Since its inception in 2012, the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) has invested over $3.1 million dollars in 112 projects impacting every county of the state, leveraging just under $5 million in additional funds. Impacts to date include:
· 106 new jobs created by working lands grantees
· A $12 million+ increase in gross income across all working lands grantees
On Thursday, February 4th, 2016 the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative annual report was submitted to the Vermont Legislature accompanied by a two hour presentation featuring a new 6-minute video and testimonials from four 2015 working lands grant recipients: Joe Buley of Screamin’ Ridge Farm in Montpelier; Karen Caron of Peaslee’s Vermont Potatoes in Guildhall; Parker Nichols of Vermont Wildwoods in Marshfield; and Andy Harper of Winterwood Timber Frames in East Montpelier.
Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross, Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation Michael Snyder, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jolinda LaClair, and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Lucy Leriche each delivered remarks, and the four grant recipients presented overviews of their businesses and working lands projects, and discussed challenges and opportunities facing their sectors.
“Grantees that emerge from WLEB’s formal vetting and selection process represent an innovative and resilient cohort of working lands businesses,” said Ag Secretary Chuck Ross. “They possess the determination and ingenuity to not only grow their business, but also expand economic opportunity in their communities and throughout Vermont.”
“This grant allowed us to significantly expand the diversity of our product offerings, which we hope will enable us to keep people employed even when the timber framing market is down,” said Andy Harper of Winter Wood Timber Frames. “Working Lands is not only about growing ideas and expanding businesses, but about improving Vermont’s economy overall and keeping the landscape working.”
The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative 2015 Annual Report can be found here: http://workinglands.vermont.gov/node/737
The Working Lands Video can be found here: https://youtu.be/1Zh0PngLDLk
For more information about grant recipients in your area, visit: http://workinglands.vermont.gov/projects
The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, (Act 142), is administered by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets in partnership with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The Working Lands funds are administered by the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB), an impact investment organization whose mission is to grow the economies, cultures, and communities of Vermont’s working landscape by making essential, catalytic investments in critical leverage points of the Vermont farm and forest economy, from individual enterprises to industry sectors. For more information, visit http://workinglands.vermont.gov/
About the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets: VAAFM facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment. www.Agriculture.Vermont.Gov