Buying Local and Organic with Vermont Fresh Network

By Greg Garner, Director of Planning and Major Projects, Karmê Chöling

Since its inception, Karmê Chöling has paid a great deal of attention to how food is prepared and eaten. For years, our meditation retreat center has offered month-long retreats where oryoki, a Japanese monastic way of eating and appreciating food, is practiced.

Our kitchen staff practices mindfulness and awareness when it prepares and offers food to practitioners, teachers, staff and guests. Food is made from scratch using local and/or organic ingredients.

For the last several years, we have taken a fresh look at what we serve and where it comes from. Being in Vermont, we are fortunate to have many local growers and producers. Karmê Chöling has made a heartfelt effort to purchase more ingredients from local sources, in addition to our own organic garden.

Currently, we use more than fifty percent organic and/or local products!  Our leadership and kitchen staff are committed to increasing this percentage and sourcing directly from farmers and producers whenever possible.

One key way we have been able to buy local ingredients and eat healthy organic produce is through our partnership with Vermont Fresh Network (VFN).

Since 2007, VFN has opened doors for us, helping us meet local growers and producers. It has been a joy getting to know more folks that really care about the local food scene and how and what we feed ourselves. We look forward to making more relationships as we continue our goal of creating a sane, enlightened environment where wholesome, nutritious, local and minimally processed food can be offered to staff and guests.


Vermont Fresh Network (VFN), founded in 1995, is a statewide organization that encourages farmers, food producers and chefs to work directly with each other to build partnerships. Building strong regional connections contributes to stronger local communities and their economies.

VFN is dedicated to promoting and publicizing Vermont chefs and restaurants that use Vermont grown and produced foods. Chefs that purchase the products of Vermont's working landscape help maintain her agricultural heritage and contribute to the future of Vermont's farm economy.

VFN also educates consumers. Through its website and links VFN hopes to educate the dining public of the wholesomeness, nutritional value, freshness, and safety of Vermont-grown foods, as well as the economic impact of supporting local businesses. 

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