The Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese (VIAC) has been in operation since 2004. As an outgrowth of the Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship, VIAC has fulfilled a need to support Vermont`s rapidly growing artisan cheese industry, which has nearly doubled in size since 2004.
In the past VIAC and cheese research was partially supported with a federal earmark grant that allowed CALS to hire research faculty and staff who also participated in training workshops. The need for these workshops has decreased over the years, and as the number of artisan cheesemakers and their cheese making expertise have grown and matured in Vermont, so has the need to shift the mission of VIAC.
Starting May 2013, the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese will change its focus to provide technical consulting services to cheese makers in Vermont and New England. Workshops will be offered as needed but in the future VIAC faculty and staff will focus on current issues facing the artisan cheese industry such as food safety, state and federal regulations, and cheese quality.
In addition to its public education courses, the Institute works closely with the media to increase public understanding of and appreciation for artisan cheese, for the Institute`s work, and for the small farm culture essential to artisan cheese. Goodman Media International acts to ensure that both the media and the public are aware of the breadth of services that the Institute has to offer. By promoting the Institute`s research, technical services, classes, and other programs, Goodman Media helps to increase the knowledge, appreciation, and expansion of artisan cheese nationwide.
A recent video entitled `Cheese and Microbes` showcases some aspects of the Institute: