Recipients announced for 2020 Ski Vermont Working Lands Grant

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Recipients announced for 2020 Ski Vermont Working Lands Grant

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 5:10pm -- tim

Vine Ripe Greenhouse Construction, Walden Heights Nursery Orchard Will Use Funding to Increase Capabilities, Improve Efficiency and Create Jobs

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Ski Areas Association (Ski Vermont) has announced that the recipients of the 2020 Ski Vermont Grant, awarded annually through the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Fund, are Vine Ripe Greenhouse Construction in Roxbury and Walden Heights Nursery Orchard in Walden.

The two grants, totaling just over $15,500, will help these two participants in Vermont’s “small farm revolution” improve their infrastructure and expand their capabilities with improved efficiency. To date, Ski Vermont has awarded nearly $51,500 in grants through the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Fund to a wide variety of in-state businesses.

“The Working Lands Enterprise Board is grateful for the philanthropy extended to date from Ski Vermont’s support of Agriculture & Forestry based businesses around the State. Ski Vermont’s thoughtful selection ensures awareness of the critical positive impacts these funds provide’, said Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Food & Markets Alyson Eastman.

Based in Roxbury, Vine Ripe Greenhouse Construction is the sole high-tunnel and hoophouse construction and consulting contractor in Vermont. Vine Ripe assists farmers in the planning and assembly of season extension greenhouse structures, which have become increasingly vital due to climate change and its effect on growing seasons. Vine Ripe’s clients range from small, startup farms to institutional operations – including UVM Horticultural Farm and Saint Michael's Organic Garden Project. They additionally work with corporate clients such as Vermont Compost, Farm & Wilderness, the Champlain Valley Dispensary and participants in the Intervale Success on Farms program.

Vine Ripe will use the Ski Vermont Grant for significant infrastructure investment to assist more farmers, educators and other clients achieve their business and farm expansion goals.

Walden Heights Nursery Orchard’s 1,500 standard size trees represent 600 distinct apple varieties, making it the most diverse certified-organic apple collection in the United States. The nursery owners are dedicated to the preservation of genetic diversity of fruit-bearing plants that grow well in the northern climate. In addition to apples, the orchard comprises several acres of grapes, berries, hops and other tree fruits and nuts.

Walden Heights Nursery Orchard will use the grant to install an atmospheric-controlled cooler, to enhance storage space and extend the life of its produce. This will enable the farm to sell local apples in the offseason and participate in the hard cider market – which will in turn extend previously seasonal jobs to year-round employment opportunities.

“We are very excited to help these businesses through the awarding of the Ski Vermont Grant and thankful to the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Fund for the opportunity to do so,” said Molly Mahar, president of Ski Vermont. “The ski industry in Vermont is proud to be a part of the state’s working landscape and is committed to supporting and helping grow the other businesses that make up that landscape.

“The seasonal challenges to Vermont farmers from climate change in many ways parallel those faced by the ski and snowboard industry, making Vine Ripe Greenhouse Construction a great fit for this grant. Walden Heights Nursery Orchard’s commitment to preserving an important piece of the state’s historical and cultural heritage – and create jobs in the process – is very much in line with the priorities of our member ski areas.”

The Ski Vermont Grant is made possible through proceeds from Ski Vermont’s Fifth Grade Passport program, which helped more than 3,000 children get involved in skiing and snowboarding during the 2019-20 season.

Source: May 26, 2020 | Montpelier, VT  – Vermont Ski Areas Association