2016 Co-op Patronage Seedling Grants
Rural Vermont: Regenerative Agriculture Project - Initial Grant Award: $4,200 (actual check: $5,864.21)
Rural Vermont is a statewide, grassroots, membership organization that believes economic justice and scale-appropriate regulation for family farmers is the foundation of thriving rural communities, robust and accessible food systems, and environmental sustainability. They wish to widely share an alternative vision of agriculture in Vermont that not only maintains our environmental integrity, but improves ecological function and our ability to truly nourish our communities. Their project will use the power of communication tools such as high-quality video and audio produced “from the field”, accessible web-based sharing platforms, and social media campaigns to (1) raise public awareness about the concept of regenerative agriculture; (2) encourage farmers to consider adopting regenerative agriculture practices; and (3) build a broader and deeper community of farmers and eaters who recognize regenerative agriculture as the best way forward for Vermont.
The City Market Seedling Grant enabled Rural Vermont to create a video about regenerative agriculture that has helped us share Rural Vermont’s vision for a future in which regenerative agriculture improves the ecological value and integrity of the communities it is nested within; returns a just livelihood to farmers and farm workers; improves access to local food and other social benefits; and passes on its lineage creating models for future work. The video not only describes regenerative agriculture from this holistic viewpoint, but it also highlights the barriers that stand in the way of achieving this vision and suggests initial steps to combat them and move us closer to a future that prioritizes the health of our natural resources, our people, and our communities.
To illustrate our “story”, we hired an artist, with whom we had worked with previously on our statewide community conversation tour called Groundswell. Throughout the tour, his graphic note-taking received universal praise and became a critical engagement tool. It made perfect sense to carry this enthusiasm and method forward into the video. We were also able to hire a professional videographer and Mount Mansfield Community TV to record, edit, and produce the video. We premiered it at our 2017 Annual Meeting where it received a very enthusiastic response! Soon thereafter, it was posted to Rural Vermont’s social media platforms and our website. It has also been incorporated into multiple Rural Vermont workshops, as well as directly shared with our membership/network, allies, partners, and fellow coalition members.
Since having written this grant request in 2016, there has definitely been an increase in public awareness about regenerative agriculture and the many social, economic, and environmental benefits it brings. Of course, Rural Vermont’s video can’t be credited for this “buzz”, but when viewed as part of our larger campaign, we can assume it has played some small role in the shifting narrative. This shift is evidenced by the regenerative agriculture chatter on farmer listserves, the uptick in ag workshops with a regenerative focus, the attention paid to the topic at the statehouse and within the media, and many relevant inquiries and questions received by Rural Vermont.
The video that City Market funded is one of the tools we now have at our disposal to share Rural Vermont’s vision, recruit a new crop of regenerative agriculture enthusiasts, and continue the conversations that we started with Groundswell. Thank you!
Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg5mWhvwp_k