Food Connects closes in on $10,000

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BRATTLEBORO — Food Connects is now over 75 percent of the way to its crowdfunding goal of $10,000 for the "Growing Local Food Markets in the Monadnock Region" campaign. This campaign, run through the Local Crowd Monadnock, aims to increase market access for local farmers and food producers.

Thanks to the generosity of more than 50 donors, Food Connects raised $7,741 as of March 31. These funds will go towards implementing the first steps in Food Connects newly optimized food safety plan — covering the cost of the food safety certification and audit, the monthly fees for the Integrated Pest Management Program, staff training, and necessary cleaning and transportation supplies.

A large portion of these funds was raised through the Monadnock Food Co-op's Round It Up program for March. Co-op customers had the opportunity to round up their change at the register for this campaign, resulting in $4,341.19.

"We are so grateful for the incredible generosity of the community at the Monadnock Food Co-op," Richard Berkfield, Food Connects' executive director, said in a statement. "These funds will help Food Connects develop the necessary infrastructure needed to sell to larger wholesale customers."

The outbreak of COVID-19 has heightened the need for and awareness of supporting the local food economy. "Now, more than ever, it is important to strengthen our local food businesses," says Berkfield. "Many food producers are seeing a loss of sales due to college and restaurant closures. Our campaign focuses on developing current and new markets to ensure that there is a broad and diverse set of customers always available to purchase local food. Resilient local food economies can weather the storm."

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Food Connects is continuing on with its local food delivery. "The last three weeks we've seen a 50-80 percent increase in our local food sales," said Alex McCullough, Food Hub manager. "We are delivering food to local co-ops and markets, hospitals, school meal programs, and buying clubs in record numbers. This diverse group of customers is allowing us to continue supporting farmers and finding outlets for their food."

A matching challenge is now in place. The Monadnock Food Co-op will match each donation to the Food Connects crowdfunding campaign dollar for dollar up to $500. Food Connects needs to raise $2,259 by April 18. Donate today and double the impact: http://bit.ly/3aKEate.

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