The scene: Wednesday, 3:30 p.m., the Statehouse cafeteria. It had been a momentous afternoon, and now it was time to eat. At one table, Pete Coleman of Vermont Salumi offered curls of capicola. A few feet away, apple pies rubbed shoulders with maple-cured bacon, pasture-raised pork meatballs simmered in sweet maple chili sauce, and green smears of Intervale-grown-pesto-topped half-toasts. The crowd roamed and hummed, fortified by chocolate milk and apple cider and all things good and local.
Among the farmers and the bakers and the curers and the lawmakers milled peeps from the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, and they had every right to be merry. They’d just spent 18 months combing the state for input from farmers, vendors, chefs, researchers, academics and everyone else who felt they had something to say about what was working and what wasn’t in Vermont’s food system.
Then they took that raw data and fashioned it into a 10-year plan with dozens of interrelated objectives. As a Nor’Easter swirled outside, they unveiled its contours to lawmakers with a press conference, a joint legislative session and an elegant 52-page executive summary.