RURAL Archives

January 2010

RURAL@LIST.UVM.EDU

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Subject:
From:
Will Sawyer <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Will Sawyer <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Tue, 5 Jan 2010 15:58:04 -0500
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*For Immediate Release*

*Contact:*

Will Sawyer

Project Manager

Center for Rural Studies

www.uvm.edu/crs

206 Morrill Hall

University of Vermont

Burlington, VT 05405

Phone: 802.656.0892

Email: [log in to unmask]

The University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies (CRS) is happy to 
announce that it will be engaging in multiple projects benefiting 
communities, entrepreneurs and local decision-makers in Vermont with 
funds secured by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).  Project work by CRS staff 
and partner organizations will address program goals in the study of 
local and regional food system issues, community problem-solving, 
entrepreneurship assistance, and community-level information resources 
for Vermonters.  Senator Leahy requested the $228,410 in funds for these 
projects as part of the 2009 United States Department of Agriculture 
(USDA) budget.

"This is an exciting time in Vermont with the many discussions taking 
shape about the future of agriculture and food systems, and these 
projects tap into this evolution," says Senator Leahy.  "These 
investments will help Vermont's communities, entrepreneurs, economy and 
organizations to grow and thrive with the latest technology, resources 
and partnerships."

CRS staff will use this funding to engage in a broad range of projects 
that focus on different aspects of community and economic development 
and Vermont's food system.

"These projects reflect the growing importance of projects related to 
food systems and their connection to Vermont's economic vitality and 
citizen's health," says Center for Rural Studies' Director Jane Kolodinsky.

For example, CRS staff will be able to continue to support the new on- 
and off-campus Food System Research Collaborative and develop tools for 
sharing research and information and building partnerships for new food 
system work.  CRS will continue to host and develop the Vermont Planning 
Information Center website at <a href="http://www.vpic.info" 
target="_blank">www.vpic.info</a>, which acts as a clearinghouse of 
information for planning commissions, zoning boards, development review 
boards, and their staff and all others involved in land use planning and 
regulation in Vermont.  CRS will also be able to continue its 
participation in the Vermont Land Use Education and Training 
Collaborative, which brings together organizations involved in education 
and technical assistance for local land use officials in Vermont.

CRS is also designated as the U.S. Census Bureau's Vermont State Data 
Center.  The USDA funding will allow CRS to continue to advocate on 
behalf of Vermont data-users to the Census Bureau and provide data 
outreach to Vermonters through workshops, presentations and the State 
data Center website at <a href="http://crs.uvm.edu/census" 
target="_blank">crs.uvm.edu/census</a>.

Five partner organizations have also received funding through this 
program for related activities.

The Vermont Food Venture Center in Fairfax will receive $12,500 to 
provide two two-day workshops and other technical assistance for food 
business entrepreneurs in Vermont.  The workshop Recipe to Market covers 
all aspects of starting or expanding a value-added or specialty food 
business, and Selling Skills focuses on specific areas of bringing 
product to market.  These two workshops are designed to be taken 
together or on a stand-alone basis.  Overall this assistance will be 
provided for approximately 35 growers and food product producers.

Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day) - a collaborative partnership of 
three Vermont nonprofit organizations: Food Works at Two Rivers Center, 
the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) and 
Shelburne Farms - will receive $10,000 to provide statewide technical 
assistance. FEED utilizes a "3-C" (classroom, cafeteria, and community) 
approach to transforming the school food environment and positively 
influencing students to make healthier food choices. FEED works with 
local growers and school food service to strengthen farm-school 
partnerships; craft purchasing agreements; and support menu planning 
aimed at serving more locally-grown foods in schools. Students visit 
farms and are encouraged through Taste Tests to try new foods made with 
farm-fresh ingredients. Parent involvement further strengthens the 
connection to local food. Vermont FEED will utilize these and other 
effective strategies to support Farm to School initiatives in a dozen 
Vermont public schools in 2009/2010 school year, benefiting more than 30 
teachers, 500 students and 15 small family farms.

The Vermont Council on Rural Development will receive $8,500 for the 
Community Visit program.  Over the last 15 years VCRD's Community Visits 
have provided a structure for major community revitalization efforts in 
32 rural Vermont Communities.  VCRD has brought teams of up to 40 
executive level state, federal and non-profit officials and business 
leaders to help communities systematically explore key issues of local 
concern and set directions for the future.  Community Visits have helped 
towns build youth programs, redesign downtowns, build senior or low 
income housing, merge town and village government, and pursue myriad 
goals set by local consensus.  VCRD and its team listen first then lend 
all our resources as partners in support of the community's progress 
once it has set its own priorities.

The Vermont Center for Geographic Information will receive $8,000 to 
continue maintenance and updates to the Vermont Indicators Online web 
site at <a href="http://crs.uvm.edu/indicators" 
target="_blank">crs.uvm.edu/indicators</a>.  This online community 
information tool supplies local decision-makers with essential 
local-level data from various sources.  This funding will also go toward 
enhancements to include the data that will be released from the U.S. 
Census Bureau's new American Community Survey.

The Vermont Law School's Land Use Institute will receive $5,000 to 
engage in a collaborative project to develop a series of training 
modules on development review for local land use officials in Vermont. 
These training modules will help fill the gaps to complete a curriculum 
for the local volunteers that have stepped up to handle the crucial and 
complicated aspects of development review and land use regulation in 
their communities.

The UVM Center for Rural Studies (CRS) is a nonprofit, fee-for-service 
research organization that addresses social, economic, and 
resource-based problems of rural people and communities.  The mission of 
CRS is to promote the dissemination of information through consulting, 
research, and community outreach.  More information is available at <a 
href="http://www.uvm.edu/crs" target="_blank">uvm.edu/crs</a>.


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