NEWS: Sanders Honored as Special Guest at 16th Annual Taste of Vermont, Hosted by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 – Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR), a statewide, nonprofit business association with a mission to leverage local business for positive social and environmental impact, held the 16th Annual “Taste of Vermont” event on Thursday evening in Washington, D.C with special guest Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Over 30 local Vermont businesses from all across the state – including Montpelier, Burlington, Townshend, Barre, Westfield, Waitsfield, White River Junction, Middlebury, and Vergennes – made the trip to Taste of Vermont to showcase their Vermont-made products, like cheese, momos, beer and cider, spirits, samosa, coffee, ice cream, maple treats, chocolates, and more. Vermont-based band, Mal Maïz, performed for the hundreds of attendees.

First established at the suggestion of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Taste of Vermont has become well-known for providing an annual opportunity for local Vermont businesses and entrepreneurs to bring their foods, beverages, and agricultural products to Washington to meet with Members of Congress and discuss the issues that matter most to them. Earlier in the day, Sanders also held a roundtable discussion with many of the participating Vermont businesses to hear about their experiences, particularly after a very difficult season for farmers and local businesses due to the disastrous summer flooding. In addition to flood impact and recovery, topics discussed included struggles to recruit employees, the high cost of health care, the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of climate change, and more. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) joined Sanders at the roundtable and the evening event.

“These are tough times, and I must say it is nice to see so many friendly faces in Washington, D.C.,” said Sen. Sanders. “I know how much our small businesses have struggled since the devastating floods. You have shown resilience and resistance, and I am enormously proud of all the work you do in agriculture and in business. This event not only celebrates our state’s rich agricultural heritage, but it showcases the work ethic that exists all throughout Vermont. I want to give a huge thanks to VBSR for not only hosting the event, but for ensuring their business model is not only about making money, but about the environment, about how you treat workers, and about how we treat each other. I also want to thank every single Vermont business in attendance – this wouldn’t have been possible without you.”

“This year’s event showcased not only Vermont’s rich agricultural heritage and strong food and beverage economies, but the socially responsible business practices that have helped Vermont producers grow into global markets,” said VBSR Executive Director, Roxanne Vought. “In our 33rd year, we are the oldest socially responsible business organization in the nation and home to the highest concentration of Certified B Corps per capita in the U.S. Bringing that leadership to Taste of Vermont alongside Senator Bernie Sanders represents an unparalleled opportunity to further our vision: a just, thriving, and transformative economy that works for all people and the planet.”

“Whether it’s Vermont’s world-class cheese and dairy, our craft spirits and beers, our world-renowned maple, or other high-quality artisan goods and products, the Green Mountain State has so much to showcase. I was so proud to come together with the Delegation and businesses from across Vermont to highlight what makes our brave little state so special – the hardworking people who have pride in their work, their communities, and their state,” said Sen. Welch. “This year’s Taste of Vermont proves that Bernie Sanders can add ‘Best Party Host’ to his long list of accomplishments.”

“Taste of Vermont showcases some of the best small businesses and farms the Green Mountain State has to offer,” said Rep. Balint. “High quality product and community centered values are the hallmark of our local businesses. I’m thrilled our colleagues in Washington could experience the outstanding local produce and brands from Vermont right here in the Capitol.”

Participating vendors at Taste of Vermont this year included: Barr Hill, Ben and Jerry’s, Big Picture Farm, Butterfly Bakery, Butterworks Farm, Cabot Creamery, Champlain Orchards, Champlain Valley Apiaries, Daily Chocolate, Global Village Foods, Jenna’s Promise, Kalche Wine, King Arthur Baking Co., Lawson’s Finest, lu·lu Ice Cream, Maple Wind Farm, Monti Verdi Salumi, Monument Farms Dairy, Screamin’ Ridge Farm, Sherpa Foods, Stowe Cider, Strafford Creamery, Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind, Switchback, The Alchemist, The Tipsy Pickle, Vermont Creamery, Vermont Moonlight, Vermont Sugar Makers’ Assn., Westminster Bakery, and Wilcox Ice Cream.

This year’s Taste of Vermont was held in the U.S. Senate’s Kennedy Caucus Room, where Supreme Court justices are confirmed and the Titanic and Watergate hearings were held, and the local business roundtable was held in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing room.

Find photos from Taste of Vermont here.
Find photos from the roundtable discussion here.
Find the event flyer here.