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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Update from F2P ~ January 2013

Update from Farm to Plate Network

Farm to Plate Annual Report

All over the state, local food sales – and opportunities to sell into larger regional markets – are growing and have sparked renewed hope in a bright future for our working landscape. Truly, it’s hard to communicate just how incredible a year 2012 has been for Vermont’s food system. The Farm to Plate Annual Report (PDF) shares all of these successes and more! 

keynoteConnecting Education with Employers Conference: A Farm to Plate Event

More than one hundred food system educators, state officials, students, and business people met on Tuesday, January 15, to discuss how to better prepare students for careers in the expanding farm and food sector of Vermont’s economy. They were reacting to a recent study commissioned by the VSJF and the Education and Workforce Development Working Group of the Farm to Plate Network, entitled Charting a Path: Food Sysem Workforce Needs Assessment (PDF). This study, conducted by researchers Holly Tippett and Wendy Meunier, asked, “What are the education and training needs of Vermont’s food system employers and is our education system aligned with these needs?” 

Vermont Food Atlas Update

VSJF is currently loading a ton of content to the beta version of the Vermont Food System Atlas website. Our programmers, Vermont Design Works, are furiously coding away on the remaining mapping and database portions of the website. Ellen Kahler shared the beta version of the Atlas with the Legislature last week - and they were VERY impressed. As we put the finishing touches on the Atlas, we’re still looking for content from Network organizations. If you have VIDEOS or STORIES that your organization would like to showcase on the homepage, please let us know. And if your organization would like to sponsor a page or pages within the Atlas, please contact us. We will be demonstrating the beta version at the upcoming 2013 Farm Show - stop by our table in the north building to see some of the Atlas in action! And stay tuned for the official launch of the Vermont Food System Atlas in March.

Food System Funding Opportunities

2013 Vermont Farm/Food Business Plan Competition

Strolling of the Heifers and Vermont Technical College have kicked off the 2013 Vermont Farm/Food Business Plan Competition, with a total of $60,000 in prizes in 3 categories: New Businesses, Existing Businesses and Student Entrepreneurs. This is now a statewide competition, intended to encourage innovation at farm and food enterprises, and is a great way for small farm and food businesses to launch or expand, to create new products and to enter new markets. All participants benefit from simply creating a business plan, and a number of past winners have made great progress in achieving their dreams. For more information and to begin the registration process, visit the website.

USDA Microloan Program

On January 15, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new microloan program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. The new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. The microloan program will also provide a less burdensome, more simplified application process in comparison to traditional farm loans. To learn more and begin the application process, contact your local Farm Service Agency Office.

Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Receives $9 million in Request for Funds

The Working Lands Enterprise Board solicited Letters of Intent (LOI) for two of three investment areas (Capital & Infrastructure, and Service Providers) and received 184 applications, for a total request of over $9 million, nine times the amount of funds available ($986,500). Due to this overwhelming response, the Working Lands Enterprise Board is unable to invite all LOI applicants to submit a full proposal and adjustments have been made to the LOI response timeline. All LOI applicants will be provided feedback from the Board in the near future. Applications for Enterprise Investments are due January 24, so we will soon learn what the total amount was requested across all three RFP solicitations. The just released Governor's recommended FY14 budget included $1.5million for the Working Lands Enterprise Fund.

Vermont Food System News

Center for an Agricultural Economy Announces New Executive Director

The Center for an Agricultural Economy’s Board has announced Sarah Waring of Montpelier as the incoming Executive Director for the CAE. “Sarah brings a wealth of strategic experience”, says Andy Kehler, Vice President of the CAE Board and co-owner of Cellars of Jasper Hill, “Our organization will reach new heights under her guidance and leadership”.  Over the last eight years, the Center for an Agricultural Economy has evolved from a young, start-up to an expanding and maturing organization with two major properties and growth in several program areas. Visit CFAE's blog for more information. 

Farm to Plate on!

Check out Rachel Carter’s recent article highlighting 15 restaurants offering farm to plate style cuisine in Vermont! Our state’s success in serving local specialties is in large part due to the excellent work of the Vermont Fresh Network – look for their logo at your favorite Vermont restaurants to be sure you are getting fresh, local food.

The Intervale Food Hub Expansion and Barn Raising!

Read all about it and watch the video here.

Doubling the Local Food Movement in Vermont

Vermont’s local food movement, and the Farm to Plate Network, is featured in Cornell University’s “Small Farms Quarterly.” See the full article online.

