April 2022
Farm to Plate is Vermont’s food system plan being implemented statewide to increase economic development and jobs in the farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters.
Save the Date
F2P Network Wide Exchange
May 10, 3:00-4:30 pm via Zoom
Hear about the latest projects and initiatives happening across the Vermont food system and F2P Network including updates on the Food Security Plan, dairy-beef sire program development, federal and state policy updates and more. The Network Wide Exchange is also an opportunity to share and get the word out about key activities and priorities of your own organization, connect with others, and pose questions and elevate important issues to discuss with food system experts, state agency staff, and advocates from across the state. All Network members are welcome to attend, and if you’re not a member yet join here. An email to all Network members will be sent out with meeting details
Vermont Food System Plan Brief Highlight
Access to Capital
The Vermont food system plan issue brief on Access to Capital describes the need for Vermont to broaden the landscape of financing for farm and food businesses. Food system businesses need different kinds of capital depending on their stage of growth, scale of operation, and the markets into which they sell. Strengthening the state and regional food system is one of the most important paths for broad and sustainable wealth creation in rural communities, yet Vermont farm and food businesses are forced to rely on a more limited financing landscape than businesses in other sectors. Compounding existing capital needs for food business growth, current demographic shifts will require more farmland to be transferred to younger generations, and new farmers face significant barriers to purchasing land and finding financing for farm infrastructure. Systemic challenges to accessing capital include siloed capital providers and a traditional investing model that skews toward investor gains rather than more holistic partnerships where all stakeholder interests are considered. Critical to improving the financing landscape for food and agricultural businesses is building stronger ties across the capital continuum of capital providers, connecting the next generation of values-driven investors with opportunities to support farms, food producers, and food system businesses, through a variety of capital provider organizations, and developing programs that educate new investors.

Key Points:
  • Affordable land access is one of the biggest costs in starting and growing a farm business. VT Farmers don’t often have the equity or down payment needed to purchase land.
  • The varying levels of expertise of business assistance providers could lead to a mismatch between businesses and capital providers.
  • There is a lack of understanding of the sources of capital among food entrepreneurs.
  • Yankee Farm Credit and the Farm Service Agency partner on the USDA beginning farmer program which only requires a 5% down payment on real estate purchases.
  • Several education programs (VT Women’s Investor Network and Northern New England Women’s Investors Network) work to engage female investors in support of female entrepreneurs.
  • Impact investing, or investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact as well a financial return, are gaining traction amongst a wide range of investors.

Recommendations Include:
  • Providing $1.5 million in annual funds to the Working Lands Enterprise Fund.
  • Explore the creation of a public-private Agricultural Loan Loss Reserve Fund, for businesses that need financing but lack collateral.
  • Foster regional relationships across New England to bring in regional capital (Financial, social, human).
  • Revise the VT Training Program statute to enable funding for entrepreneurs to secure coaching and mentoring services.
  • Expand the focus of the state’s Local Investment Initiative to include investments that support a healthy food system.
  • Develop college loan forgiveness programs for aspiring farmers to make it easier for them to acquire land and start farms.
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund Offering Focused Business Coaching
VSJF is offering Focused Business Coaching for 9-12 month engagements to solve business development challenges, including access to the right match of capita in the following sectors: agriculture and food systems, forest products, waste management, renewable energy, and environmental technology.

Express your values and see around corners while building a stronger company, access new networks of professionals and capital, and navigate critical transition periods successfully with the help of our team of successful entrepreneurial coaches who have been in your shoes.

As part of a national initiative introduced by President Biden and Vice President Harris, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund is excited to partner with the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) as they begin to engage in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Pilot Program. Through the program, we will offer businesses owned by veterans, BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) and females, and rural businesses this coaching opportunity!
Learn How An Advisory Board Can Help You and Your Enterprise Thrive
Video Series
An advisory board can be a uniquely vital support to an entrepreneur. The Farm to Plate Financing Cross-Cutting Team collaborated with VSJF—as well as a subject-matter expert and three VT food and farm entrepreneurs who have gotten unique value from advisory boards—to produce this video series focused on the what, why, and how of advisory boards.
BIPOC Small Business Assessment Survey
The Vermont Professionals of Color Network and Main Street Alliance seek to further understand what is working well for small businesses and what gaps still exist. They seek to connect with Vermont’s BIPOC, women, veteran and rural owned businesses, and those who have yet to access resources from regional and state-based programming. By listening deeply and centering the small business voice, VT PoC and Main Street Alliance hope to influence transformative change in Vermont to make for a more equitable and accessible small business economy.

