October 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.
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Registration Now Open
November 18 & 19, 2021 | Virtual
Join us for this important Network Gathering as we kick off implementation of the Vermont Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan 2021-2030!

The 2021 Farm to Plate Gathering will be hosted virtually on Thursday, November 18th from 9:30am-5:00pm and Friday, November 19th from 9:00am-1:00pm. This year we will explore inspiring efforts across the state that are bringing the 2021-2030 Strategic Plan to life, offer practical trainings and topic deep dives to help your organization, farm, or food business, unveil the next iteration of the Farm to Plate Network and how we can work collectively to implement strategic priorities over the next decade, and mix in a good dose of food trivia and fun. 

More information on full agenda and speakers will be posted here – check back regularly for updates. Links to sessions will be sent to you prior to the Gathering via email. There is a flat fee of $45 to register for the Gathering regardless of number of sessions/days attended.

We’re offering to cover the registration fee for farmers and farm workers, small food business owners and employees, BIPOC, and students who need assistance with registration costs. Please click here to apply for a scholarship to cover the registration fee, and encourage those in your own networks to apply as well! If you are applying for a scholarship, please do not register until you hear from our Farm to Plate Staff. 
Vermont Food System Plan Brief Highlight
Issue Brief: TBD
The Vermont Food System Plan Product Brief on Meat Slaughter, Processing and Products describes how addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the meat slaughter and processing industries are critical for Vermont’s livestock and poultry producers to meet the current consumer demand in local and regional markets. Most slaughter facilities in Vermont currently focus on beef and pork due to better profit margins and higher demand, however the goat and sheep dairy industries have been expanding since 2005 and thus there is an increased need to expand facilities to process small ruminants. Additionally, meat processing facilities in Vermont primarily focus on processing their own products, and in general few exist that process value-added meat products.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed various national meat supply chain weaknesses, while at the same time increased consumer demand for locally raised meat. Vermont slaughter and processing facilities are currently operating at full capacity and have challenges with workforce training and development, impeding growth opportunities that have emerged during the pandemic. Also, consumer interest in humanely raised and marketed products is an opportunity, but the claims must be traceable from the farm to the package to obtain certified labels, which requires thorough documentation at times lacking from producers.

Key Points:
  • There is rising consumer interest in locally produced meat, and in cured, uncured, cooked, dry or semi dry sausages
  • Seasonality, the expense of providing health insurance, and an inconsistent quantity of livestock all impact the business viability of slaughter plants.
  • There is an opportunity to expand Vermont slaughter operations to include small ruminates and Islamic Halal inspections in order to increase workload consistency, access to niche local and regional niche markets, and full-time employees.
  • With increased education and outreach on regulatory requirements, small farmers can better utilize on-farm slaughter exemptions to address capacity constraints.
  • Inspected incubator kitchens can provide producers looking to sell value-added products with opportunities to test products and expand sales and market reach.

Recommendations from the brief include:
  • Establishing a UVM Extension position to educate meat producers on all aspects of the inspection system requirements, and help inspection operations understand third-party audits for facilities, quality control, and animal control. 
  • Creating a subsidized food safety course for operators, staff, and prospective entrepreneurs. Developing an interactive business directory for slaughter and processing in Vermont.
  • Developing clear guidelines for slaughter and processing facility wastewater disposal and composting, as well as funding for the construction of such systems.
  • Supporting the growth of agriculture development programs that expand Vermont products into the national marketplace though the development of two state level positions to support this work.
To find out more about the particulars of what each livestock industry needs beyond just slaughter and processing check out the following briefs:
Danone/Horizon Dairy Task Force Work Begins
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture published a webpage dedicated to the latest information on the task force efforts to assist 28 Vermont organic dairies find a way forward from the shut down of Horizon in the northeast next year.
Working Lands Enterprise Board Releases Request for Applications
Deadline to Apply: November 1

The requests for applications for three more funding opportunities through the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Program have been released. These programs are designed to support Vermont-based working lands businesses, slaughter and processing operations and producer associations. Projects eligible under these programs include infrastructure, marketing, meat processing, and professional development. Depending on the grant, awards range from $10,000 - $100,000.
New USDA Relief Grants Available
Deadline to Apply: November 8

USDA's Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program provides grants to food processors, distributors, farmers markets, and producers impacted by COVID-19. Grants will cover eligible costs incurred between January 27, 2020, and December 31, 2021. The minimum award is $1,500 and the maximum award is $20,000. Eligible entities include small businesses and 501c(3) non-profits. No cost sharing or matching funds are required.
New Producer Loans Available
The Vermont Farm Fund's New Producer Loans are exclusively for farm and food-related businesses registered and located in Vermont that either produce or source ingredients for their value added food processing from local farms/producers (defined as Vermont plus 30 miles).
Resistance & Healing Amidst Crisis & Injustice

These past 13 months have challenged us in ways many couldn’t have imagined with multiple, intersecting crises that have laid bare and deepened the injustices BIPOC and frontline communities have always dealt with and provided ominous warning for climate change and other catastrophes that lay ahead. In this time of significant uncertainty mixed with tentative hope, we believe that the work of creating a sustainable, equitable and just farm and food system for all means that we must listen to the entire story. We need to hear the struggles, particularly the least visible ones, how we rise to meet them, and most importantly, what we can learn from all of it.
Share the Harvest
Support NOFA-VT’s Farm Share Program while shopping at your favorite food businesses!

The Farm Share Program provides low-income Vermonters with half-priced CSA shares. CSAs give eaters regular, reliable access to high-quality produce and directly support local farmers. With your support, this crucial program helps hundreds of individuals and families each year access CSAs while supporting the viability of local farms.

When you eat out or shop at participating businesses throughout October, the businesses will make a donation to the Farm Share Program.
Survey Alert: Your Input is Needed
UVM is conducting a research study to understand the perspectives of food retailers and foodservice providers in Vermont regarding state laws on the disposal of food waste and the use of single-use products (e.g., plastic bags, paper bags, plastic straws), and the types of changes they made, if any, to adhere with these laws. The findings will be shared with policymakers and other key stakeholders working on policy related to food waste disposal and single-use products. Participants will complete a 10-15 minute survey and have a chance to win one of eight $99 gift cards. Must be 18+ and work for or own a food retail or food service business in VT.

Questions? Contact emily.belarmino@uvm.edu.
New Relocation Incentives Launched
The New Relocating Worker Grant is now open and accepting applications. This grant is open to new Vermonters who relocated after July 1, 2021, and have accepted a full-time position with a Vermont employer in certain occupations. These new grants build upon Vermont’s previous relocation incentives and offer reimbursement for eligible expenses — such as closing costs, first month of rent and moving supplies — up to $7,500.

Questions? Contact emily.belarmino@uvm.edu.
Farm to Plate Newsfeed
Food System Events and Workshops
Food System Jobs
Green Mountain Farm-to-School, Farm to School Program Manager
Center for an Agricultural Economy, Farm Connex Delivery Service General Manager
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), Farm Production Coordinator
Vermont Compost Company, Sales Associate
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), Food and Farm Program Coordinator
Pumpkin Village Foods, Delivery Driver / Syrup packer
Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC, Certification Specialist
Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School, Legal Food Hub Fellow
Pumpkin Village Foods, Delivery Driver
Littleton Food Co-op, Culinary professionals wanted!
Skinny Pancake, General Manager
Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Positions Available

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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
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