LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION AT ALL SCALES
Local food production should not be relegated solely to the large farm. With thoughtful planning and innovative techniques, agriculture can continue to be infused throughout the City from the Intervale to the most urban parts of our downtown. There are nearly 40 acres of rooftops in the downtown area alone, many of which are flat enough to be used for micro-agriculture â€” anything from small container gardens on a patio to intensive green roof gardens that support families and even supplement local restaurant use.
LOCAL FOOD DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS
To create a more consistent supply of local products and enhance the local food supply chain there needs to be a variety of places and means to market the products of local farmers. The City already benefits from seasonal farmerâ€™s markets, local grocery stores like City Market, and activities at the Intervale Food Hub. There is the additional opportunity for farm stands, a year-round market hall, street vendors selling locally-produced foods using and promoting local food products, more specialty food retail outlets, joint marketing, and festivals celebrating local foods.
BIRDS AND BEES
While free-range chickens on Church Street may not be the most realistic idea, many urban residents keep livestock and poultry for the production of eggs or meat. The Urban Agriculture Task Force recently released a set of recommendations to promote best practices and help accommodate the keeping of livestock in the urban city environment. Alongside these considerations, urban beekeeping offers residents the opportunity to produce their own honey and pollinate their gardens. In addition, because bees will fly for several miles to find pollen, urban bees also pollinate nearby agricultural areas. Bees can easily be kept on rooftops as part of rooftop gardens. And it is good for the bees too: urban bees have a higher overwintering survival rate and produce more honey than their rural counterparts. Cities like New York and Boston are enjoying the benefits of urban bees so why not Burlington? Because urban beekeeping can pose unique challenges, proper hive management and public education are important to successful urban beekeeping.
BURLINGTON SCHOOL FOOD PROJECT: A GREAT EXAMPLE OF FOOD SECURITY
Vermont has a number of projects that work to build the capacity for communities to grow, access, and use food for themselves. One of the most successful district-led farm to school efforts in Vermont is the Burlington School Food Project (BSFP), a collaboration of many partners including Shelburne Farms (Sustainable Schools Project), Burlington School Food Service, Friends of Burlington Gardens (Healthy City Youth Initiative), Vermont-FEED, and City Market/Onion River Co-op. The group has made significant progress in shifting the food culture in Chittenden County by addressing access, availability, and utilization of local food in several key ways: (1) The Burlington School district provides a livable wage ($15.23 in 2010) for food service employees; (2) School employees work with local producers to provide food or develop new products that are affordable for local schools and manageable for food service employees; (3) The program works to increase food access while simultaneously reducing the stigma experienced by students who receive assistance for school food. In addition to its work addressing cultural changes around food and food service in schools, BSFP has dramatically increased access to local food and fresh fruits and vegetables for students in the Burlington School District. In 2003, the dollar value of fresh fruits and vegetables purchased by the Burlington School District totaled $5,000. This increased to $120,000 in 2009. The value of local food (primarily sourced directly from farmers) in 2009 was $90,000.
From: Farm to Plate (F2P) Strategic Plan, VT Sustainable Jobs Fund, 2011
Downtown & Waterfront Master Plan for Burlington, Vermont. Adopted June 10, 2013.