Food Connects expands wholesale delivery with new van

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BRATTLEBORO — Food Connects, a nonprofit organization that focuses on farm-to-school programming and wholesale local food distribution, added a new refrigerated van to its Food Hub fleet for deliveries.

Food Connects was able to purchase the new refrigerated cargo van thanks to grant support from the State of Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board and USDA Rural Development. The van allows Food Connects to have two drivers making deliveries simultaneously, increasing the amount of locally produced food delivered in southeast Vermont, southwest New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. Deliveries are made to more than 100 hospitals, schools, independent grocers, co-ops, and other wholesale buyers in the region.

Adding the van to the Food Hub fleet was necessary to keep pace with the rapidly growing demand for local food in the region. And the arrival of the van was well-timed, as sales dramatically increased this fall. Food Connects has had multiple and consecutive record-breaking sales weeks since the purchase of the van, and sales in September were higher than any single month in the organization's history. All of these dollars stay local and go back to more than 60 local producers in the community.

The van presents even more opportunities for the future of Food Connects. It creates an opportunity to increase the variety of items sold, including the amount of frozen products it delivers to customers. Food Connects will be able to reach remote buyers more efficiently and more often, helping with their expansion of services to the Upper Valley region. It's also an investment in the effort to provide the best and most reliable customer service to all of the organization's customers, and it strengthens market development support for local agriculture and food businesses that is critical to the future of the rural economy.

Food Connects is an entrepreneurial nonprofit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems.

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