By LISA RATHKE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MORETOWN — Vermont awarded $1.1 million to 37 farm and forestry projects around the state Tuesday in the second year it offered working lands grants.
Among the recipients is Grow Compost of Vermont LLC, which is receiving $75,000 for a new truck to collect food and food scraps from schools and businesses and manure from farms to turn into compost and for use in digesters to make energy. Some of the food will also go to food banks as Vermont moves toward its goal of statewide recycling by 2015 and keeping food scraps out of landfills by 2020.
“We could not have imagined this day when we began eight years ago with a plan to create some good soil for our own gardens,” said Lisa Ransom, who along with her husband and parents own Grow Compost. “Our sights are now higher. We see an incredible potential for this work to create jobs.”
Other awards are:
$50,000 to Screamin’ Ridge Farm Inc. in East Montpelier for a collaborative processing facility for value-added agricultural projects.
$75,000 to Vermont Technical College for a dairy processing plant and hub.
$15,000 to Fat Toad Farm in Brookfield for more efficient caramel equipment to expand production at its goat farm.
$9,825 to Green Mountain Hardwood in Ripton for a portable sawmill and materials for a solar-assisted lumber kiln.
$38,000 to Vermont Livestock and Slaughter Processing LLC in Ferris-burgh for a computerized weight data and tracking system for livestock.
$20,000 to Wilcox Ice Cream in Manchester for a manufacturing facility.
“Every time we invest in our working landscape in the state of Vermont as we are through this fund — as the entrepreneurs are every day — we actually are making an investment in our economy, we’re making an investment in our ecology, we’re making an investment in undergirding the very culture that makes this place so special, and at the end of the day we’re building community in this state that is why we live here,” said Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross.
The Working Lands Enterprise Board also leveraged $1.8 million in matching funds.
Aside from entrepreneurs, grants also went to service providers, such as $50,000 to the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association for innovation assistance to wood manufacturers and $50,000 to the Intervale Center, Northeast Organic Farmers Association Vermont, the University of Vermont and others for a project to nurture the next wave of Vermont agricultural entrepreneurs.
Visit http://workinglands.vermont.gov/projects for a list of all the WLEB funded projects.