Accelerating the Development of Vermont's Green Economy

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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Update from F2P ~ March 2012

Farm to Plate Network - Projects for 2012

Members of the Farm to Plate Network have been meeting regularly in working groups to identify high impact projects which could be worked on collaboratively. There are some exciting projects just beginning to get underway. A sampling of 2012 Farm to Plate Network projects includes:

  • The Dairy Development Working Group is planning a dairy industry summit for the Fall 2012. They are also focusing on what is needed to double the number of dairy farms with farm management teams over the next 18 months.
  • The Education and Workforce Development Working Group will be hiring a consultant to conduct a food system workforce needs assessment (i.e., what are the workforce needs of Vermont’s farm and food system businesses and is the state’s current educational system educating and training young people to enter jobs and careers in the food system?). The group will also assist Vermont Technical College in planning a food system education and workforce development summit for early 2013.
  • The Technical Assistance for Producers and Processors Working Group is working on a variety of projects. Its Meat Processing Task Force recently worked with a consultant to conduct a study on the financial viability of the meat processing businesses, and provided recommendations to strengthen the industry. The Working Group also plans to focus on strengthening producer and processor associations and developing a comprehensive soil monitoring program.
  • The Aggregation and Distribution Working Group will be working with distributors and institutions to develop better local food tracking systems.
  • The Farmland Access & Land Use Working Group decided to spend a couple of meetings deeply learning with each other about their individual organizations’ work.  This group is made up of land use planners, farm land access providers, capital providers, and land conservationists. Each group has expertise that will aid the other groups – once they decide which high impact projects to focus on.
  • The Consumer Education & Marketing Working Group will determine what research is needed to better understand consumer behavior and market segments. The group will also work on developing shared stories and messaging to encourage values-based decision making by consumer. This information will be used to develop a toolbox for organizations and businesses that contains consumer education, marketing, and branding resources.

For more information, or to join a F2P Network working group, please contact


F2P Strategic Plan: Dairy Production

Appendix B: Dairy

VSJF recently released the condensed chapter on dairy production and started to hit the airwaves to talk about the challenges and opportunities for Vermont's dairy industry. Visit our website to download Chapter 3.3 Food Production: Dairy, or more information can be found in the full Appendix B: Revitalizing Vermont's Dairy Industry.

Last week, Ellen Kahler was on VPR's Vermont Edition to talk about “Dairy's Value-Added Future.” The conversation, listener questions, and online comments have been lively and we welcome your continued comments and questions. As with the all sections of the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan, we want to keep updating and refining the information, so your input is valuable!

Vermont Considers Driver's Licenses for Migrant Workers

The Vermont Senate is currently reviewing S-238, a bill that would require a study of the impact of drivers' licenses or non-driver ID cards for migrant workers in Vermont. During hearings with the Senate Agricultural Committee, many have spoken in favor of the legislation, including the VT State Police on the importance of Vermont community members having access to ID in order to identify themselves and be identified when needed. Listen to this week's Vermont Edition on the topic or read more about the economic impact of migrant workers to Vermont's dairy industry in Appendix B of the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan.

For more info, visit Migrant Justice


Help Us Maintain Accurate Data in the Future

Census of Agriculture is Coming!

The National Agricultural Classification Survey (NACS) for the Census of Agriculture is beginning to arrive in mailboxes around the nation. Conducted every five years, the Census of Agriculture is instrumental to the accuracy of the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan and will help us track progress on F2P goals.

The NACS asks landowners whether or not they are farming and is one of the most important early steps used to determine who should receive a 2012 Census of Agriculture report form. For more information about NACS, the Census of Agriculture, or to add your name to the Census mailing list, click HERE.

We encourage you to remind other organizations, farmers, and food system stakeholders that these surveys are very important and need to be filled out!

