FEAST News

Current COVID guidelines affecting MSAC operations 

We're hiring a Kitchen Manager/Chef! 

.Click here for this and other jobs posted with the City at this time.  

FEAST Farm Volunteers Needed, Too!

Farm kidsEven though fall is underway, veggies are still growing at Feast Farm and other Parks work remains to be done, including pumpking carving for Enchanted Forest ! Please check out our volunteer work days. We will be working on occasional final harvesting of produce for the FEAST Senior Meals Program, the Montpelier Food Pantry, as well as the Montpelier-Roxbury School "Backpack Program." WBeans, potatos, eggplant, peppers, at Farm 9-10-21 by Sarah Liptone'll also be preparing for winter by planting cover crops. We have tasks for folks of all ages and abilities! Please sign up for a time slot HERE. No need to stay for the whole time, but it's helpful for us to know how many people will be joining. Directions to the farm are on the spreadsheet. Feel free to email Jacqueline at jhuettenmoser@montpelier-vt.org with questions.

FEAST Transitions Continue 

FEAST has undergone a large series of transitions recently…we have a new program manager: Kim Myers just getting started, and our kitchen is being revamped to open again under the stewardship of volunteer Albert Sabatini in November. For the month of October, we’ll be receiving delicious meals to share with you from our friends at Capstone’s Community Kitchen Academy.

We are also implementing a new database so we can better keep track of all the behind-the-scenes administrative necessities, and we are focused on processing the glorious abundance of local farm produce. The bottom line, though, is bringing YOU the delicious, nutritious meals you deserve.

If you or someone you know is interested in trying out the scrumptious meals our new Chef is producing, please do not hesitate to join us. Meals are available at no charge for seniors over 60 through our Meals on Wheels program – offering daily hot meal delivery again in November - or our Curbside Pickup meals offered on Tuesdays and Fridays. We always welcome donations, and you may contribute to our robust nutrition program in a variety of ways: online, through a check, or drop off a donation when you pick up your meal.

Now that we are planning to open the kitchen again, we are looking for volunteers to help us produce these necessary meals. If you are interested, feel free to drop by in the mornings (masks on, please) between 9:30-11:30, or make a schedule by reaching out to our new FEAST Program Manager at: FEAST@montpelier-vt.org

The best way to celebrate the harvest of this season? To eat it! Join us at FEAST Senior Meals for your taste of the harvest!

Feast Farm Journal: Sept.—Oct.   ~by Leila Faulstich, Parks VHCB Americorps member
 
These days, I have a lot of love in my heart for Feast Farm. Jac continues to manage it; she is an intelligent, kind and keen-eyed leader. Our new Montpelier Youth Conservation Corps (MYCC) crew came on Monday to help us weed and harvest. As we introduced them to the Feast Farm project, the radicalness and potency of what we are doing really struck me. How incredible it would be if every city had a farm to feed its citizens! If every high schooler had the opportunity to learn about tending the land for class credit! (Time to dream).  The farm is at peak harvest. The tomatoes are so abundant they leave Cara slack-jawed. The colors on the rows--purples, reds, greens, marigold goldens, russets, oranges-- are dizzying. This month we harvested  turnips, red and yellow onions, chard, summer squash, zucchini,  cucumbers, kale, potatoes, shishito peppers, red peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, spring onion, eggplant and beets. And there’s so much more to come! We know this abundance won’t last-- a first frost nips the near future... But in the meantime, come visit us, and the vegetables, and the old John Deere tractor, and the woodchuck holes, and the out-of-control weeds, and the long river, and the wavering, late-summer light. 

Learn More about FEAST Farm

Want to learn more about FEAST Farm and how it supports FEAST Senior Meals? Visit the website at https://www.montpelier-vt.org/1235/FEAST-Farm.  Sarah Lipton wrote an article in the recently VT-published zine called Grounded: How Vermonters are cultivating transformative relationships with the land. The zine is a project of 350VT and full of great stories. Check out Sarah’s on page 30-31

FEAST Veggie Fiesta: You are Invited to Volunteer in the Kitchen!

Ghazi, Scudder and David in FEAST kitchen, 2,  9-10-21 by Sarah LiptonTop image: Volunteers Ghazi, Scudder and David process freshly harvested beans recently, plus below: a beautiful batch of basil in the kitchen, prior to being processed!

Montpelier’s FEAST Farm has grown above and beyond…and the Montpelier Senior Activity Center (MSAC) is seeking volunteers to help us process the beautiful produce so we can use it this fall and winter to incorporate into our FEAST Senior Meals. Join us for 1.5+ hours, aBasil up close, from FEAST Farm 9-14-21 by JCnd enjoy kitchen camaraderie and a special Mediterranean lunch prepared for you by our lead kitchen volunteer, a chef from Tunisia! Volunteer Fiestas will take place in the beautiful MSAC Kitchen (58 Barre St, Montpelier) on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30 – 12:30pm. If you are interested, please RSVP with your available date(s) by clicking on our signup sheet here.  

Alternately, email feast@montpelier-vt.org or call 262-6288 to learn about volunteering in other ways with FEAST now or later this Fall.  

Kitchen inventory process underway and funding sought for re-stocking 

Team MSAC and FEAST are working on updating our kitchen inventory lists, taking stock of what equipment and supplies need replacement or enhancement in quantities, and preparing to re-open our kitchen under new management in October. To that end, and so that we can eventually increase capacity and better support local food security for older adults and others, we are seeking funding support through grant opportunities. Stay tuned!

Reminder about our FEAST Resources Page

Have you checked out our two content-rich Resources pages for FEAST and MSAC? On the former, we just put up a new link you'll want to check out on a rainy day or if resuming more at-home time as COVID numbers rise and colder weather approaches. This was shared with us by a mother-daughter team in Iceland who somehow found their way to our Resource page recently!  Go ahead, share with a friend or loved one, too!

FEAST Picnic Meals Inside on-hold for now

With COVID numbers rising in our region, we are encouraging all people to mask inside MSAC regardless of vaccine status, and we have decided to pause from serving meals inside at this time until further notice, effective August 13. Those picking up our Curbside meals on Tuesdays and Fridays, 12-12:30pm, are welcome to picnic outside on our benches, at the hexagonal table, or under the pergola, but no table service is set up at this time. Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to getting back inside again as soon as it feels safe to do so. 

FEAST Farm featured in new zine article

Want to learn more about FEAST Farm and how it supports FEAST Senior Meals? Sarah Lipton wrote a fabulous article in the recently published zine called Grounded: How Vermonters are cultivating transformative relationships with the landThe zine is a project of 350VT and full of great stories. Check out Sarah’s on page 30-31 here. You can also view or download a PDF directly, here, (her story page 16 there) and we’ll have some hard copies at MSAC within the coming weeks if you’d like to request one. Contact Sarah for more info at 262-6288 or slipton@montpelier-vt.org

Volunteer for FEAST

As we ramp back up to serving meals inside and delivering daily hot meals, we are going to need a lot more help again. If you or someone you know is interested in helping us bring nutritious, delicious meals to seniors who need them, please let us know by calling or emailing us: 802-262-6288, feast@montpelier-vt.org. We are seeking the following: 

  • Meals on Wheels Drivers
  • FEAST Curbside Picnic Volunteers
  • FEAST Special Events Volunteers
  • FEAST Farm Support

Social Media Volunteer for FEAST

Do you have some extra time on your hands and some skill with writing? FEAST is looking for some help with managing our Facebook page. If you are interested, please reach out to Sarah Lipton at 262-6288. 

Older News Items

Field of Dreams Baseball Card Collection Show-and-Tell with Tim White

Baseball cards with Tim White 8-20-21Every Friday at FEAST Curbside Picnics at Montpelier Senior Activity Center, we invite members to bring something to show or a story to share, around 12:45pm. We're excited to share that on Friday, 8/20, we had the opportunity to see an incredible collection of autographed baseball cards, lovingly collected and curated by Tim White. To add to the baseball celebration, FEAST offered fresh popcorn to-go for those who stopped by to see Tom's collection in the courtyard under the pergola at 58 Barre Street. Thanks, Tim!


