilize philanthropic funds to facilitate the rescue and utilization of Vermont’s agricultural surplus. Through responsible management of these currently underutilized food resources the vulnerable and food insecure in Vermont benefit by witnessing greater food equality and accessibility.
With philanthropic dollars we invest in our state’s food system enterprises. We have no desire to own physical infrastructure or a fleet of trucks. We prefer to place our fundraising dollars into the food system mechanisms that currently exist or are coming on-line throughout Vermont. In doing so we ensure that everyone in Vermont has the opportunity to obtain Vermont-raised foods through strong, regionally based food system operations and businesses.
In all of our programs we strive to build strong partnerships as well as develop components that engage community members in the process of responsibly managing our state’s available food resources.
Vermont Commodity Program
The Vermont Commodity Program is designed to serve community-based gleaning programs, large-scale farms and farm aggregation businesses by managing farm-fresh surplus foods that are at volumes too great for efficient integration into local distribution methods to charitable food access points or other institutions serving Vermont citizens.
We strive to build the Vermont Commodity Program’s capacity to act as a supplement to traditional food-sourcing avenues for institutions serving our state’s young, sick, elder and hungry. Products resulting from this program are not intended to compete with the for-profit marketplace but rather compliment it, increasing local food consumption across demographics and bolstering the purchasing power of institutions to invest more of their food dollars with local producers.
We are proud that more than 825,000 servings of Vermont grown crops have been made available to those most in need of nourishment through pilots that took us from Green Mountain College’s commercial kitchen to a space at the Southeast State Correctional Facility.
After four years of piloting the Vermont Commodity Program concept Salvation Farms is excited to announce the program is putting down roots. In September 2016 we launched a workforce development program to clean, quality assess, pack, and distribute thousands of pounds of Vermont grown crops - crops that would otherwise go uneaten.
Our current training cycle is underway -- read more here.
Vermont Gleaning Collective
Gleaning is the act of reaping after the harvest and in modern times this has come to mean the capture of food at many points in the food chain before it goes to waste. However, for Salvation Farms gleaning is in its more traditional sense of direct harvest or capture of surplus from the farm by mobilizing citizens who understand the responsible stewardship of these valuable local food resources.
More than nine years ago our founding director began developing a professional and effective model for community-based gleaning driven by a dedication to increase local food consumption, build greater awareness and appreciation of Vermont agriculture by our state's citizens and to design a system that could be replicated and implemented to serve any region of the state. Since then the Salvation Farms model for regionally-based gleaning has been instituted into the Vermont Foodbank’s food-sourcing programs and has guided the development of many gleaning initiatives in Vermont and around the Northeast.
The Vermont Gleaning Collective, as envisioned, is a statewide collective of autonomous gleaning initiatives. Salvation Farms is committed to guiding these food-focused non-profits through the development, refinement and management of effective gleaning programs and to providing the Collective's member organizations the support they need to succeed in scaling up their regionally-based, farm-fresh food rescue and distribution efforts. We are well-poised to support gleaning initiatives by providing staff training support as well as needed technical assistance and operational support. By providing these resources, we can ensure that our state will significantly increase the amount of Vermont-raised foods being consumed by the vulnerable populations of our state: the young, sick, elderly and hungry.
Scaling up gleaning will not only increase statewide access to farm-fresh foods in their raw form but also allow any volume too large for a region to use to be channeled instead into the Vermont Commodity Program for processing and broader distribution.
Salvation Farms is building a systems-based approach to managing Vermont’s agricultural surplus foods in tandem with our for-profit food systems. As part of being an organization rooted in creative resource management, our strategy to successful and sustainable programs comes through cross-sector engagement and partnerships. Our operational partners’ commitment to building the Salvation Farms vision is the foundation of our organization.
We are confident that all of the resources to appropriately manage Vermont’s farm surplus foods and to decrease our dependency on food from far away already exist. We are approaching partners whose role and potential to fill vital roles in Vermont’s agricultural clearinghouse programs have been unrealized up to this point. We strive to break down silos and build whole, system-based approaches to how we more securely feed ourselves in Vermont.
The following are a few of our partners that have filled essential operational roles:
Black River Produce, hired to move large volumes of product from farms to be processed and then to the institutions that serve our communities
The Vermont Foodbank, received large volumes of raw-packed Vermont Commodity product to integrate into their inventory and distribution to roughly 270 charitable/emergency food access sites across the state
The Vermont Offender Work Program, engaged an inmate work crew to fill the labor force needs for a Vermont Commodity Program pilot project
Green Mountain College, assisted in the light processing product development for the Vermont Commodity Program while Rutland-based food access sites tested the product and offer valuable feedback regarding product preferences.
The best way to get involved in the management of Vermont’s farm surplus is to register as a gleaner with the Vermont Gleaning Collective – click here. This simple and rewarding volunteer role will ensure that the support is available on the ground in communities where it is needed most.
Salvation Farms fills a logistical role in Vermont’s farm surplus management – to get involved with us fill out our volunteer interest form and provide us some basic information regarding your interest and skills. We’d love to find a way to work with you.
We are engaging community members at many levels of our organizations from the occasional field gleaner or kitchen/processing volunteer to higher level administrative volunteer such as legal advisors and technology support. We are always interested in hearing from students that need internships or fulfill thesis, research or capstone project obligations.
In addition to the above listed volunteer opportunities we are designing vocational training and job placement opportunities for our primary programs; however, there are no open positions at this time. Please be sure to check back in the future.