Local Food Institutional Demand and Infrastructure Surveys

NOFA-VT and VT-FEED are conducting surveys to identify the location of key local food infrastructure such as commercial and on-farm storage facilities, community kitchens, and aggregation points throughout Vermont (and within 30 miles of the border) as well as attempting to quantify institutional demand for local foods (including volumes, price points, and form factors). The goal is to gauge the demand for local foods in institutional markets, as well as better understand where local food aggregation, storage, processing, and distribution is happening across the state. While we would like to know about all local foods, the focus of these surveys are exclusively fruits, vegetables, and eggs.  We need your help to gather this information.

  • If you are an institution and have not yet completed NOFA’s institutional local foods demand survey, please visit this link to do so by the end of March:
  • If you are involved in aggregation, storage, processing, and/or distribution, please visit this link to fill out our infrastructure survey:

Please try to be as accurate as possible, and thank you in advance. For more info: OR | (802) 434-4122.


New Web Portal to Support America's Future Farming Generations

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA's National Agricultural Library, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, announced, a new online portal that helps to provide assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers. The portal includes links to training, financing, technical assistance and other support services specifically for beginning farmers and ranchers as well as successful case studies about new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

For more info:


Food System Funding Opportunities

In 2012, the Food Family Farming Foundation and Walmart Foundation are offering equipment grants to rural high schools for the purpose of implementing universal breakfast in the classroom programs. Grant awardees will be able to order $2,500 worth of food service smallwares or equipment for establishing universal breakfast programs via an online order with their partner Tundra Specialties. As part of the grant program, Food Family Farming will create universal breakfast implementation resources to be available to all schools via their program, The Lunch Box.

To apply, please visit, Food Family Farming Grants. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2012.


Vermont's Local Banquet Publishes 20th Issue

For those that may not know, Carrie Abels from Vermont's Local Banquet wrote many of the vignettes in the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. We thanks Carrie for her thoughtful prose and happily encourage you to make sure you're connected to this wonderful magazine about Vermont's food system.


Upcoming Events

11th Annual Maple Open House Weekend

Vermont Maple Syrup Producers welcome visitors at sugarhouses all over Vermont on March 24 and 25, 2012

The Open House Weekend is a celebration of the maple syrup season and an opportunity for the public to visit one or more “sugarhouses” throughout the state to learn about Vermont’s first agricultural crop of the year. Activities during this free event may vary at each sugarhouse. You will have the opportunity to watch maple syrup being made (weather permitting) and to sample pure Vermont maple syrup and other maple products. For more info: Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association  

2012 VT Energy Consortium Expo: Charting a Path to Successful Farms and Clean Water in Vermont

Monday, March 26 from 8:30AM to 5:00PM
McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Middlebury College, Middlebury

In partnership with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Vermont Environmental Consortium (VEC) will hold a conference to discuss the public policy tools that have and will yield results addressing agricultural water pollution in Lake Champlain. The goals of the conference are to:

  • Bridge the growing divide between conservation proponents and agricultural producers in the Lake Champlain basin on the best approach for realizing shared water quality goals; and
  • Develop a framework for a cooperative vision to address the challenges currently facing Lake Champlain.

For more info:  Vermont Environmental Consortium

ACoRN's Annual Meeting

Monday, March 26 from 7PM to 8PM
Addison County Regional Planning Commission Conference Room, Middlebury

Join ACORN to learn more about  current programs, including the Tour de Farms, the Addison County Guide to Local Food and Farms, the Stone Soup Summit, the ACORN Wholesale Collaborative online platform, the Green Expo, and the Financing the Working Landscape conference. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Golden-Pidgeon.

6th Annual Vermont Organics Recycling Summit: Soil & Water: The Compost Connection

Thursday, March 29 from 9AM to 4PM
Vermont Technical College, Randolph Center

The Composting Association of Vermont and Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will host the 6th Annual Vermont Organics Recycling Summit (VORS) at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, Vermont on Thursday, March 29th, 2012. The theme for this year’s Summit is “Soil & Water: The Compost Connection.” The Summit is a one day event and hosts six workshops, equipment demonstration and exhibitors. If you are a compost facility manager, researcher, engineer, consultant, contractor, landscaper, community leader, regulator, recycling specialist, policy maker, or educator with an interest in organics diversion, water quality, and soil health issues, please join attend for a day of networking and learning. Click HERE to register online.

