Barre’s Local Agricultural Community Exchange (LACE) has undergone many transformations since it opened four years ago. Originally a local-produce-oriented grocery store and café, the nonprofit has become more of a community hub, with culinary training programs and even pay-what-you-can dinners on Wednesday nights.
The problem: None of those endeavors are money makers. With the loss of its co-tenant the Farm Fresh Market & Café, LACE can no longer afford to stay in its 10,000-square-foot home on Main Street in Barre.
Founder and director Ariel Zevon is searching for a temporary space from which to run the LACE Focus on Occupational Development (FOOD) program so it’s not interrupted when LACE leaves Main Street at the end of May. Zevon says she plans to find a spot in the Barre-Montpelier area for her vocational-training kitchen. Instead of selling the trainees’ products from the organization’s own store, Zevon will now focus on offering their wares to local farmers markets.
All summer long, FOOD participants will sell bagels, quiches, fresh fruit drinks and teas at the markets in Barre, Montpelier and Waterbury. Two trainees are far enough along in business plans of their own to start selling independently, as well. Look for Justin Mint Magic cookies and brownies from Justin Dupre, and gluten-free fruit and veggie muffins and breads from Catherine Richard’s Extreme Dream Bakery.