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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Update from F2P ~ December 2012

Working Lands Enterprise Fund

Last Thursday, the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) announced the release of available grant funds to invest $986,500 into agricultural, forestry and forest product enterprises and organizations. Applications are available at along with tools and resources to assist applicants. Application deadlines are in January.

Agriculture, forestry, and forest products investments will be made in the following areas:

  1. Enterprise Investments
    $3,000-$15,000 grants, required minimum 25% cash match. Application deadline January 24.
    Agriculture, Forestry & Forest Products Enterprise Investments are available to new or growing businesses (including farm and/or forest landowners), Partnerships, Limited Liability Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, Cooperatives, Corporations, S Corporations, L3Cs, and B Corporations and/or non-profits that are involved in the production of agriculture and/or forest related products. Investment focus areas will include business and technical assistance and infrastructure development. First time applicants or applicants who have never received state grants before are strongly encouraged to apply.
  2. Working Lands Service Provider Grants
    $10,000 - $100,000 grants, required minimum 50% cash and in-kind match. Application deadline January 4.
    Agriculture, Forestry & Forest Products Service Provider Grants are available to non-profit organizations, associations, colleges or universities, private sector or partnership groups. Grants are available to service providers to provide/conduct training and/or production related technical assistance, needs assessments/studies of baseline data critical to sector development, professional and organizational development, product research services, marketing assistance, market development, business and financial planning, access to capital, regulatory and business development assistance, and addressing workforce development needs. Primary applicant must be a Vermont based entity.
  3. Capital and Infrastructure Investments
    $15,000 - $100,000 grants, required minimum 1:1 match (in-kind and at least 50% cash). Application deadline January 4.
    Capital and Infrastructure Investment grants are available to agricultural and/or forestry & forest products based businesses (including farm and forest landowners) and non-profit organizations (e.g., food hubs, farmers’ markets, shared processing facilities), for capital investments that will increase operational capacity and have an impact on their industry beyond their immediate business. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, specialized personnel, access to land (acquisition or easements); building and equipment costs (e.g., processing, storage, distribution); long-term working capital, information technology; farm or forest based renewable energy business expansion; and other collaborative ventures that build capacity within the supply chain, open new markets, and/or create a replicable, innovative model.

Visit for all the details.

The fund is directed by the WLEB and is administered by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets in cooperation with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. For additional information, contact Noelle Sevoian, Working Lands Development Coordinator, by email or at (802) 585-9072.

Upcoming Food System Events

Working Lands Enterprise Fund - Informational Sessions for Applicants

Working Lands Enterprise Initiative applicants are invited to join the “Working Lands Informational Session for Applicants” to learn the details of the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative. This seminar will serve to inform applicants of the three investment areas, and will offer helpful tips which can be used when applying.

The informational session will include the following components:

  1. Background and Purpose of the Working Lands initiative
  2. The 3 investment areas of the initiative (Overview of Request for Proposals)
  3. Tips on filling out the application (Goals, Performance Measures, and Outcomes)
  4. Dates, deadlines, and key contacts
  5. Q & A 

The Working Lands Informational Session for Applicants will take place on December 4th and December 6th  from 4:30pm to 6:00pm. Interested applicants who want to learn more about the application process, and/or have questions about applying, can either log in from any computer, (nothing will be downloaded, but Flash is required on a PC or Mac) or attend one of the site locations listed below.  On-site facilitators will be available to field questions. Please Note: not all sites are available on both dates.  Presentation materials will also be available on-line on a later date. Please see below for informational session locations and dates (links to log-in to the webinar will be available shortly):

Informational Session Locations

Tuesday, December 4th   4:30pm-6:00pm

Agency of Agriculture

116 State Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Montpelier 


Brattleboro Development Credit Corp

76 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro


Northwest Regional Planning Commission

155 Lake Street, St. Albans


Thursday, December 6th   4:30-6:00pm


Agency of Agriculture

116 State Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Montpelier


Northeastern Vermont Development Association

36 Eastern Ave, Suite 1, St. Johnsbury


Rutland Regional Planning Commission

67 Merchants Row - Opera House, Rutland

VT Tech GroundWork Series: Reducing Food Waste Through Source Reduction

Tuesday December 4, 2012

Vermont Technical College

Cost: $25 includes lunch


Register in advance online.  For more information, contact VTC by email or call (802) 728-1339.

VT Tech GroundWork Series: Connecting Education with Employers

Tuesday January 15, 2013

From 9am-2:30pm

Vermont Technical College

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 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.

Raw Dairy Processing Class: Cheese, Butter and Yogurt-Making

Sunday December 2, 2012 from 1-4pm


Cost: $40


Learn to make soft cheeses, yogurt and butter. Please preregister by email or calling (802) 234-5524.

Northwest Vermont Food Summit

Monday, December 3 from 6-8pm

Sheldon Elementary School, 78 Poor Farm Rd, Sheldon


Join farmers, educators, distributors, producers and everyone that feels a strong, local food system is good for our health, our economy, and our future. Learn about local and statewide initiatives, discuss Franklin County’s assets, and share your needs and wants. Contact Kristen by email or at (802) 827-3945 with questions or to RSVP. Find more information online.

Building a Sustainable Business

December 5, 12, & 19, and 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 Organic Land Care Annual Gathering

Wednesday December 5, 2012 from 9am-5:30pm

Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge, MA

Cost: $100 member/$115 non-members


The 2012 Annual Gathering is a conference for Accredited Organic Professionals, interested landscapers, and environmental professionals. The 2012 program includes technical presentations about responding to new pesticide regulations, responding to new criticisms of organic, and communicating the organic message to clients and the public. Learn more and register online.  

Vermont Food System and Sustainable Energy Jobs

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.

Other Tidbits

New England Farmland Finder Website Launched

Looking for a good piece of land to farm? Or looking to lease, rent, or sell your land to a farmer? The New England Farmland Finder website is now available to help farmers and landowners find each other. This farm property clearinghouse is free, simple, up-to-date, and privacy protected.  It contains information and resource links to inform and support farm seekers and landowners. The website is part of a region-wide project on farmland access directed by Land For Good and funded by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. For more information, send an email.