Video: The Story of Butchery Revival

A beautifully-made video appreciates the craft of butchery, combining an artistic approach and meaty subject. See it here.

Upcoming Food System Events

Building a Sustainable Business

January 30, from 1-4pm

Berlin, Middlebury, Morrisville, and White River Junction

Cost: $150 (early registration) or $175


The Building a Sustainable Business course guides participants through developing a business plan for farm businesses. For more information or to register, visit UVM’s website or contact Jessie Schmidt. Scholarships and financial aid are available to those who are eligible.

New Farmer Mixer

January 24, 2013 from 7:30 to 9:30pm

Cafe Terra, 67 Center Street, Rutland


Hosted by the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL), this mixer is open to aspiring and established farmers. This is a great opportunity for networking with other new farmers and people involved in agriculture in the area. It’s a potluck and BYOB event. For more information, see the NOFA VT events calendar.

Local Beef to Local Institutions

January 26, 2013 from 9:30am to 3pm

NH Audubon, McLane Center, 84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, NH


Participants will be part of a facilitated discussion on ways to break down barriers to get local beef into local schools and healthcare institutions. By the end of the day, participants will leave with a plan on how to accomplish this successfully. For more information, see the brochure (PDF).

Biomass to Biofuels – A Renewable Energy Program

Registration is now open; classes begin January 25, 2013

University of Vermont, Burlington


Experts in liquid and solid biofuels and biogas will provide hands-on instruction in various biofuels, along with an opportunity for service learning project in partnership with a community partner involved in biofuels production or research. The course will be taught by UVM faculty and experts from biomass/biofuels businesses (see a full list on the course website). All are welcome, including degree and non-degree seeking students, farmers, budding entrepreneurs, teachers (interested in developing curriculum or projects at school or college levels), engineers, and others. For syllabus-related questions, please contact the Lead Instructor Anju Dahiya. To register, call 800-639-3210 or (802) 656-2085 to make a phone or in-person appointment with a Continuing Education Adviser to discuss your options.

2013 Vermont Farm Show

January 29, 30 and 31, 2013

Champlain Valley Expo, Essex Junction

Cost: Free


This is Vermont’s premier farm show, with agricultural displays, farm product contest, annual meeting of commodity groups, farm machinery, and commercial farm exhibits. There is ample time for meeting and networking. The 2nd Annual Vermont Buy Local Market will be held as part of the Farm Show on January 30 from 4 to 7pm. For more information, stay tuned to the Farm Show website. And stop by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund’s booth in the north building to say ‘Hi!’

Slow Money Webinar: Castanea Foundation and Ayers Brook Goat Dairy: An Innovative Ag Investment Model

January 29, 2013 from 1pm EST

Cost: $25 per person


This webinar will cover the investment details of Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, a demonstration farm that is modeling best practices for goat dairy farmers and is catalyzing the industry. Three guests will discuss the agricultural investment model that is creating a demonstration goat dairy, securing a viable income stream for the farm, and pairing three non-profit partners in the pooling of capital to purchase farmland that includes funding for a farm easement to conserve prime farm soil as well as capital for the startup. Visit the webinar website for more information and to register.

UVM Extension New Farmer Programs: Managing Vegetable Transplants for Success

January 29, 2013 from 7pm

Part of a Webinar Series


Julie Rubaud, owner and operator of Red Wagon Plants, will share her knowledge and expertise in raising organic vegetable transplants for farms and commercial production. Julie will talk about her management strategies for growing healthy, disease free transplants organically, as well as variety selection and timing of transplant production. All you need to participate is internet access and a computer with sound. To participate, please go to at 6:45pm on January 29, 2013 and click on the webinar title. For more information, contact the New Farmer Program by email or call (802) 223-2389 x203. If you have not participated in a webinar before, you should download the necessary software for free the day before the webinar is scheduled.

Agronomy Plus Meetings

Jan. 31 from 10am to 3:30pm (Registration starts at 9:30am)

The NEW UVM Extension office located at 374 Emerson Falls Road, Suite 1, St. Johnsbury, Vt.


Topics at each location will include reducing feed costs, soybeans in Vermont, addressing rising feed costs with a high-forage diet, soil fertility, and animal health. Lunch is included at some locations. Find more information online (PDF) and register in advance. For directions or more information, call (802) 751-8307 or email.

