Update from F2P ~ December 2012 / January 2013
A Farm to Plate-Sponsored Event
Connecting Education with Employers
The Education and Workforce Development Working Group is co-presenting the upcoming third summit in a four-part series called GroundWork: A series on cultivating a sustainable future through education, applied research, and innovation. For more information on the full GroundWork series visit the Vermont Technical College website.
VT Tech GroundWork Series: Connecting Education with Employers
Tuesday January 15, 2013 from 8:30am to 2pm, with lunch and networking scheduled for 12:30 to 2pm
Judd Hall, Vermont Technical College, Randolph
Cost: $25, includes lunch
Keynote: Strategies for Closing the Gap Between Food System Education & Employment – Survey and Research Findings
Holly Tippett -- Researcher and Advisor, Specializing in Education, Sustainable Agriculture, and Philanthropy
Wendy Meunier -- M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center
Co-presented with Vermont Technical College, the Farm to Plate Network, and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, with support from the Vermont Departments of Education and Labor, and the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. Register in advance online. For more information, contact VTC by email or call (802) 728-1339.
VPR Features Local Food This Week!
Vermont Public Radio: The Business of Food
This, Morning Edition has included a daily segment on the economic impact of food production in Vermont in the series The Business of Food. Find links to each podcast on the series website, or click the links below to get a podcast from each day.
Coming Up for Friday: Farm to Plate!
Update from Farm to Plate Network
What a year it’s been for Vermont’s food system! From new meat and value-added dairy processing facilities to expanded agriculture education and workforce development programs, Vermont continues to be a national leader in the local food movement.
The Farm to Plate Network continues to grow and is now made up of over 200 organizations working together on action steps which are improving our food system and helping us all reach the Farm to Plate goals. Working Groups are wrapping up a few projects and diving into many more in the year ahead.
Accomplishments of the Farm to Plate Network this past year include:
- Conducted a food system workforce needs assessment so Vermont can provide better education and training to meet the changing needs of our food system businesses.
- Held a forum on scaling up to sell to institutions with Sodexo and over 30 Vermont producers
- Collected a variety of meat processing market research data (e.g., assessed the financial feasibility of current processing facilities) and facilitated various producer-processor education and partnerships (e.g., workshops and training events), as well as engaged policy makers
This coming year, the F2PNetwork will focus on the following projects intended to grow Vermont’s food system, increase access of healthy local food for all Vermonters, and foster a sustainable food system for the 21st Century:
- Initiating a Governor’s Institute on Local Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture
- Replicating the Sodexo institutional procurement forum with other institutions such as Vermont hospitals and other large food service corporations
- Working with institutions, distributors, and retailers to establish systems to begin tracking local food sales
- Facilitating the development of a New England branded meat program
- Encouraging independent grocery stores to sell more local food by offering targeted marketing and distribution support, and helping producers scale up to meet the needs of these markets
- Assessing the needs of producer and processor associations and developing better support systems for these groups
- Improving coordination of technical assistance services and developing common evaluation metrics
- Creating a comprehensive dairy professional development and technical assistance resource guide
- Supporting organics residuals recycling and the implementation of Act 148 through the statewide Close the Loop Coalition
- Developing a guidebook for land use planners and zoning administrators on agriculture and food systems
- Launching the Vermont Food System Atlas
Farm to Plate Strategic Plan Update
Two new chapters of the Farm to Plate 10-Year Strategic Plan are published and available for download from the VSJF website. Hops and Beer addresses the potential for Vermont farmers to grow increasing volumes and interesting varieties of hops to supply the growing number of Vermont breweries. Eggs considers the opportunities and challenges to meeting consumer demand for humanely-raised eggs for both retail and institutional markets.
Farm Fresh Fuel Project Update
On Saturday, December 8, 2012, ten growers met at Borderview Farm in Alburgh, Vermont, to hear the successes of and lessons learned from an exciting project, Farm Fresh Fuel. In the 2012 growing season, each of these farmers and landowners grew sunflowers to make their own biodiesel. Improving the viability of renewable energy sources on farms in Vermont contributes to the vitality of Vermont’s food system, too. Goal 22 of the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan is that food system enterprises will minimize their use of fossil fuels and maximize their renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation opportunities. Visit the VSJF website to read more about the Farm Fresh Fuel project and what these farmers are doing. Stay tuned for the early 2013 launch of eight short videos on this exciting work!
