Vermont First Stakeholder Forum Creates Connections for Vermont Suppliers

“There are two types of leadership. Leadership by statements of commitment, and then leadership by action. Leadership by action is what is happening right here today.”

Chuck Ross, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture

In the midst of a December rainstorm, 65 producers, distributors, support organizations, and administrators joined the Sodexo Vermont First team at the first Vermont First Stakeholder Forum at Castleton University.

The dual purpose of the event was to foster collective learning about how the Sodexo supply chain works and also identify the potential opportunities for local products within that supply chain.

Through the work of programs like Vermont First, Sodexo is one of the leaders in the food industry responding to increased demand for local and sustainable food.  Here is a glimpse of the scale of changes happening across the US food industry:evolution in the food industry 1st slide

We see a parallel story happening within Sodexo North America.

evolution in the food industry 2nd slide

This brings us back to the context of our Vermont story.  In a state the size of Vermont, we often feel that Vermont’s role and contribution to society

sec ross at forum
Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross addresses VT First Forum audience

is to use our strong connections and political culture of participation to be the testing grounds for change.  At the Vermont First Forum yesterday, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Ross, drew upon this sentiment in his comments regarding Sodexo’s work through Vermont First:
“[Vermont First is a] model that can be replicated across the country, and I’m thrilled that Sodexo is leading the way.”

Highlights

As we finalize the 2015 local purchasing numbers, a few trends are emerging – both in areas of growth in our local purchasing as well as areas that deserve a closer look in collaboration with our distributor and producer partners.

TOP SPEND - 2ND SLIDE

 

What’s next?

Through Vermont First, we have introduced an extensive food purchase tracking system that captures purchasing trends in greater detail than we have been able to capture before.

vermont first report 2015 - 2nd slide

Stay tuned for this information over the next few weeks.  You will be able to find that information here on the Vermont First blog, Vermont Farm to Plate, and through local media sources like Vermont Digger.

In the media:

WCAX Channel 3 coverage of VT First Forum: Sodexo hopes to serve more local foods in Vermont
(Corrective note: Sodexo purchased $3.2 million in local products in 2014, not $16 million as stated in the WCAX story)

VPR coverage of VT First Forum: Food Service Giant to Invest More in Locally-Sourced Food

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