VBSR Webinar: Where Our Food Goes – Retailers’ & Restaurants’ Path to Recovery
Before COVID-19, Vermont’s agricultural sector was simultaneously at the heart of Vermont’s cultural & economic identity and facing a crisis brought on by global market forces, demographic shifts away from rural communities, and looming effects of climate change. Now in the middle of a pandemic that began with widespread supply chain and market disruptions, Vermonters are adjusting to new challenges and rethinking Vermont’s local food economy during the state’s recovery.
This webinar is the second in a two-part webinar series on how Vermont’s food systems are adapting to and recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this webinar, we’ll explore how national and regional market disruptions are affecting what’s on our shelves and our plates, if and how customers in the region now think differently about where their food comes from, and whether those shifts will last beyond the recovery phase of the pandemic. While the first webinar in the series focused on producer perspectives, this webinar will look at farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and restaurants around the state, to understand how the businesses we buy our food from are thinking about Vermont’s recovery. After we hear from our panelists, we’ll have an interactive Q&A session with our panelists, moderated by Gaye Symington of High Meadows Fund, discussing what this recovery will mean for Vermont’s food system and economy in the months and years to come.
Understanding Vermont’s Agricultural Recovery from COVID-19 is a two-part webinar series, brought to you by VBSR and High Meadows Fund, which will explore how leaders in Vermont’s food systems are recovering, adapting, and building resilience, from farmers to restaurants to nonprofit leaders. The first webinar will focus on the food produced in Vermont. Producers, farm business advisors, and the Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets will talk about how producers have adjusted to shifting markets, and what they need to survive and retain customers who have turned to local producers during the past 4 months. In the second webinar, we’ll shift to retailers and purchasers from around the state in farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and restaurants to learn how national and regional market disruptions are affecting what’s on our shelves and our plates, whether and how customers in the region now think differently about where their food comes from, and whether those shifts will last beyond the recovery phase of the pandemic.
Meet our presenters:
Lynn Ellen Schimoler
Senior Agricultural Business Development – Working Lands Enterprise Initiative,
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Lynn Ellen Schimoler works in the Agriculture Business Development Division at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. Schimoler manages the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Program, working closely with the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Board and Food, Farm & Forest Businesses throughout Vermont. Schimoler has over 25 years of experience in the private sector, and brings project management, business planning and product development expertise to her role at the agency. Schimoler has collaborated with National Cooperatives Grocers on category management and store expansions for Co-ops in New England. Schimoler has been featured in Edible Green Mountains, Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine, and as a guest speaker at Penton Media’s EXPO East natural foods industry conference.
Independent Business Advisor
For six years Annie developed the Independent Retail Grocers Project with VT Farm to Plate. The work includes research on local food sold at VT stores, in-store merchandising, building strong relationships with regional distributors, and Take 5 an online retail training series geared to operations that increase local foods sales. Annie developed and organized the four ACORN Producer Buyer Forums, peer to peer networking promoting the production and sale of VT products within the state and to the regional market.
Annie created Small Bites, an online e-news platform through the Grocer Project focused on tips, trends and highlights from Vermont farmers, food producers, retailers and distributors showcasing good retail practices supporting Rooted in Vermont local food sourcing.
Market Director, Burlington Farmers Market
Mieko joined the Burlington Farmers Market in Fall 2019 and immediately took on reorganization, financial challenges, as well as a dramatic changes to this 40 year old Market due to COVID-19.Prior to joining BFM, Mieko has worked for education and environmental non-profits including Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Yestermorrow Design/Build School, the University of Vermont Office of Sustainability, and The Food Project in Boston. She is the co-founder of Vermont Womenpreneurs, a network supporting women business owners, and solopreneur of Radiance Studios, a web development and event production company.
Owner and President, The Farmhouse Group
Jed is Owner and President of The Farmhouse Group family of award winning restaurants including The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, El Cortijo Taqueria, Guild Tavern, Pascolo Ristorante, and Farmhouse Group Events. A seventh generation Vermonter, Jed studied hotel and restaurant management at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. After college graduation, Jed lived in New York City for a number of years working at acclaimed restaurants Le Cirque, Daniel, and Union Square Cafe. Jed lives with his wife and daughters in Essex, VT.
Webinar and Q&A facilitated by:
President, High Meadows Fund
Gaye Symington is President of the High Meadows Fund, a philanthropy that promotes vibrant communities and a healthy natural environment while encouraging long term economic vitality in Vermont. Prior to joining High Meadows in 2009, Gaye served in the Vermont House for 12 years, four of them as Speaker of the Vermont House, working to establish the clean energy development fund, greenhouse gas reduction goals and other policies to promote clean and efficient energy use, groundwater protection, and affordable housing in village centers. She has also worked for the Intervale Center in Burlington, Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc., and the National Gardening Association in Burlington.
This webinar will be held via Zoom, and registration is required.
Details on how to join this webinar at the scheduled time via your computer or by phone will be sent to you via email confirmation upon registering for this webinar.
Not a VBSR member yet? Learn more about joining as a member of VBSR.