March 2019
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.
House Approves Farm to Plate Beyond 2020
As the legislature gears up for the second half of the legislative session this week I wanted to pass along good news on the F2P reauthorization front. H.275: An act related to the Farm to Plate Investment Program, was unanimously passed out of the House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, and passed unanimously by voice vote out of the Vermont House of Representatives. H.275 now makes its way over to the Senate – you can follow progress and read the bill as passed by the house here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2020/H.275 .


Highlights and specifics about the bill and process:
  • Essentially all of the recommendations discussed by Steering made their way into the bill – 
  • it’s now “sustainable economic development” and the two economic development outcomes have been consolidated into one;
  • an environmental/soils/resiliency/climate outcome was added;
  • the food access outcome now officially includes the language “…for all Vermonters.” The original bill simple stated, “Improve access to healthy local foods” and now it states, “Improve access to healthy local foods for all Vermonters."
  • small changes throughout better reflect current conditions and terminology – e.g., the adoption of food system development rather than agricultural economic development, inclusion of helping develop markets of all types in and out of state, etc.
  • In an ironic twist, in reviewing the statute, the Legislative Council’s Michael O’Grady said reauthorization is technically unnecessary because there’s nothing in the original bill that would suggest an actual end to the program – that in its original form, as written in statute, F2P was a permanent program. However, rather than quietly accept that fact and move along as is, we felt it was important for the bill to reflect both (a) our understanding of the intent of the authorizing legislation to create an initiative designed to last over a defined period of time, and (b) have a mechanism built in to be held accountable for legislative review and either re-calibration or dissolution of the program if conditions had changed in one direction or the other to warrant its dissolution. Consequently, a sunset clause was added to repeal the program on January 1, 2031. As such, when the time comes to review for true reauthorization again in 2029/2030, the legislature can either remove/revise the clause or allow it to go into effect.
Farm to Plate Communicators Facebook Group
Have you checked out the Farm to Plate Community of Practice Facebook group lately? This month's discussion includes best choices for email marketing platforms and social media scheduling and tracking, Vermont media lists, Facebook's updates and targeting audiences, seeking events for #RootedinVermont participation, and more.

The Farm to Plate Community of Practice is open to anyone working in food system communications and marketing, including staff at nonprofits, businesses, or government; marketing business owners, staff and consultants; and food writers in Vermont. The purpose of the group is to help Vermont food system businesses and organizations hone their skills in communication and marketing best practices. Join us with questions, or answers, of your own!
Network Update:
Aggregation and Distribution Working Group
Wholesale Market Research Project
Interviews being conducted with wholesale distributors and buyers

The beginning stages of a wholesale market research project, led by NOFA-VT in partnership with the Aggregation and Distribution Working Group, are underway. The project team, working with consultant Rosalie Wilson, hosted a farmer forum Thursday, March 7 to gather input and feedback related to wholesale market experiences, bottlenecks, and questions that they would like addressed through the research. Input from the forum was complemented by additional discussion among members of the Aggregation and Distribution Working Group March 11, and will now be used to inform interviews conducted with Vermont and northeast region wholesale distributors and buyers that are ongoing into early spring. The research aims to define wholesale opportunities in and out of state for produce, protein, and milk products, creating a baseline of market information (e.g., insights on what Vermont products buyers are interested in, how to work with them, how to work with distributors, and what to know to financially evaluate wholesale opportunities) that can improve producer decision making and align strategies and investment for wholesale market development for Vermont producers.
Farm to Plate Newsfeed
Food System Events and Workshops
March 13, Brattleboro: Windham Grows Community Table
March 23, Hardwick: Vodka & Pancakes
March 27-Oct 19, Burlington: Community Teaching Garden Courses
March 28, Richmond: Reducing Food Waste
April 7, Hartford: Flavors of the Valley
April 11, Randolph: Vermont Organics Recycling Summit

Food System Jobs
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Community Harvest of Central Vermont, Help Farms Feed More People
Luce Farm Wellness
Green Mountain Farm-to-School, AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator
Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center
Food Connects
Vermont Fresh Network, Program Associate
Vine Ripe Greenhouse Construction, Greenhouse/Hoophouse Construction Labor
Champlain Valley Apiaries, Beekeeper/Apprentice Beekeeper
Pete's Greens
Sterling College, Staff Accountant
Champlain Orchards, Delivery Truck Driver
Norwich Farmers Market, Farmers' Market Asst. Manager
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Local First Vermont Program Manager
Center for an Agricultural Economy, Executive Director
Rutland Area Food Coop, Grocery Manager
Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association, Quality Director
Three Chimney Farm, Assistant Production Manager
Sterling College, Livestock Manager
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Field Staff Positions
Farm & Wilderness Foundation, Farm Internship

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Vermont Food System News is published by the  Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
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Jake Claro , Farm to Plate Director  |   Sarah Danly , Farm to Plate Network Manager
Lydia Pitkin , Office Manager and Program Coordinator  |    Shane Rogers , Rooted in Vermont Project Manager
Kelly Nottermann , Communications Manager  |   Ellen Kahler , Executive Director

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