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LAUNCHED: The Center for an Agricultural Economy and Vermont Food Venture Center

[Web Development, Community, UI/UX Design]
The Center for an Agricultural EconomyLast January we mentioned that we'd signed as a new client The Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE), along with their sister organization the Vermont Food Venture Center, for a fresh redesign and website development project. Today we're excited to announce that we recently launched the new site!

The Center for an Agricultural Economy

If this is the first you're hearing of the Hardwick, VT based 501(c)3 non-profit, here's a little background, from CAE's Mission Statement:
Our mission is to build a regenerative, locally based, healthy food system by engaging the greater Hardwick community through collaboration opportunities, educational outreach and providing infrastructure. Furthermore, CAE encourages the development of a local system that meets the needs and aspirations of the community and ensures economic and ecological stability and abundance. Through community involvement, integrated and responsible agri-business, and a commitment to economic, ecologic and nutritional health, the Center for an Agricultural Economy supports a vibrant regional food system.
Through innovation and entrepreneurship, The Center for an Agricultural Economy is leading the way as the Green Mountain State and nation attempt to remake their food systems. Based in the small Northeast Kingdom town of Hardwick, VT, CAE is surrounded by many growing businesses in the local, organic, natural, and whole foods industries.

Vermont Food Venture Center

Do you produce a local food product using local ingredients but don't know how to efficiently produce it in large quantities, store it and then get it on to store shelves? That's why the Vermont Food Venture Center was created! They've partnered with Vermont Small Business Development Center (also a client of ours!) to help small producers of local foods get their products to market. More from the VFVC:
We provide inspected kitchen spaces furnished with medium scale, semi-automated equipment alongside a broad range of technical and business services required to support start-up and expanding businesses.
  • Multi-use kitchens
  • Cold and dry storage facilities
  • Professional product and process development
  • Co-packing services
  • Business and production services
We are pleased to partner with the Vermont Small Business Development Center to provide you with assistance and training as you start and grow your enterprise.
Check out the VFVC's client list to see some of the local brands they've already worked with and then head over to the How it Works page to learn how to get started!

Web Design & Development for CAE

One of the primary objectives of this project was to come up professional design that still maintained a warm "local" feel, and just generally modernize their website. CAE and VSVC also have a lot of information to share and we needed to lay the site out in away that allows individual users to easily find the specific information most pertinent to them. Part of how we accomplished this goal was by using fixed navigation. Fixed navigation is essentially a main nav menu that stays at the top of your browser even as you scroll. Basically you see the navigation bar no matter how far you scroll down on any page you visit, and when you mouse over any of the primary navigation points, you see a fly-out with links to secondary pages. Check it out on the site and let us know what you think in the comments below. One of the planning challenges for Vermont Design Works was figuring out a way to combine both the CAE site and the VSVC site, without deemphasizing either site. The Center agreed to bring the VFVC under the umbrella of The Center and make it a primary section within the CAE site, rather than a separate site as it had previously been. We also added calls to action throughout the non VFVC pages to allow users to jump to the VFVC section easily, if they are so inclined. We also had to import posts from their two separate blogs on two different platforms into a single Wordpress blog on the new site. Head over to check out the new CAE site now and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We love the feedback!