Farmworker Housing Repair Loan Program
Applications for the Vermont Farmworker Housing Repair Loan Program are due April 29, 2022. This program facilitated by Champlain Housing Trust in collaboration with University of Vermont Extension allows farmers to make up to $30,000 of essential repairs and necessary improvements to their farmworker housing. The goal of this program is to preserve this important affordable housing resource and to help improve the health and welfare of the farm workforce.
16th Annual Vermont Organics Recycling Summit (VORS)
May 2-6, 2022
The 2022 Summit will kick off on Monday May 2rd at 1pm (Eastern), with a State of the State of Organics, followed by the Keynote Speaker, Finian Makepeace from Kiss the Ground. Held in conjunction with International Compost Awareness Week, the summit will include a variety of virtual events (webinars, facilitated online discussion groups, etc.). This year, VORS will be celebrating the value of compost and organics recycling, and the many ways it supports regenerative agriculture, the health of the environment, the people and the economy. Session topics include on-farm composting, infrastructure, organics diversion, different technologies, inspiring the next generation, and more!
You Can Still Join! Register Today!
Food Solutions New England is hosting the 8th version of the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge April 4-24, 2022 and it isn't too late to join. Commit to deepening your understanding of, and willingness to confront, racism for twenty-one consecutive days in April of 2021.
Local Market Development Grant Opportunity
Application Deadline: May 10, 2022
This purpose of this grant is to increase access to local institutional and wholesale markets. Farms, food producers and supply chain facilitators are eligible to apply! The award ceiling was increased to $15,000 this year.
Interested in Joining a F2P Network Group?
If you haven't already, please take a few minutes to fill out our survey regarding you/your organization’s interest in participating in the new Farm to Plate Network groups – this will be extremely helpful as we convene new groups and transition from our current website to a new site in 2022.
Registration Now Open!
The conference will be held at the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain Hotel in downtown Burlington and online. Registration is available for one-day or all three days. Early registration rates are available through March 29, 2022, so act now! Read the recent press release here.

Apply for a Scholarship
Scholarships are available to help farmers, students, and others who may need help with registration fees and travel expenses to attend. Scholarship applications are being accepted on a rolling basis until the scholarship funding runs out. Apply early for the best chance of receiving funding! Click here to apply.
Interested in becoming Vermont Farm to Plate sponsor?
Farm to Plate Newsfeed
Food System Events and Workshops
Food System Jobs
Addison County Relocalization Network, (ACORN), Food Hub Manager
Bennington Community Market, General Manager
Black Dirt Farm, Compost Operator
Black Dirt Farm, Route Operator
Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center, Produce Processing Area Lead
Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center, Full Season Vegetable Production Lead
Center for an Agricultural Economy, Farm Product Delivery Driver
Farm and Wilderness Foundation, Farm Internship
Farmers to You, Customer Service Lead
Field Stone Farm, Veggie Production Team Member
Flack Family Farm, Farm Crew
Green Mountain Farm to School, Food Access and Logistics Coordinator
Green Mountain Farm to School, Americorps Farm to School Coordinator
Green Mountain Compost, Office Attendant
Groundworks Collaborative, Director of Foodworks
High Mowing Organic Seeds, Trials Farm Crew
Intervale Center, Events Staff
Intervale Center, Events Intern
Intervale Center, Communication Intern
Intervale Center, Volunteer Music Intern
Intervale Center, Nursery Planting Crew,
Intervale Center, Development Director
Intervale Center, Gleaning Coordinator
Montpelier Parks & Trees Department, Feast Farm Camp Coordinator
Understory Farm, Flower Farmer
V Smiley Preserves, Operations/Finance Manager
Vermont Community Garden Network, Garden and Nutrition Program Manager
Vermont Fresh Network, Vermont Open Farm Week Coordinator

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Vermont Food System News is published by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
3 Pitkin Court, Montpelier, VT 05602

Jake Claro, Farm to Plate Director
Kelly Dolan, Farm to Plate Network Manager
Kelly Nottermann, Communications Director
Beret Halverson, Program Coordinator
Becka Warren, Food Security Plan Project Manager
Ellen Kahler, Executive Director

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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, 3 Pitkin Court, Suite 301E, Montpelier, VT 05602