WHO WE ARE
The company’s founder, Hilary Hoffman, lives in Greensboro with her husband, two sons and elderly black lab. With few job opportunities in the Northeast Kingdom, Hilary knew she had to be creative in developing her own. She was committed to creating an enterprise that was both income generating and socially responsible. Hilary conceived of Tim’s Real Easter Basket Grass when she began collecting hay from the neighboring farm to fill her sons’ Easter baskets. Soon after, the Vermont Hay Company was formed.
WHAT WE DO
Tim’s Real Easter Basket Grass © (TREBG) was conceived of when Hilary Hoffman began collecting hay from the neighboring farm to fill her sons’ Easter baskets. She thought it added to the Easter basket experience as it seemed to make the Easter Bunny a more genuine creature. Being an animal, wouldn’t he/she be more likely to use fresh, fragrant hay rather than a manufactured, plastic product?
Hilary was convinced that parents from all over would choose an Earth friendly option if it was available. With some testing of the forage grasses grown in Vermont, Timothy Hay proved to be the most fragrant. Hilary formed the Vermont Hay Company in Greensboro, Vermont in 2012 to bring Tim’s Real Easter Basket Grass to all the parents who do not live next to a farm.
Today, The Vermont Hay Company is creating markets beyond Easter basket grass and the feedstock market for Vermont grown hay.
WHY WE DO IT
From the onset the founder’s desire was to create a highly socially responsible enterprise. This has been achieved by producing a first product that is:
- CREATING A NEW MARKET FOR ORGANIC TIMOTHY HAY BEYOND FEEDSTOCK – In doing so, we support the expansion of sustainable land-based enterprises and contribute to developing a stronger rural economy.
- 100% CHEMICAL FREE - TREBG is an organically grown product that contains no harmful chemicals found in petroleum based plastic products including BPA, PVC, melamine or phthalates;
- REDUCING PLASTIC POLLUTION – Greenpeace estimates that over 300 million tons of plastic a year is produced globally. Plastic creates toxic pollution at every stage of its existence, including manufacture, use and disposal. Very little is recycled and it is a material the Earth cannot digest. Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, including the small amount that has been incinerated and has become toxic particulate matter.
- 1% FOR THE PLANET – As a member, the company donates 1 percent of revenue to the Greensboro Land Trust. These funds are earmarked to support children focused projects that enhance and instill understanding and appreciation for the conservation of our working landscape.
HELP MAKE IT HAPPEN
The Vermont Hay Company has successfully demonstrated strong market interest in Tim’s Real Easter Basket Grass ©. The company has been able to achieve this success to date with seed and start-up investments from the founder and, critically, two technical assistance grants from the Northern Communities Investment Fund; one technical assistance grant from the Vermont Community Loan Foundation; and two technical assistance grants from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. A strong indicator of how the product has resonated, the company was awarded the very competitive Working Lands Enterprise Partnership Grant in 2015.
To increase income and realize future profits, the company is positioning to launch two new products to annualize the business. Branding, sales outreach, etc., has begun on Vermont Crafting Grass (™). However, the company cannot cover costs across all sectors to take the product to market. The second annual product is currently in the research and development phase at the University of Vermont (under a Non-Disclosure Agreement). At this time costs associated with the product are to support continuing research and development.
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