Letter: Legislators should support the Working Lands Enterprise Fund

Legislators should support the Working Lands Enterprise Fund

Editor of the Reformer:

We are writing in support of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund.

The farmer's market has been operating for more than 40 years. Until recently, we had been threatened by the possibility of losing our marketing location (which consists of three rented adjacent sites) to sale and/or development. We knew that if the Farmers Market were to meet the growing demand for locally grown food and other products, it was important to address the issue of site security.

Around 15 years ago, the board formed the Site Future Committee to address this issue. Working with various state and federal entities we developed a plan to purchase most of our site which included land owned by Planet Gas and Green Mountain Power Co. In 2014 we received a $30,000 grant from the Working Lands Enterprise Fund to help us buy and improve these sites. Today the Brattleboro Area Farmers Market is an accessible, visible site with improved parking and potential for increased marketing area. The farmers, prepared food vendors, and craftsmen will continue to be able to sell their food and wares to the public with more opportunities and increased site security. While there were many state and local partners who helped make this a reality, it would not have been possible without the Working Lands Grant. The Working Lands Program is having a direct effect on the health of the local economy and our working landscape.

We urge our policy makers to recognize the value of this program and hope they will invest $1 million for fiscal year 2017 in the Working Lands Enterprise Fund.

Susan Dunning, For the Board of the Brattleboro Area Farmer's Market, Jan. 20


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