Interim Project Manager Hired for Food Processing Incubator in Hardwick

The Center for an Agricultural Economy is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Louise Calderwood of Craftsbury as the interim project manager for the 15,000 square foot Vermont Food Venture Center being constructed in Hardwick. The new building is a shared-use kitchen incubator for value-added and specialty food producers who can rent the kitchen on an hourly basis or arrange for co-packing or storage at the facility. The operation plan calls for anchor tenants in two sections of the building devoted to dairy processing and meat processing. The facility is expected to generate the equivalent of 16 full time jobs when it is fully operational.
Site work began on the Vermont Food Venture Center in mid May and currently the structure is a combination of steel supports sheathed in yellow insulation board. Work is on target for the building to be closed in and construction to continue through the winter months.
Calderwood is expected to provide outreach to prospective users of the Vermont Food Venture Center and to finalize lease arrangements with anchor tenants. Additionally she will be responsible for providing leadership on many details necessary to ensure the project stays on track for an anticipated mid March 2011 opening date.
Tom Stearns, owner of High Mowing Seeds and member of the Vermont Food Venture Center steering committee stated “We are pleased to have Louise on board. With her knowledge of agriculture and attention to detail she will streamline access to the building for Vermont food processors.”
The Vermont Food Venture Center is a central piece of a planning process begun in 2007 to revitalize Hardwick and the surrounding communities through community involvement, integrated and responsible agri-business, and a commitment to economic and nutritional health. Other parts of the project include creation of the Center for an Agricultural Economy, (a public policy organization) and the Hardwick Sustainable Agriculture Center at Atkins Field, 15 acres of land conserved for development of new agricultural enterprises. The Hardwick community garden space was created as part of the overall effort and includes a picnic table, tools, shelter and walking paths along the Lamoille River.
Funding for creation of the Vermont Food Venture Center has been provided by USDA Rural Development, the Vermont Agency of Economic Development, The US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the US Economic Development Administration. Individuals interested in utilization of the Vermont Food Venture Center can reach Calderwood at 802-586-2239 to arrange a tour.