December 11, 2019 | 



Funding from three Northeast Kingdom foundations provided meaningful employment for young people in Newport.

December 11, 2019


CONTACT: Llu Mulvaney-Stanak, VYCC Officer of Community Engagement

802-434-3969 ext. 100 |

RICHMOND, VT, Dec 11, 2019 – “I don’t know what I’d do for work if it wasn’t for VYCC,” said one Crew Member of the Newport Food & Farm Crew. With support from the Northeast Kingdom Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, the Windham Foundation, and the Oakland Foundation, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) employed five youth from the Newport area to work on VYCC’s Health Care Share project this summer.

Five local youth and two young adults worked from June to August cultivating a one-acre parcel of farmland on Bluffside Farm in Newport. The crew’s objective was to grow, harvest, pack and deliver food to patients at North Country Hospital. Recipients of shares were identified by healthcare providers as food-insure and/or suffer from a diet related illness. These families received fresh fruits, vegetables, and nutrition education from July to September.

“Hands-on, agricultural, and community service work provides a vehicle for personal and professional growth for Northeast Kingdom youth,” said Breck Knauft, the Executive Director at VYCC. “They develop leadership skills, learn to work as a team and help provide freshly grown food to members of their community. Corps Members also receive a share of the vegetables they grow and nutrition education to build skills in healthy food preparation.”

Finding meaningful work is often difficult for young people in Vermont’s northeast region, the Northeast Kingdom. Newport Corps Members report back that if not for VYCC they would either be unemployed, or working jobs that offer minimal skill development. Crew Leader Ezra Pasackow reflected on how much young people learn at VYCC: “[This summer] a community member came to the farm to check it out. A 16-year-old Crew Member proudly explained their work–plants they had transplanted and more—speaking factually about VYCC’s integrated farm pest management strategies. At the start of summer, this Crew Member didn’t have any experience with vegetable production. I was very proud of her and impressed with the knowledge and professionalism she displayed with our visitor.”

Next year will be VYCC’s fourth year growing food in Newport. “We are thrilled to continue and deepen our collaboration with Vermont Land Trust at Bluffside Farm. Employing local youth to steward a parcel of this important community property is an impactful collaborative project that we are proud to be a part of.” Said Susie Walsh Daloz, the Food & Farm Program Director at VYCC.

More about VYCC
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps is a 501(c)3 nonprofit youth development organization with a mission to teach young people personal responsibility through meaningful work that connects us to the land, community, and one another. For more than 30 years, VYCC has held the belief that when provided the right tools, young people can change the world. VYCC pays young people, ages 15-26, to work and learn side by side with conservation and farming experts to tackle climate change, food insecurity, and preserve public lands.

More about the Northeast Kingdom Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation

The Northeast Kingdom Fund is a permanent philanthropic resource that makes annual grant awards to support the people and communities of Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties. The Fund was established in 2011 by the Community Foundation and local partners with the strong belief that this region exemplifies the best of Vermonters’ aspirations for their communities, and through its annual grantmaking, offers opportunities for people in the Kingdom to help each other.

More about the Windham Foundation

The Windham Foundation works to preserve and enhance the social, economic, and cultural vitality of Vermont’s smaller communities and their rural way of life, especially within and around the town of Grafton, Vermont. The Foundation focuses on Vermont’s history, natural resources, and agrarian traditions.

The Windham Foundation is an operating foundation. It operates the Grafton Inn which has been open for over 200 years, the Grafton Village Cheese Company which has made award-winning artisan cheese for more than 50 years, and the Grafton Trails and Outdoor Center. The Foundation operates these social enterprises to ensure that the region’s and the state’s rural economy remain viable.=

In addition to these activities, the Foundation offers philanthropic, charitable, and educational programs and supports the village of Grafton through its preservation of historic buildings, open land stewardship, and financial support in the form of taxes and grants.