August 2021
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.
Vermont Food System Plan Brief Highlight
Issue Briefs: Dairy & Cheese
Lindsay Harris, Family Cow Farmstand
The Vermont Food System Plan Issue Briefs on Dairy and Cheese describe how the small, localized nature of Vermont’s dairy sector is unique and well-positioned to be the leader in dairy innovation. Vermont’s dairy farmers are actors in a system that does not account for geographic, social, environmental, or consumer considerations of farming, and thus must compete with least-cost producers in other states where mega-dairies and lax environmental regulations are the norm. Vermont has an opportunity to be the national leader for innovative and responsive solutions to the current dairy crisis and future downturns, and new policies should clearly place the state out front in addressing climate and environmental concerns while sustaining small farms.

Key Points:
  • A viable future for Vermont dairy needs to be premised on a strategy that compensates for known challenges and leverages Vermont strengths.
  • New market research shows that cheese remains an economically viable option, particularly in the specialty marketplace into which most of Vermont’s small scale processors fit.
  • Small farms are exiting the commodity system by adding value to their own milk or producing milk for a specialty processor, such as milk produced without fermented feeds.
  • Existing goat cheese processor demand could support at least ten new goat dairy farms of 400+ goats (the viable threshold for farm size).

Read the briefs for details and recommendations:
The Elmore Store Looks to a Bright Future
Located across the street from The Elmore School—Vermont’s last one-room schoolhouse—the general store has been in operation since the early 1800s. Now there’s a grassroots effort to keep the store open for generations to come.
Root Words - Rutland's Local Food Podcast
Root Words is a collaboration between Vermont Farmers Food Center, Shrewsbury Agricultural Education & Arts Foundation, Shrewsbury Historical Society, WEXP, and many other community members. Root Words showcases stories of how food and agriculture connect us with our community and our landscape.
Farm to Plate Newsfeed
Food System Events and Workshops
August 20-22, Charlotte: Raw Milk Celebration Party!
August 21-22, Waitsfield: Meat Cutting: Butchering Basics
September 10 - November 12, Virtual: Vermont Master Composter Course
September 13-17, Randolph Center: Wetlands Delineation Training
September 13-24, South Burlington: Gas Metal Arc Welding: MIG Advanced

Virtual Events and Webinars are Welcome!
Food System Jobs
Vermont Fresh Network, Membership & Communications Manager
Vermont Releaf Collective, Bookkeeper
KidsGardening, Program Director
Black Dirt Farm, Route Operator
Farmers To You, Farm Pickup Driver
Does' Leap, Cheesemaker
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Part-Time Business Manager
Vermont Community Loan Fund, Senior Accountant
City Market, Onion River Cooperative, Assistant Front End Manager
Food Connects, Marketing Coordinator
Green Mountain Farm-to-School, Food Hub Account Manager
Food Connects, Farm to School Coach
New England Dairy Promotion Board, Farmer Relations Manager
Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), Clean Water Program Manager
LRSWMD, Site Attendant
Center for an Agricultural Economy, Farm Product Delivery Driver

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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
Sarah Danly, Farm to Plate Network Manager
Kelly Nottermann, Communications Director
Beret Halverson, Program Coordinator
Ellen Kahler, Executive Director

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