Friends of the Highgate Library and Community Center

Feed Highgate

2023 Grant Amount: $500

With help from a Co-op Seedling Grant, the Friends of the Highgate Library and Community Center plans to place a glass front fridge in the library entryway and stock it with fresh produce, dairy and eggs. Each week, the Friends of the Library will purchase these items from area farm partners and provide them to library patrons free of charge. The goal is to have this fridge sustained year round with free, nourishing food from local farms such as the Choiniere Family Farm, Boucher Family Farm, and Papineau Family Farm.

The town of Highgate does not possess a large-scale grocery store. There is a small corner store that provides some grocery items, but Highgate is mostly a food desert, without even a local restaurant to provide food for community members. People in Highgate – and Franklin County more broadly – are more likely to be economically disadvantaged than folks in some other Vermont towns and counties. Many community members struggle to put food on the table for themselves and their family members. The percent of residents that are below the poverty line in Highgate is 10% compared to 9.4% for the entire state of Vermont. The Feed Highgate program hopes to relieve a bit of the financial stress in the community and help community members put wholesome, quality food on the table. The Friends of the Library believe that quality food is a basic human right. 

This project builds on a prior Co-op Seedling Grant, which helped purchase a shelf and non-perishable foods to create a community food shelf at the library. That project has been a wild success, and the Friends of the Library are looking to expand to perishable foods that are healthier and fresh. The Feed Highgate project also directly supports local farms by purchasing fresh food from them for the fridge. This project will therefore positively impact the lives of both library patrons and local farm families that rely on community support to stay afloat.