May 2020
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.
The 10th Annual Gathering - Virtual for 2020
Due to ongoing concerns and uncertainty created by COVID-19, and the desire to protect the health of participants during the fall flu season, the Farm to Plate Team will be re-imagining the 10th Annual Farm to Plate Network Gathering as a virtual conference this year. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information regarding dates, keynote speakers and panelists.
In a Food Shortage, Could Vermont Feed the Whole State?
“Do we really want to go back to the way it was? Or do we want to take this opportunity to think about something different, and envision a new path forward that is much more about regional production for regional consumption?” -Ellen Kahler, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund Executive Director
Farm to Plate COVID-19 Response Task Force
The Farm to Plate Network's COVID-19 Response Task Force brings together representatives across the food system for bi-weekly calls to inform one another on how organizations are responding on the ground and needs they may have, to identify areas for greater coordination/collaboration, to stay out in front of state and national policy and supply-chain developments, and to discuss what needs to be communicated from a food system perspective to the general public as well as the farm and food community. Watch recent task force calls (posted within 1-2 days of each meeting). For those interested in receiving more information about the calls and task force, contact jake@vsjf.org.
UVM Food Survey Results: Food Insecurity for Vermonters Has Risen 33% During COVID-19
“Our data suggests that the growth of food insecurity is related to job layoffs and other employment disruptions. People who had lost their jobs or had their work disrupted were far more likely to be food insecure compared with those who remained employed.” - Meredith Niles, assistant professor in UVM’s Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, fellow in the Gund Institute for Environment, and the principal investigator on the study
The survey has a margin of error of 2%. A total of 3,251 Vermonters responded from March 29 - April 12, 2020. The survey was developed in collaboration with researchers at Johns Hopkins University and fielded by the University of Vermont team. The research team intends to conduct the survey in other states and nationally, and to conduct additional future surveys in Vermont to assess changes in the situation.
Abenaki Land Link Project
The Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk - Abenaki Nation has partnered with Rooted in Vermont and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) to provide indigenous seeds to over a dozen gardeners, homesteaders, and farmers around Vermont who have dedicated land to grow and harvest food for Abenaki citizens this season. All of the seeds have been graciously provided by the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk - Abenaki Nation and cannot be used for any other purpose outside of the project.

During this pilot year, participants will be growing Koasek/Calais mix and Calais flint corn, true cranberry, skunk, Vermont Mohawk beans, and Algonquin squash. The crops will be grown across Vermont from home garden plots in Bethel to a large plot at the Farm at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) in Richmond.

While participation for this year is full, anyone who wants to support these efforts can donate to the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk - Abenaki Nation by following this link, scrolling to the bottom of the page, and making a note about the project in their donation.

For more information, contact Shane Rogers, Farm to Plate communications manager, at shane@vsjf.org and Livy Bulger, education and engagement manager, NOFA-VT at livy@nofavt.org.
Farm to Plate Network Community Food Access Consulting Available
Over the past few years, the Farm to Plate Network Local Food Access Planning Task Force has brought together a wide variety of expertise on how communities and municipalities can work to increase food access and recently released Local Planning for Food Access: A Toolkit for Vermont’s Communities. In this guide we identify and discuss a wide variety of food access strategies, potential partners and allies, and case studies from around the state. We’ve also collected dozens of other decision-making guides and resources for the implementation of specific types of projects, available in the Appendix.

We’re so impressed with the number of communities who are thinking about food access, for the long term as well as filling urgent needs, in this current pandemic. While we hope our Toolkit will be useful, we also want to be able to help even more communities, more rapidly. So, our project team is making ourselves available for one-on-one consultations with communities who are starting to think through a food access project – whether that’s starting a community garden or farm, helping your food shelf connect with local producers, supporting home food production, or any other innovative strategies you’re thinking of. Or if you want to start developing a long-term food resilience plan!

In these consultations we can help you think through some of the steps you’ll need to take and decisions you’ll need to make, and direct you to additional experts, resources, and potential funding sources. This is quick, informal, and flexible to your needs – just send Sarah ( sarah@vsjf.org) and Emily ( emily@vsjf.org) an email with brief description of the kind of project you’re considering, or even if you’re weighing several options. We’ll see who else from our team of experts is relevant to join the preliminary call and we’ll schedule a time with you ASAP.

We’re also going to be collecting and profiling success stories to share back out with other communities, so if you don’t need help but want to share what you’re doing, we would love to hear from you as well. We’re really looking forward to hearing all the wonderful work happening in communities around the state, and to helping in any way we’re able.

Sarah Danly, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund / Vermont Farm to Plate Network; Alissa Matthews, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; Faye Mack, Hunger Free Vermont
Vermonters, Nature & COVID-19: A UVM Survey
Does experiencing nature figure into your life right now? If so, how? Complete a brief research survey for a chance to win $50, and to help inform decisions that account for the role nature may have during events like COVID-19. Must be 18+ to participate.
Save the Date: Workshop Moved to 2021
In response to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, the International Workshop on Agritourism scheduled to be held in Burlington, VT will now take place August 31-September 2, 2021.

Between now and the 2021 conference, organizers will present virtual events about agritourism research, outreach and best practices. Upcoming topics will include coping and adapting to the evolving COVID-19 situation, a critical issue for farms, food systems, and rural communities. Participants will examine the impact of COVID-19 on local food sales and farm viability, and the resilience and creativity of farms and rural communities in a time of crisis. Stories of resilience and recovery from around the world may provide inspiration and valuable lessons, and help to build an international network. Organizers are searching for innovative initiatives to profile.

Click for more information about the conference. If you would like to help with the virtual events, contact Lisa Chase at Lisa.Chase@uvm.edu or 802-257-7967.
Farm to Plate Newsfeed
Food System Events and Workshops
Food System Jobs
Yankee Farm Credit, Loan Officer
Maple Wind Farm, Poultry Processing Crew
Rural Vermont, Operations Director
Green Mountain Farm-to-School, AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator
Morrisville Co-op, General Manager
Flack Family Farm, Farm Crew
Sterling College, Director of Media Relations
Center for an Agricultural Economy, Staff Accountant
Montpelier Parks & Trees Department, Farm and Forest Community Coordinator - VHCB AmeriCorps
Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center, Full Season Farm Production Crew

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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
Shane Rogers , Farm to Plate Communications Manager
Lydia Pitkin , Office Manager & Program Coordinator
Kelly Nottermann , Communications Director
Ellen Kahler , Executive Director

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