Food Connects to build cooler, freezer

BRATTLEBORO — Food Connects is set to begin construction of their 1,200 square foot cooler and freezer space in mid-August.

According to a news release, the expanded operational space triples the available volume of cold and frozen storage space available to Food Connects to aggregate and distribute local foods.

In November 2018, Food Connects moved to their new facility at the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation's Business Park.

This large space offers many benefits - access to a loading dock for their fleet, increased office and storage space and, most importantly, room to move and store more food.

Food Connects says having the increased storage space is crucial to their future as they work toward building more market opportunities for local producers of refrigerated, frozen, and shelf-stable foods.

Their new cooler and freezer will allow them to offer their wholesale customers - including schools, hospitals, independent grocers, and business food programs - more options for using local products in place of commodity foods.

Food Connects says this increase in capacity, along with an addition to their vehicle fleet, will allow them to build market channels for more producers and consumers in the Upper Valley, Western Vermont, and Western Massachusetts regions.

Currently, Food Connects primarily serves customers in Windham County and the Monadnock Region of southwest New Hampshire.

“Operational efficiencies will dramatically increase with our loading docks, offices, and storage space all under one roof - increasing ease of access for drop-offs and pick-ups,” says Alex McCullough, Food Hub Manager. “We are excited about what this new space will mean for our local producers.”

The project is projected to cost $200,000 in total. Food Connects secured $150,000 in grant funding from High Meadows Fund, Sandy River Charitable Foundation, and the You Have Our Trust Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

These grants provide partial funding for the layout design and construction of the cooler space by ARC Mechanical. With $50,000 left to reach their goal, Food Connects now looks to the community to help fund the remainder.

“We are so grateful for the support from our grant funders,” says Richard Berkfield, executive director. “We now need the community's help to reach our goal. Supporting our cooler expansion is supporting the growth of local food producers and our local food economy.”

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