Vermont's Farm to Plate  food system plan (2011-2020) is being implemented statewide by the 350+ member organizations of the  Farm to Plate Network to increase economic development and jobs in the farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters.
Network Project Focus: This month we take a look at how the Network is addressing ways to Protect and Expand Affordable and Environmentally Sustainable Farmland in Agricultural Production

Ag-Enterprise Legislation on the Cusp of Passage

H.663: An act relating to municipal land use regulation of accessory on-farm businesses and to hemp cultivation is on the verge of being passed by the Vermont Legislature- read the latest version of the bill here (for those curious about the inclusion of hemp, due to the idiosyncratic nature of the legislative process, amendments to harmonize Vermont's hemp laws with federal laws were added to the bill at the proverbial eleventh hour). Accessory on-farm businesses include farm cafes, shared processing, farm dinners, events and on-farm educational activities, and farm stays. These business activities often fall into a regulatory grey area that can create uncertainty for farmers, community members, and municipal officials. The bill creates consistency and clarity across the entire state by requiring that no municipal land use bylaw have the effect of prohibiting an accessory on-farm business at the same location as a farm regulated under the Required Agricultural Practices (RAP rules).
A group of Farm to Plate Network members representing both farmers and planners have played a significant role in helping to craft the bill, working over the fall and winter to find consensus on key provisions that satisfy both farmers' and municipal planners' needs. The group came together after hearing about the bill's inability to gain passage during the 2017 legislative session at a Farmland Access and Stewardship Working Group meeting last spring. Agricultural enterprises has long been a focus of the group because of its deep ties to land-use planning, and what the group has seen as an inconsistent regulatory environment around accessory on-farm businesses. For example, back in 2013 the working group's Agricultural Land Use Planning Task Force developed a series of planning modules, with the fourth module Local Regulatory Context specifically addressing how town planning and municipal regulations can promote agricultural enterprises. Other resources to check out to learn more about agricultural enterprises include VAAFM's 2015 report Agricultural Economic Development: Local Land Use Planning and its Effect on Diversified on-Farm Enterprises and rural enterprise guidance documents developed in collaboration between NOFA-VT, VAAFM, Shelburne Farms, VNRC, and the Farm-Based Education Network.
Farmland Access and Stewardship Working Group and Food Cycle Coalition to Host Meeting On Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration

On Thursday May 24th from 1:00-4:00pm the Farmland Access and Stewardship Working Group and the Food Cycle Coalition will host a meeting on climate change and carbon sequestration, with a focus on creative approaches and opportunities for Vermont farms to participate in carbon markets and incentive programs. Highlights will include how Vermont's Climate Commission is assessing carbon sequestration opportunities, and insights from carbon markets and programs operating in other states and around the globe. Contact Farm to Plate Network Manager Sarah Danly for further details: .

Farm to Plate Newsfeed

Hardwick Announces Plans for Manufacturing and Value-Added Business Center

Vermont Fresh Network Announces Conference Scholarships

Community Harvest of Central Vermont Celebrates Official Non-Profit Status and Major Donations

Host a Farm Tour this Summer and Positively Influence the Public's Perception of Dairy Farms

Vermont Tortilla Company Receives National Recognition as an American Small Business Champion by SCORE

Farm to Plate Member Media Highlights
Vermont Fresh Network & UVM Extension, Food's Changing Role In Tourism And What It Means For The State (VPR)
Fat Toad Farm, Brookfield business awarded VT Family-Owned Business of the Year (SBA)

Send YOUR Media Highlight (within the prior month only, please)
Farm & Food Workshops + Industry Events

May 14-23, Craftsbury:  Fundamentals of Artisan Cheese
May 19-20, Randolph:  Sausage and Smoking
May 20, Randolph:  The Family Cow
June 1-2, Shelburne:  Nourish Vermont
June 1-4, Brattleboro:  Strolling of the Heifers Parade & Expo
June 4-6, Craftsbury:  Farming the Woods

Food System Gigs

Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets,  Agriculture Water Quality Specialist III
Philo Ridge Farm,  Office Manager
Philo Ridge Farm,  Cheesemonger
Philo Ridge Farm,  Pastry Assistant
Vermont Land Trust, Communications Associate
Bryant House at the Vermont Country Store, Front of House Supervisor
Vital Communities, Seasonal Project Coordinator
Vermont Department of Children and Families, AmeriCorps VISTA - SerVermont- Farm to Family Program
Vermont Tortilla Company, Production Assistant
Skinny Pancake, Marketing Coordinator
Bragg Family Farm,  Weekend help
Vermont Compost Company,  Livestock Farmer
UVM Health Network,  Prep/Relief Cook
Plainfield Coop,  Administrative Manager
Plainfield Coop,  General Manager