March 13, 2020, 3:30pm
Dear Friends & Partners,
First, we at NOFA-VT are writing to check in and send love during a stressful time with the emerging situation with COVID-19.
We are also writing to share a few measures we'll be implementing at NOFA-VT in response to COVID-19 to be in solidarity, flatten the curve, protect the most vulnerable in our society, and put less strain on the healthcare system. The current pandemic shines a light on the importance of a resilient, local, just food system. We are working tirelessly on both the immediate (questions like how to handle upcoming events and how to support vendors after farmers markets cancel) and the longer term (advocating for Vermont farmers to receive support through emergency relief and federal stimulus packages).
While this moment is uniquely challenging, it reminds us of how interconnected we all are, and how we must take excellent care of each other.
In service to this goal, beginning Monday, March 16th, we will be closing our physical office to the public and will be primarily working remotely as a staff team. We are encouraging staff to use technology to attend meetings and events, and are canceling work trips. We are moving many of our offerings online such as this weekend’s Farm Beginnings course and next week’s VT Farmers Market Conference.
We have been in process of upgrading our phone system to allow for more remote work and we expect this work to be done in the next 7-10 days. Until then:
- To reach NOFA-VT, please call (802) 232-2617
- To reach VOF, please call: (802) 851-0067
Staff will be answering these numbers during office hours as much as possible, and will pass along your messages and request for call-backs to the appropriate staff. We expect that, by the week of March 23rd, we’ll be back to using our normal phone numbers.
If you are a VOF producer who needs to order labels, signs, etc., please reach out to [email protected]. We plan to fill orders and mail them once per week. We expect to reach out early next week to producers regarding our plan for inspections.
If you are a farmer or food provider, farmers market manager, food service professional, or food access worker and you are experiencing crisis, please reach out to us. We all need each other, and we’re here for you—even if we aren’t able to do everything—and will do our best to connect you to the people or resources who can help. We’re here for you all, and are deeply committed to our work of building a resilient, just, thriving food system.
We are anticipating our physical office will be closed for at least the next two weeks, and will be continually assessing the situation. Should circumstances create other challenges, we will communicate them via email and our website as soon as we know. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns.
Please know that we are here to help, connect, and serve. Together, we are resilient and strong.