Food System Funding Opportunities
Sow It Forward Program, Kitchen Gardens International
KGI is now accepting applications for $600 of cash, seeds, supplies, books, and online gardening planning software to groups wishing to start a new food garden project or sustain an existing one. Applicants can include schools, food pantries, community gardens, retirement homes, and other non-profit groups interested in healthy foods, sustainability, and resilient communities. Applications are due January 11, 2013 and should be submitted online.
Working Lands Enterprise Fund
The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) is accepting applications to invest $986,500 into agricultural, forestry, and forest product enterprises and organizations. Applications are available online along with tools and resources to assist applicants. Application deadlines are in January. For more information, see the previous F2P E-News. A FAQs page for applicants is continually being updated.
Vermont Food System News
Hackathon Carves Better Future for Sustainable Meat
Vermont is leading the way in technology for meat processors/producers by placing 1st and 2nd in the Sustainable Meat “Hackathon” held in NYC, which was profiled in Forbes.com. Chelsea Lewis with VAAFM was a lead “steakholder” behind the projects.
OpEd: Working Lands Initiative Needs Nurturing
Will Stevens, an organic market gardener and independent state representative from Shoreham, writes of the need to continue to capitalize the Working Lands Enterprise Fund by including it in the Governor’s budget. The Fund supports economic development in Vermont’s agriculture and forestry sectors and, as Will Stevens points out, builds on the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. Read the full piece at VT Digger.
Vermont Farm to School Gets Big Boost
Leaders in Vermont’s Farm to School efforts visited Milton Middle School cafeteria on Thursday December 13, 2012 to announce a major new commitment of federal, state, and private funding that will help Farm to School programs expand in every county in Vermont. Read the full story on VT Digger.
Upcoming Food System Events
One on One Ag Finance Hour
Friday December 28, 2012 from 9am to 5pm (1.5 hour meeting throughout the day)
UVM Extension Office, Middlebury
This event provides a chance to sit down with a UVM Extension Farm Business Management specialist, one-on-one, to work on the financial planning that is critical to your farm’s success. Meetings last an hour to an hour and a half and are focused on developing balance sheets, cash budgets, or completing financial analysis. For more information, contact Christi Sherlock or Erin Clark at (802) 223-2389.
Agronomy Plus Meetings
Various dates from 10am to 3:30pm (Registration starts at 9:30am)
Dates and Locations:
Jan. 8 - Morrisville:
Stone Grill Pub and Restaurant, 116 Vermont Route 1, Morrisville, VT
Jan. 10 - Randolph: VT Small Business Development Center, 1540 Vermont Route 66, Randolph, VT
Jan. 17 - South Deerfield, Mass.: UMass Crop and Animal Research and Education Center, 89-91 River Road (this event is being led by UMass under the title 'Cost-Reducing Strategies for Dairy and Livestock Operations.' To register for the South Deerfield, MA event call Mallory at 413-545-5221
Jan. 18 - Springfield: Holiday Inn, 818 Charlestown Road, Springfield, VT
Jan. 22 - Derby: The Derby Cow Palace, 3111 U.S. Route 5, Derby, VT
Jan. 31 - St. Johnsbury: The NEW UVM Extension office located at 374 Emerson Falls Road, Suite 1, St. Johnsbury, Vt.
Topics at each location will include reducing feed cots, soybeans in Vermont, addressing rising feed costs with a high-forage diet, soil fertility, and animal health. Lunch is included at some locations. Find more information online and register in advance. For directions or more information, call (802) 751-8307 or email.
Workshop: Grow Your Business with Farm Tours
January 10, 2013 from 9am to 12pm
RAFFL Office, Merchants Row, Rutland
Building a Sustainable Business
January 9, 16, 23 & 30, from 1-4pm
Berlin, Middlebury, Morrisville, and White River Junction
Cost: $150 (early registration) or $175
The Building a Sustainable Business course guides participants through developing a business plan for farm businesses. For more information or to register, visit UVM’s website or contact Jessie Schmidt by email. Scholarships and financial aid are available to those who are eligible.
NOFA Vermont’s 8th Annual Direct Marketing Conference
Sunday January 13, 2013 from 8:30am to 4:30pm
Cost: $40 NOFA members / $50 non-members
This one-day conference offers learning and networking opportunities for farmers’ market coordinators and vendors, CSA farmers and organizers, and farm stand operators to grow their direct-to-consumer sales. Visit the NOFA Vermont website for a full listing of workshops and presenter biographies, and to register online. You can also register by calling (802) 434-4122.
