May 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
Product Brief: COMPOST
The Vermont Food System Plan Issue Brief on Compost describes the condition of Vermont's compost industry and the recommendations for improvement. While progress is being made in diverting food scraps from the landfill, most Vermont composting operations have the potential to increase the volume they handle, but are competing against other diversion methods with less benefit to agricultural producers and/or the environment.

Key points from the brief:
  • Regardless of business model, compost operations face challenges both as service providers (i.e., collecting food scraps) and as producers of finished compost products.
  • Despite education efforts, many Vermont residents remain confused about source separation, resulting in significant contamination of food scraps with non-compostables (e.g., PLU stickers). 
  • Markets for finished compost have not kept pace with the increasing production volume.
  • Increased compost use builds soil health, protects water quality, and increases soil’s ability to sequester carbon and suppress plant diseases.

While there are bottlenecks and gaps around contamination, regulation, consumer understanding and funding, there are opportunities to achieve an organics management system that mitigates waste and creates and distributes resources from organic materials. Composting creates jobs and new businesses, diversifies the rural economic base, and provides a mechanism to pursue other goals within the farm and food sectors. Read the brief for details and recommendations.
Using the New Food System Strategic Plan
Webinar for Communities
Join us to dive into the Farm to Plate Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan 2021-2030. After this workshop, you will understand how Plan relates to your community or professional work, and how you and your community can use it to advance that work. The Plan can help you with background research, strategic decisions, grant applications, and building impactful relationships across Vermont. The Plan was created with input from hundreds of food system businesses, organizations, and individuals, and provides a roadmap for collective action to strengthen our agricultural economy, increase environmental sustainability of our farm and food sector, and expand access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. The workshop is open to all but designed especially for local community food and farm advocates. Choose the workshop time that works for your schedule! We can’t wait to share the Plan with you.
Composting Association of Vermont Launches the Statewide Food Scrap Art Challenge!
Everyone eats – and everyone generates food scraps. With efforts to “close the loop” by composting these important organic materials to return the nutrients to our food system, we are learning to appreciate them as the valuable resource they are. Check out the new Food Scrap Art Statewide Challenge for Senior Citizens and Young People to flex your creativity and have some fun with your food! The Composting Association of Vermont will be sharing photo submissions on their website and through social media; all submissions will be showcased during the 2022 Vermont Organics Recycling Summit, and submissions received by November 2021 will be considered for the 2022 Food Scrap Calendar.
Grow Compost Grows a Business
From homestead to statewide, Lisa Ransom and Scott Baughman close the loop for Vermont’s food systems.

“How can we live in Vermont and not be able to find compost?” That question, posed by Lisa Ransom around the dinner table one evening in 2008 was, in hindsight, the start of Grow Compost. Lisa and her husband, Scott Baughman, had purchased 38 acres in Moretown, Vermont intending to start a small homestead farm, but found the soil was lacking in important nutrients they needed to grow the fruits and vegetables they imagined.

“At the same time,” said Ransom, “we could see that everything we needed to amend the soil was within a 20-mile radius of our home.” There was a dairy farm, a lumber mill, and a handful of restaurants and grocery stores generating food scraps, yet there was no mechanism for collecting those nutrient-rich leftovers and returning them to the soil.

“We needed good compost,” said Ransom, “and we also wanted to model for our children how to use and reuse the resources around them. We had the land, the passion, and the skills—and the resources were all around us.”
Save the Date & Register Now
Friday, Open Farm Week - August 8-15, 2021
Do you have a project idea that will help Vermont?

Senator Sanders invites you to submit your ideas for projects that could be funded through the congressional appropriations process.

If you would like your project to be considered for federal funding, fill out Senator Sanders' appropriations request form here:
Nominations Open
2021 Con Hogan Community Leadership Award
The Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial, Community Leadership recognizes Con and his life’s work by encouraging and rewarding leaders who:
  • Share his vision of a Vermont that places the highest value on the public good.
  • Seize the responsibility for making the vision real by:
  • Focusing on results,
  • using data and measurement to mobilize action,
  • working with people across diverse perspectives,
  • taking risks in pursuit of a vision, and
  • persisting through setbacks.
  • Mentor emerging leaders, formally and informally.
Big E Vendor Applications Now Open
Deadline to Apply: June 15, 2021
May 12, 2021 Was #Farm24VT DAY!
#Farm24VT was a day-long social media celebration of agriculture, food, and dairy in Vermont.

On May 12, farmers, agribusinesses, and others in the agriculture sector shared photos, videos, and stories, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how your favorite local foods get to your table. It takes a lot of passion, commitment, and hard work. Farmers and their partners loved sharing how they love and care for the land, animals, and communities.
Farm to Plate Newsfeed
Food System Events and Workshops
Food System Jobs
Hunger Free Vermont, Food Security Advocacy Manager
Vermont Foodbank, AmeriCorps VISTA Positions
Center for an Agricultural Economy, Local Food Production Manager
Green Mountain Farm-to-School, AmeriCorps Farm-to-School Coordinator
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Newport Crew Leader
Caledonia Spirits, Spirited Apprentice
Vermont Compost Company, Fulfillment and Operations Team Member
Vermont Community Loan Fund, Investment & Grant Manager
Sterling College, Assistant Dean of Student Life
Champlain Islands Farmers' Market, Farmers' Market Manager
Skinny Pancake, Kitchen Manager
Vermont Compost Company, Food Residuals Program Manager

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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
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