Working Lands Enterprise Initiative to Host Celebration Announcing 2016 Working Lands Grantees

Contact: Noelle Sevoian

Agricultural Development Coordinator

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street                                                                                  Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

Montpelier, VT 05620                                                                        Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation               

Website: Vermontworkinglands.com                                             Agency of Commerce & Community Development

Email: working.lands@vermont.gov

MEDIA ALERT

The Working Lands Enterprise Board is pleased to invite you to the 2016 Working Lands Enterprise Initiative’s Grantee Announcement Celebration and Networking Event.  This year's grant recipients represent a diverse selection of Vermont businesses and service providers who are valuable contributors to Vermont's culture, communities, and sustainable economies.

Scheduled to attend the event are Governor Peter Shumlin, Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets Chuck Ross, Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation Michael Snyder, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets Jolinda LaClair, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lucy Leriche, and the Working Lands Enterprise Board Members.

WHEN: Tuesday May 17th, 2016 10:00am – 12:00pm.  Following the grantee announcement ceremony, the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative will be hosting a 90 minute networking session for past and present Working Lands grant recipients, technical assistance providers, and capital providers.

WHERE: The celebration will take place at Vermont Tree Goods at 5971 Plank Road, New Haven, VT

ABOUT VERMONT TREE GOODS:  

Vermont Tree Goods is an early stage business in New Haven manufacturing specialty and natural “live edge” lumber and furniture. Vermont Tree Goods uses reclaimed heirloom trees, exclusively from Vermont. Vermont has a tremendous variety of beautiful hardwood species, each with a wide range of unique and beautiful characteristics. Vermont Tree Goods received $20,000 in working lands funds in 2015, for the purchase of equipment for their new facility, including new saws, kilns, and material handling systems. Vermont Tree Goods is also a participant in Vermont Housing & Conservation Board’s Forest Viability Program which received $75,000 this year to continue this invaluable technical assistance to Vermont’s forestry and forest product sector businesses.

ABOUT THE WORKING LANDS ENTERPRISE INITIATIVE:

Since its inception in 2012, The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) has invested over $3.1 million dollars in 112 projects impacting every county of the state, leveraging just under $5 million in additional funds. Impacts to date include:

  • 106 new jobs created by working lands grantees
  • A $12 million+ increase in gross income across all working lands grantees

The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative 2015 Annual Report can be found here:  http://workinglands.vermont.gov/node/737

The Working Lands Video can be found here: https://youtu.be/1Zh0PngLDLk

For more information about grant recipients, visit: http://workinglands.vermont.gov/projects

Included in this year’s funding was a $25,000 allotment to refund the Tradeshow Assistance Grant program administered by the Domestic Export program at the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.  The small grants are given to producers looking to promote their product out of the state. Last year’s 24 grantees reported 950 sales leads and 82 immediate sales valued at over $30,000.

This year, the Working Lands Enterprise board received generous contributions from three Vermont entities, Charles and Leigh Merinoff, Progressive Farm Alliance, and Long Trail Brewing.  The board and grantees are very thankful for these donations, which allowed more grants to be made and will support the working landscape.

Again this year, $30,000 of Local Food Market Development (LFMD) grant funds were made available through the Working Lands grant process. The focus of LFMD funding is to increase Vermont producers’ access to institutional and wholesale markets, promote consumption of local food, and encourage scaling up through new market development opportunities across the state.

The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, (Act 142), is administered by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets in partnership with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.  The Working Lands funds are administered by the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB), an impact investment organization whose mission is to grow the economies, cultures, and communities of Vermont’s working landscape by making essential, catalytic investments in critical leverage points of the Vermont farm and forest economy, from individual enterprises to industry sectors. For more information, visit http://workinglands.vermont.gov/