Free Healthsource Classes - Winter Series

Throughout February, 2013

Community Health Improvement at Fletcher Allen is offering FREE educational programs this February on a variety of food related topics, including local food and sustainably harvested New England seafood. Learn more about the classes on the Fletcher Allen website

Soil and Nutrition Conference

February 1, 2013

First Churches, 29 Main Street, Northampton, MA


This conference aims to grow the movement for enhancing soil fertility as a basis for the long-term ecological and economic sustainability of farming, the environment, and society as a whole. The focus of this year’s conference is applying practical management strategies on the farm from principles of biological soil fertility. Get details here.

Jr. Iron Chef

February 2, 2013 from 9am to 3pm

Champlain Valley Exposition, 105 Pearl St., Essex Junction

Cost: $3-5


Jr. Iron Chef VT is a cooking competition for middle and high school students from all across Vermont that should not be missed. Teams of 3-5 students each have 90 minutes to create a dish using seasonal, local foods that is also delicious, nutritious, AND can be served in school cafeterias. Get more information online.

NOFA VT Winter Conference: Generations of Innovation

February 15 – 17, 2013

University of Vermont, Burlington


This conference will feature over 70 workshops, TED-inspired talks, intensive seminars, and celebration for commercial growers, gardeners, homesteaders, and eaters! Visit the conference website for more information.

Vermont Food System and Sustainable Energy Jobs

Agricultural Loan Officer, VT Agricultural Credit Corporation

VACC has an excellent opportunity for a motivated individual to join its agricultural lending staff. The loan officer will visit farm and agricultural facility applicants and borrowers throughout the state, analyze and prepare loan requests, service a diverse loan portfolio and perform annual financial analyses. Strong written and verbal skills, excellent customer service and computer literacy are required. Prefer previous agricultural lending experience, knowledge of agriculture (including the dairy industry) and a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field. Salary will be commensurate with experience and ability. VEDA has a competitive benefits package and is an equal opportunity employer. To apply for this position, please submit your resume and cover letter to or mail to:

Sarah Isham, Senior Agricultural Loan Officer

Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation

58 East State Street, Suite 5

Montpelier, VT 05602-3044

Food Hub Associate, Green Mountain Farm to School

Green Mountain Farm-to-School seeks a dynamic, mission-driven food systems professional with strong business and organization skills to support the growth of their organization. The primary responsibilities of the Food Hub Associate are to support and evaluate GMFTS’ regional food hub, Green Mountain Farm Direct (GMFD), as it grows to meet the increasing demand for local food distribution from farms to institutions in northern Vermont. Visit the GMFTS website for a complete job description. To apply submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample (non-fiction, 3 pages or less) to No phone calls please. Position open until filled.

Executive Director, Highfields Center for Composting

Highfields Center for Composting is looking for a financially savvy and experienced person to fill the role of Executive Director. Applications are encouraged as soon as possible. Visit the Highfields Center’s website for a full job description and application instructions


Support Windham Farm and Food on Three Revolutions!

Windham Farm and Food has launched a crowd-source funding campaign on Three Revolutions. See their video and make a pledge here.

Check Out Dig In VT’s Trails!

Headed out for a winter-time adventure, like to your favorite ski mountain or on a snowshoe trip? Make sure to find fun and healthy local eats to refuel while you’re out there. Dig In VT has just the tool to help – Trails! The Mad River Valley Trail, for example, is the perfect accompaniment to a full day of turns at Sugarbush Resort or Mad River Glen, with a list of all the great spots to get local cuisine. Check out the full selection of Trails on the Dig in VT website.

List Your Business in the 2013 Locally Grown Guide

With more than 35,000 copies to be printed and distributed in 2013, the Guide is an unmatched opportunity to get the word out about your business. Low-cost ads and listings make it possible for everyone to be a part of the Guide. Learn more and get started here.

book coverRebuilding the Foodshed

A New Book by Phillip Ackerman-Leist


Green Mountain College professor Philip Ackerman-Leist's new book, Rebuilding the Foodshed, is now available from Chelsea Green Publishing. "Showcasing some of the most promising, replicable models for growing, processing, and distributing sustainably grown food, this book points the reader toward the next stages of the food revolution."

Farm for Sale

Bristol, VT


The Vermont Land Trust (VLT) is seeking a buyer for the 349 Acre Farr farm on Route 116 in Bristol, Vermont. The farm is selling for the appraised conserved agricultural and forestry value of $190,000. VLT will have an open house at the farm on Saturday, February 9th from 10:00 - 2:00. If you cannot attend the open house but are interested in viewing the farm please contact Jon Ramsay by email or at (802) 533-7705.