Increase in 3SquaresVT Benefit Amounts and Help to Apply 

Hunger Free Vermont and the Vermont Foodbank are pleased that the Biden Administration and USDA have announced a long-awaited update to the SNAP (known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT) “Thrifty Food Plan.” The updated plan will now more closely reflect the true cost of food. This long-overdue change will result in roughly a 25% increase in 3SquaresVT benefit amounts and will help tens of thousands of our neighbors afford a healthy, nutritious diet for themselves and their families. To read the whole press release in VT Digger, click here

To get help to apply, contact the Senior Helpline at 1-800-642-5119. There are also two newly-released tutorials designed for Vermonters who would like to apply on their own for 3SVT and 3SNP

Farmer’s market coupons available for seniors

There are still Senior Farmers Market Coupons (SFMNP) available to distribute to eligible people. Please click here for income limits and look for the highlighted Capstone agency who has the coupons in our service area.

FEAST Farm Tour Report: A Resounding Success!

By Sarah Lifarm tour 6-29-21pton, FEAST Program Manager

On June 29, 15 Montpelier teens working at the farm this summer through the new Montpelier Youth Conservation Corps (MYCC) gathered together under the tent at Montpelier’s FEAST Farm (5 Home Farm Way), and families with young children scarfed down garlic-scape scones (baked by Good Taste Catering with the farm’s own scapes), while listening to jaunty fiddle tunes of Park Director, Alec Ellsworth.

Joining them were older adults from the community, most of the management team for the City of Montpelier, Mayor Anne Watson, representatives from Central Vermont Council on Aging, the State Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL), local church meal volunteers, VT Foodbank representatives, Allison Levin from Community Harvest of Central Vermont, and the extraordinary Parks Department staff who made the Farm possible. 

 And Senator Bernie Sanders showed up!

The goal of the Farm Tour was to raise awareness of the Farm, the intricacies of the partnerships thatfarm tour bernie and kids 6-29-21 make it possible and the innovation occurring within the program. The FEAST Farm grows organic produce to feed the senior community who receive nutritious meals from the FEAST Senior Meals Program. Senator Sanders wanted to learn more from the MYCC youth about their experience and held an engaging conversation with them.

Senator Sanders confirmed he didn’t know of any other capital city producing food for its community in this way and will bring word back to Washington. Mary Woodruff from DAIL said the FEAST Farm model is something that Vermont should replicate in other communities. 

To learn more about the FEAST Farm, FEAST Senior Meals Program, and how to get involved, contact FEAST Program Manager Sarah Lipton: slipton@montpelier-vt.org or 262-6288.

Another Food Resource: CSFP 

Commodity Supplemental Food Program is a monthly box of shelf-stable foods that income eligible folks over 60 can access. To get help applying or learn about other resources to stretch your food budget and increase your nutrition, call the Helpline: 1-800-642-5119.

FEAST Recipe Corner: Baked Cauliflower Tots

FEAST is happy to be celebrating the beginning of summer, health and nutritious veggies, so we wanted to offer you this simple, delicious recipe created by the VT Foodbank's VT Fresh Network. Click here to view it! All ingredients can be locally sourced. Enjoy the recipe and make enough to share with a friend (by safely delivering, of course!). Try these baked cauliflower tots for a fun twist on this nutrient rich veggie. This is a kid AND senior approved side dish or snack! Try dipping in ketchup or a savory Greek yogurt dip. This recipe makes 4-6 servings. If you have a favorite recipe you would like to feature, send it to us at FEAST@montpelier-vt.org

Full Plates VT: Get a Box of Food!

