Notes from the Field
Just a couple months in and it has already been a busy summer with the Farm and Forest Viability team! Our office oversees competitive grant programs to help farmers make water quality related capital improvements and to improve milk production and quality. To date, these grant programs have helped finance over 85 projects and have awarded a total of $2,213,833. Thankfully for me, this has meant weekly trips away from my desk and on the open road, visiting farms and experiencing the impacts of our work first hand.
Dairy is one of the biggest drivers of Vermont’s agricultural economy and a majority of our grant funds go toward dairy related projects. As a native Vermonter, family-run dairies have always been a rich part of the fabric that makes this state my home. Interning with VHCB has allowed me the opportunity to connect with these farmers and gain a real sense for how they are coping in today’s difficult market. Witnessing their resiliency to carry on Vermont's agricultural legacy and the commitment these families have to our state have made a lasting impression and have been such a rewarding part of my experience overall.
VHCB has also been a strong advocate for helping me develop and deepen my connections within Vermont’s agricultural sector. The program has continuously encouraged my involvement in learning opportunities, from distribution working groups, to service provider meetings and NOFA workshops. I have found myself surrounded by an amazing network of talented and knowledgeable individuals who are committed to connecting members of the community and fostering the links between the people who grow food and those who consume it.
I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Vermont summer, and am incredibly thankful for all that I am learning while I am here.