Windham Grows graduation ceremony is Monday

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BRATTLEBORO — Strolling of the Heifers will celebrate the first group to successfully complete its Windham Grows business hatchery program with a graduation ceremony on Monday. Seven local entrepreneurs have spent the past nine months in the program, which provides free mentorship, resources and support to food and agriculture-based businesses ready to scale up.

According to Windham Grows' director and entrepreneur-in-residence, Jim Verzino, the program's goal "is to have thriving companies and a great entrepreneurial ecosystem here in southern Vermont. The seven companies in our first group have already created nine new jobs."

The graduation will be held at Brattleboro's River Garden, 157 Main Street, on Monday, August 14 from 3 to 4 p.m. In addition to celebrating the first group to complete the program, Windham Grows will be welcoming its next group, which starts sessions later this month. Refreshments will be prepared by Strolling of the Heifers' Farm-to-Table Apprenticeship students. The public is encouraged to attend the free event.

"It's really exciting to have it all under one roof," said Orly Munzing, Strolling of the Heifers' executive director. "The businesses who have already benefited from the Windham Grows program, the next group of growing businesses, and the Farm-to-Table students who could make great future employees for those businesses."

Windham Grows is open to eligible businesses that have: a product or service that can be expanded and sold beyond Windham County; at least one founding partner working full time in the business; and produce a product or service that is food or agricultural related. Each participant has the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs-in-residence to develop and execute a specific, personalized business growth plan.

Strolling of the Heifers is a non-profit organization with the mission of connecting people with healthy local food, encouraging and facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship in the farm/food sector, and supporting the development of stronger local food systems and healthy, sharing, connected and resilient communities.

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