Vermont Living & the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative

Did you know that 95% of Vermont’s landscape is used for a combination of agriculture and forestry? When surveyed, nearly all Vermonters value this working landscape. In 2012 a collaborative effort between state agencies and the statehouse resulted in the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, providing management and investment of $1 million dollars into these working sectors. VT Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross called the Working Lands Enterprise Fund an ‘historic initiative by the state to advance forestry and the forest products sector in a way that has never been done before.’ Our Guild of Furniture Makers was named a beneficiary of the first round grant awards along with 19 other agricultural, forest and forest product organizations.
Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers at Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Press Conference
Deputy Secretary Leriche, Commissioner Snyder, Gov. Shumlin, and Secretary Ross with representatives from the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers
In a move to bolster what Forest Commission Mike Snyder referred to as the ‘character of Vermont,’ the Enterprise Investments create funding paths for the kinds of small businesses that make up Vermont’s native economy…forest products, tree farms, maple producers, food artisans, renewable energy projects, dairy farms and us…craftsmen working with forest products to create unique, sustainable and long-lasting expressions of Vermont culture and enterprise. We thought you might be interested in some of the other funding recipients.
Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Vermont Cranberry Company
The Vermont Cranberry Company in Fletcher is a unique operation, one of a kind in the state. The Enterprise Initiative will support construction of a new fruit press, an increase in cold storage and the incorporation of solar into the drying facility. Vermont Cranberry is a member of Vermont Fresh Network and supplies many of Vermont’s independent groceries, markets and co-ops. Ask at yours!
Working Lands Enterprise Initiative The Sculpted Tree
Fellow woodworker Nick Rosato was awarded a grant to purchase new and improved equipment for wood-turning workshops and classes at The Sculpted Tree. A great combination of forest product, appreciation and education. Give him a shout on Facebook!
Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Sidehill Farm Jam Agricultural Product

At the other end of the state–in Brattleboro–Sidehill Farm specialty food producers received a boost from Working Lands to help them upgrade equipment, expand their product lines and increase competitiveness. If that means another ‘drizzle’ or ‘paste’ is on the way, that’s good for everybody!

Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Currier Forest Products Timberframe
Currier Forest Products in Danville received support which will allow for the purchase of  a small wood-drying kiln available for NEK wood-based businesses. Sweet!
Because the flow of applicants was so steady and so great, the Working Landscape Partnership and Coalition are continuing their efforts to build the fund for greater, longer lasting, and more sustainable benefits. Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers has begun to implement its award across the digital landscape! We’re marching toward a revamped website, more established social network presence and more frequent communications across traditional and new media platforms. Connect with us via Facebook and Twitter for fun, inspired updates, news and events. We’ll look forward to introducing our new website this fall. We were thrilled to join this great group of grant recipients. If you want to check out the other 15 not listed here, visit the “Enterprise Investment Area” of the Working Lands Fund. Vermont business welcome and appreciate your support!

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