The Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association is holding a strategic planning meeting on Saturday, July 19, at the Green Mountain Club in Waterbury Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This meeting will bring together the entire Vermont maple community to discuss VMSMA's future role in the context of increasing maple syrup production and food retail trends that can benefit maple. Two years into the integration of VMSMA, the Vermont Maple Industry Council, and the Vermont Maple Foundation, it is time to convene stakeholders to address challenges and opportunities within the industry.
There has been unprecedented growth in Vermont. Production has risen nearly 150 percent in Vermont over the past decade, and that rate of expansion is similar in other states and in Canada. Sales of maple syrup continue to rise, even while the economy has been stagnant, but there are questions as to whether or not the growth patterns of production and sales are on the same trajectory. At the same time, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the predominant sweetener in the U.S. and the chief ingredient in artificial table syrups, has taken a massive public relations hit, as HFCS is being linked to obesity, diabetes, and a host of related illnesses.
Today, the association is positioned to chart a course for the future, one that takes into account the trends in production and development in the industry; the trends of health-conscious consumers who are choosing products like maple syrup because of the health advantages it offers and the sustainability of the product; the trends of foodies who seek local and artisan products with unique heritage and production; and the unprecedented development of technological changes in communications, with rapid growth of online sales and the ubiquity of mobile devices.
Strategic planning will be facilitated by Paul Costello of the Vermont Council on Rural Development and will bring together many voices within the maple industry. Your input is needed, and your investment in the time taken to attend this meeting will be rewarded by a stronger association.
If you are planning to attend the July 19 strategic planning meeting, please register by contacting Mary Croft at 802-763-7435 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you have questions, please contact Matt Gordon at 802-498-7767 or email@example.com
(agenda is subject to change)
9 a.m. Welcome and Introduction
9:15 a.m. Keynote Address from Roberta MacDonald, senior vice president of Cabot Creamery Cooperative
9:45 a.m. Panel on the Future of Vermont Maple
10:30 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Session with Full Group
12:15 p.m. Lunch (lunch will be catered)
1:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions
3:45 p.m. Meeting Wrap-up and Close