Youth Farm Safety Spring and Summer Mini-Camps

  • April 13/14 - Reading, Vermont
  • May 12/13 – Derby, Vermont
  • June 27 – 29 - University of Vermont
  • August 3/4 – Vermont Technical College

UVM Extension is offering mini-camps for youth ages 12-15 on tractor safety, ATV, livestock, woodlot, farm first aid and more. Scholarships are available. For more info: | (802) 656-2034

Vermont Foodbank's 2012 Hunger Conference: Impact Through Innovation

Tuesday, May 8 from 7:30AM to 4:30PM
Sheraton Conference Center, Burlington

This annual conference is one of New England’s best resources for information on the charitable food system and the issue of hunger. Attend the conference to better understand hunger, poverty and the charitable food system in Vermont; develop pro-active strategies to better affect social change; gain insight that will powerfully impact your work; and share best practices with your peers. For more info: Vermont Foodbank

Vermont Cheese Council's Cheese and Dairy Celebration

Saturday, May 26 – Sunday, May 27 from 10AM to 5PM
Billings Farm and Museum, Woodstock

Celebrate Vermont's distinctive dairy heritage during a weekend of sampling delicious Vermont cheeses and meeting local cheese makers; dairy education programs, making cheese, ice cream and butter. For more info: Billings Farm and Museum

The Necessary (r)Evolution for Sustainable Food Systems Conference

Thursday, June 28 from 1PM-6:30PM
Reception following the event with light snacks/appetizers at Center, UVM, Burlington

UVM will bring together influential and innovative voices from the sustainable food movement for this day of inspiration and call to action. The goal is to connect people across disciplines around the urgent issue of our broken food system and inspire people to take their place in the necessary revolution. Influential thinkers and positive change makers will exchange their best ideas to inspire, focus, and strengthen individual and collective action for a sustainable food system. Speakers will take the stage to give a 10-15 minute talk (TEDx Manhattan style). There will be two breaks during the talks and a reception at the end which are all great times to connect with fellow attendees and the speakers. Free and open to the public, but registration is required.  For more info: Food Systems Spire of Excellence

Vermont Cheese Council's Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

Sunday, July 22 from 11AM to 4PM
Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms, Shelburne

Enjoy over 100 Vermont cheeses along with artisan breads, crackers, pickles, and jams as well as beer, wine and spirits produced in Vermont! For more info: Vermont Cheese Festival 

6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

Thursday, August 2nd from 8AM to 12PM Noon on Sunday, August 5th
Davis Center, UVM, Burlington

This important conference will bring together food service professionals, farmers, educators, policy makers, representatives from government agencies and nonprofits, entrepreneurs, students and others who are breaking down barriers and expanding the impact of Farm to Cafeteria.

There will be skill-building short-courses, field trips to innovative Vermont farms and institutions, a diverse workshop program, and plenty of opportunities to network with inspiring individuals from across the country. For more info: Farm to Cafeteria


Job Announcements

Green Mountain Farm to School – Nutrition and Agriculture Educator

Green Mountain Farm-to-School seeks a dynamic, mission-driven educator with strong communication and strategic organizing skills to join their efforts to promote the health of Vermont’s children, farms, and communities. The primary responsibilities of the Nutrition and Agriculture Educator will be to develop, manage, grow, present, and evaluate GMFTS’ educational programs and provide general operational and administrative support. This position will join our Education Team as GMFTS grows to serve 25 schools in northern Vermont in 2012.

For more info: Green Mountain Farm to School


Food System Short Videos

Watch the Short Video of Mad River Food Hubs Official Opening! Click HERE.

Watch the Short Video about U.S. Dairy Farmers Care – Merck Animal Health. Click HERE.