Vermont Everyone Eats (VEE) was an emergency relief program administered by Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) that benefited restaurants, farms and food producers, and individual meal recipients during a time of disruption. The program connected food systems, food security, and economic impact goals, and part of the program’s success was because of this collaborative, integrated approach. Lasting from August 1, 2020 through March 31, 2023, with nearly $49 million in total funding ($47.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency plus a $1.3 million allocation from the Vermont State Legislature), VEE’s benefits extended far beyond the initial expected benefits.
Sustainable Economies Consulting and Helianth Partners collaborated on the economic impact assessment of the VEE program. In addition to looking at standard economic impacts, they also looked at other types of positive program impacts on communities.
Key findings from the analysis:
- A multiplier effect of $78 million, which is additional spending beyond the initial $49 million, by restaurants and farmers re-circulating those dollars back into local inputs and local labor pools.
- $10.1 million leverage, which is private dollars invested by restaurants, farms, and food producers into local food system equipment and infrastructure.
- Improved economic resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, measured by over 400 full-time employees’ retention and by these enterprises not going out of business.
- Dozens of new partnerships established between farms and restaurants. Relationships between farms and restaurants are a crucial element for farms to be able to sell to restaurants.
- 3.9 million meals delivered to those in need.
- Greater community cohesion was reported by those helping distribute the meals and those receiving the meals as well.
This economic analysis has made the case through multiple data sources, interviews, and surveys that the VEE program had a multitude of positive outcomes and economic resilience benefits for farmers, food producers, and restaurants.
View the infographic of results
view the full economic analysis report
The VEE program is a model for a successful food security program during times of uncertainty that supports economic development and social outcomes. VEE is also the only food security program in the state that has had economic development as a primary goal. This new program was a paradigm shift in how food aid, economic development, and knowledge sharing is tackled.