17th Annual VT Grazing & Livestock Conference
January 18 and 19, 2013
Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee
This year’s annual conference, titled Global Grazing: Lessons Learned from Around the World, will include local and regional experts in sales, animal behavior, and nutrition. The conference is an opportunity to hear the latest research and is an excellent chance for networking. To learn more, visit the UVM Pasture website or contact Jenn Colby.
2013 Vermont Farm Show
January 29, 30 and 31, 2013
Champlain Valley Expo, Essex Junction
This is Vermont’s premier farm show, with agricultural displays, farm product contest, annual meeting of commodity groups, farm machinery, and commercial farm exhibits. There is ample time for meeting and networking. The 2nd Annual Vermont Buy Local Market will be held as part of the Farm Show on January 30 from 4 to 7pm. For more information, stay tuned to the Farm Show website.
UVM Extension New Farmer Programs: Managing Vegetable Transplants for Success
29, 2013 from 7pm
Part of a Webinar Series
Julie Rubaud, owner and operator of Red Wagon Plants, will share her knowledge and expertise in raising organic vegetable transplants for farms and commercial production. Julie will talk about her management strategies for growing healthy, disease free transplants organically, as well as variety selection and timing of transplant production. All you need to participate is internet access and a computer with sound. To participate, please go to http://go.uvm.edu/aemon at 6:45pm on January 29, 2013 and click on the webinar title. For more information, contact the New Farmer Program by email or call (802) 223-2389 x203. If you have not participated in a webinar before, you should download the necessary software for free the day before the webinar is scheduled.
Vermont Food System and Sustainable Energy Jobs
Assistant Food System Coordinator (Americorps VISTA), Vermont Technical College
Vermont Technical College is developing an Applied Agriculture and Food Systems Institute to offer education and training needs that support agriculture, food production, waste disposal and energy production. One facet of the institution is a production Market Garden, and this position will coordinate the efforts of the Market Garden to supply VTC’s cafeteria and other area institutions with fresh local food. See the online job announcement for more details and application instructions.
Land Treatment Planner / Agricultural Resource Specialist, Vermont Association of Conservation Districts
This position will be housed at the Williston Natural Resource Conservation Service field office and cover the north central region of Vermont. The successful candidate will work with NRCS to provide planning assistance to farmers enrolled in USDA programs and will provide technical assistance, education, and outreach regarding Vermont’s Accepted Agricultural Practices to Small Farm Operators with the goal of addressing non-point source water quality and resource concerns. For a full detailed job description, salary information, position requirements, and application instructions, visit the VACD website. Applications are due by December 23, 2012.
Market Manager, Five Corners Farmers' Market
FCFM in Essex Junction, Vermont is hiring a Market Manager to join a passionate and fun team of community members. This part-time, contract position includes all aspects of planning, promoting and running the market. Duties involve moderate physical tasks and lifting (>30 lbs). The successful applicant will be out-going and confident in order to effectively interact with many folks from varied backgrounds. Previous marketing or small business experience will serve this individual well in his/her new role, as will high levels of organization, attention to detail, and the ability to multi-task. To learn more about FCFM and see a complete job description, visit the FCFM website. To apply, please submit a letter of interest and resume by January 4, 2013 by email. Applicants will be contacted in January regarding next steps.
Executive Director, Center for an Agricultural Economy
The Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick, Vermont seeks an Executive Director dedicated to building a vibrant agricultural economy. CAE seeks an engaging leader with experience in organizational and financial systems management who will direct and implement the strategic plan. The chosen candidate will have a stellar public presence with outstanding communication skills. To apply, email your resume, three references, a brief statement of interest, and salary history and requirements. Put "Exec Dir" in the subject line of your email. Applications will not be accepted by regular mail, walk-in, or phone call. For a full job description and application details, visit the CAE website.
SAVE THE DATE! 31st Annual NOFA VT Winter Conference: Generations of Innovation
February 16-17, 2013
University of Vermont, Burlington
Mark your calendars for this annual conference that features two full days of gardening, farming, and sustainable living workshops, two keynote addresses, a trade show, and a children’s conference. For more information, stay tuned to the NOFA Vermont website.