The Vermont Foodbank is excited to announce the launch of Full Plates VT. Full Plates VT will distribute food boxes, made up of produce and other fresh and shelf-stable items, at drive through style distributions throughout all fourteen counties in Vermont. The program is currently scheduled to run from June – September, 2021. New dates will continue to be added to the registration website so please continue to check-back for new distributions. View dates and register to pick up a box for you or a neighbor here

Get more at the store with 3SquaresVT!

A monthly benefit income eligible folks can use to purchase the foods they need, when they need them. Many are eligible and don’t know, so Central VT Council on Aging offers application assistance for 3SquaresVT!  To learn more, please call 1-800-642-5119. Stretch your food budget with 3SquaresVT!

Community Harvest of Central Vermont - On the radio!

FEAST's wonderful partner, the Community Harvest of Central VT had the opportunity to be on WDEV's Vermont Viewpoint recently to discuss all of the exciting things happening at CHCV. You can listen to the Podcast recording to hear Allison talking to Ric Cengeri here. The CHCV 30 minute segment starts at 1:07:20. "One thing I still marvel at is the kindness of Vermonters - always looking for ways to help one another." ~Ric Cengari introducing CHCV. Learn more about CHCV: CommunityHarvestVT.org

3SquaresVT in a SNAP: A simpler way to get food assistance 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 3 Vermont residents has experienced hardships buying groceries. 3SquaresVT, Vermont’s name for the Federal program SNAP, provides monthly monetary benefits that help Vermont residents stretch their food budgets, ensuring everyone has enough nourishing food to eat. Households in which everyone is either 60 and over or receive disability benefits may be eligible for 3Squares in a SNAP, a simpler application process that can enroll you in both food assistance and fuel assistance. Your benefits last for a period of three years before you need to enroll again, and there is no annual review process. You also have the choice whether to receive benefits on a Vermont EBT card or as cash deposited directly into your bank account. To learn more about how you can benefit from 3SquaresVT, visit vermontfoodhelp.com.

FEAST apple words
Your Words Matter!
Back in February, FEAST staff and volunteers polled recipients to find out what FEAST means to them. Thanks to those efforts, we are pleased to share this new image with you. May it inspire! Click on the image to enlarge it!

Everyone Eats Spotlight  
Good Taste Catering, producers of FEAST's delicious Senior Meals, is part of the robust Everyone Eats program in Vermont (learn more here:). Everyone Eats got started in the wake of the pandemic in 2020 and has been serving more than 30,000 meals across the state. Capstone Community Action has recently been producing little video spotlights about the program as well, so click here to learn even more.

FEAST Presents: Online Resources
FEAST Senior Meals Program works hard to bring you more than just delicious, nutritious food. We work to bring you social enrichment, community engagement, and robust resources to ensure that you are thriving as you age in place. As we continue to contend with limited social engagement due to the ongoing pandemic, we have worked to bring you a new list of online resources to ease some of your isolation. Enjoy perusing these resources listed on our website, and let us know if you have questions: https://www.montpelier-vt.org/1241/FEAST-Resources-Partners.

FEAST Partner Offers Plentiful Access to Nutritious Food
At Just Basics, Inc., we have enjoyed a long and strong relationship with FEAST. Our two organizations share a mission of ensuring our community has easy and plentiful access to nutritious food and referring guests to other support services as much as we’re able.

Just Basics runs the Montpelier Food Pantry and other programs that help end cycles of injustice. The Pantry serves approximately 700 community members each month, helping folks in Central Vermont confront food insecurity in these difficult times. Much like FEAST, the Pantry is still only doing curbside pick up as we are not yet able to welcome guests back into the Pantry.

Located at the back entrance of Trinity Church (137 Main Street), the Pantry is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, from 10 am to 12noon. We have also recently added online ordering to our program -- which has been popular and helps patrons avoid long wait times -- and we’re currently expanding our pilot home delivery program.

Please stop by during Pantry hours or order ahead and pick up at your designated time. CLICK HERE to order online, or visit our website for more information. To donate food, please drop items at the Pantry entrance during operating hours; to donate money, you may donate online or email Development and Communications Manager Jolynda Burton.