The Board of Directors of the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL) voted at their October meeting to cease operations by year end. RAFFL currently operates five programs and is in negotiations with local food system partners to continue this work.
“The decision to close RAFFL was not reached easily,” said Larry Courcelle, RAFFL’s board president. “We were at a true crossroads, with terrific programs that farm producers and the community rely on, but facing ongoing staff and funding challenges.”
RAFFL runs five programs that support farms, connect the community to local produce, and provide a unique service in the Rutland area. These programs are Everyday Chef, Glean Team, Farm Fresh Connect, Farm Business Development, and Locally Grown Guide.
“Details about the future leadership of each program will be announced soon,” said Courcelle. “Each of RAFFL’s programs is well established and popular with those they serve. We are optimistic that they will continue in our community, and we are seeking to ensure that remaining RAFFL staff can transition along with the programs they have run here.”
At the time of its formation in 2004, RAFFL was the only organization in the Rutland region that connected farm producers with consumers and was instrumental in supporting the growth and development of the local agricultural economy. Since then, many food-related programs and organizations have sprung up, and the farm economy in the Rutland area has matured.
“Thanks to incredibly passionate and dedicated staff and board members, RAFFL has accomplished much of what it set out to do, and Rutland’s farm economy is now recognized throughout Vermont as a model for others,” said Courcelle. “RAFFL as we know it is ending, but the board feels it has created a solid foundation for successful ongoing work in the Rutland agricultural community. We are looking forward to the seamless transition of our current programs to several partnering organizations that are eager to continue the work RAFFL has already established.”