On March 25th, Sodexo held a soft kick-off for moving forward on the Vermont First Pledge at Vermont Technical College. Vermont First, as some of you may know, is Sodexo’s commitment to support the production and purchase of local food across Vermont. Vermont First was presented to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture in September 2014 in the form of a pledge, specifically committing Sodexo to :
- Hire a local food coordinator
- Develop a plan to meet the production needs of Vermont producers
- Enable Sodexo Vermont accounts to buy local
- Create a steering committee of Vermont stakeholders
- Sponsor an annual summit meeting and two working group sessions
In early March, we happily announced that we have successfully hired a local food coordinator, Annie Rowell, who is tasked with moving the remaining commitments in the Vermont First Pledge forward. Learn more about Annie and Vermont First from our interview on Vermont Public Radio’s Morning Edition with Mitch Wortlieb on March 23rd.
As we think about goals for the future, we look back to all that has been done this past year. In 2014, Sodexo purchased $3.2 million of local products across Vermont accounts, just under 15% of the total Vermont account purchases. Now we look to that 85% of non-local dollars spent and think critically about how we can convert those dollars to local in a way that is both responsible to all parties and creates lasting relationships.