Spring 2015

How fast a year can go. It feels like the world is whirring at an ever increasing rate, and thus here we are again, time for an update. In addition to business planning, the past year has included several projects: Charlene Andersen and I recently wrapped up the Boscawen Shared Used Commercial Kitchen Feasibility Study for the Boscawen Agricultural Commission, Jeff Roberts and I authored the NCIC Action Plan for Agriculture and Food System Development for northern New Hampshire, Vermont and western Maine, and two additional studies I was working on Vital Communities’ 2014 Upper Valley Market Assessment and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets’ Market Study: Consumer Valuation of Meat Processing have been finalized and published.

rose and dad

Rose & Rebecca Brown, Executive Director Ammonoosuc Land Trust

In the past month we have seen the 2014-15 round of VHCB Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program farm business planning wrap up, the 2015-16 season kick off, and the 2015 USDA Value Added Producer Grant announcement made, with applications due July 7th… June is a blur!

In May Working Lands announced funding for the Development of Commercial Elderberry Production in Vermont, a research project I am very excited about. Our goal is to assess the commercial viability of producing and marketing elderberries in Vermont. Our hope is that elderberries may provide a way to mitigate risk, while creating an opportunity from, climate change because elderberry plants can improve the functionality of buffer zones while also producing an income bearing crop, thus optimizing the financial and environmental sustainability of a farm’s landbase while planning for the increasingly unpredictable weather patterns headed our way. Our project team includes Ginger Nickerson, Todd Hardie, John Hayden, David Fried, and Guido Mase.

Farm business plans are at the heart of what I do and I have been honored to work with farms this past year from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.  Looking forward to this year’s crop and all that 2015 will bring.

Happy Spring!




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