Learn how to source and merchandise more local food

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MONTPELIER — The "Take 5" retail training video series, produced and distributed by the Vermont Farm to Plate Network, helps Vermont retail stores effectively source and merchandise more local food. The video series provides retailers with online technical assistance that can lead to increased local food purchases and sales at Vermont retail outlets and improved profitability for the stores throughout Vermont. The Take 5 training videos are available at no charge on the Vermont Farm to Plate website at http://bit.ly/Take5RetailTraining.

"The Take 5 videos are such great tools for busy retailers to gain quick tips on purchasing, getting new ideas for merchandising, or gaining insight on how to sample products.

In a busy retail environment, these quick video tips are exactly what store owners need so they can focus on running their business while also staying up to date on fresh ideas," said Erin Sigrist, president of the Vermont Retail & Grocers Association.

A total of 12 videos, each approximately five minutes in length, teach promotions, purchasing, merchandising, in-store displays, signage, sampling, and procurement. Retail stores including convenience, general, and grocery are invited to use the videos to help train staff in different ways to increase sales of Vermont products at the store.

Farmers and specialty food producers as well as food distributors, food hubs, and regional food organizations interested in learning more about best practices in retail merchandising may also find value in the video series.

"The need for these videos was identified through research conducted by the Farm to Plate Network in 2014 and 2015 to better understand the opportunities and barriers to selling local food at independent grocery stores, and to assess what local products stores currently carry," said Jake Claro, Farm to Plate director. "Retailers requested technical and marketing assistance to help increase local food sales. In response, the Take 5 videos were created to provide short and easily accessible trainings for retailers."

The Take 5 retail training video series help implement Vermont's Farm to Plate food system plan goals to support locally owned and operated food system businesses and increase local food availability, consumption, and farmer/producer viability. The Farm to Plate food system plan is being implemented statewide by the Farm to Plate Network (over 300 farm and food sector businesses, non-profits, institutions, and government agencies from across the state) to increase economic development and jobs in Vermont's farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. The implementation of Vermont's Farm to Plate food system plan (per 2009 legislation) is administered by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, a non-profit organization based in Montpelier.

Annie Harlow, chair of the Farm to Plate Network Independent Retailers Task Force, serves as the project manager in collaboration with the Vermont Retail & Grocers Association, Mark Mulcahy of Rising Stars & Organic Options, and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. Additional support was provided by The Intervale and UVM Center for Rural Studies.

Learn more at www.VTFarmtoPlate.com and access the Take 5 retail training video series at http://bit.ly/Take5RetailTraining.

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