Update from F2P ~ February 2013
2012 Ag Census: Deadline Extended
It is not too late for farmers to reply, and doing so is essential. The Ag Census occurs every 5 years and is the only comprehensive source of state-by-state agricultural data. This data is critical in shaping agricultural policy, programs, and funding opportunities both nationally, and right here in Vermont. Any producer with more than $1000 in sales qualifies. Please share this information with your farmer contacts, via social media, and in relevant newsletters. The survey can be found online.
Update from Farm to Plate Network
The VSJF Farm to Plate team is getting very close to launching the Vermont Food System Atlas! We demonstrated the Atlas at the Farm Show and NOFA-Vermont Winter Conference at our exhibitor’s booth. In just a few short weeks the Atlas will be sent to all Farm to Plate Network members, and in early April will be live to the public.
The Farm to Plate Network is also moving forward with some exciting new work. Here are highlights from just a few of the F2P groups:
The Consumer Education and Marketing Working Group formed two task forces for 2013. The Independent Retailers Task Force is working on F2P Goal 13 to increase availability of local food at retail market outlets. The task force is working closely with the Vermont Department of Health and will be supporting the Vermont Healthy Retailers initiative. The Agritourism Task Force is made up of statewide, regional, and local organizations working to support and expand the agritourism industry.
- The Education and Workforce Development Working Group recently formed three new task forces. The Integrated Curriculum and Flexible Pathways Task Force will build off of the recommendations from the study the group commissioned in 2012, Charting the Path: Food System Workforce Needs Assessment. The group will work to integrate food systems educational opportunities into school curriculum, as well as provide flexible and robust learning opportunities. The Career Pathways Task Force will be developing clearly articulated pathways to a variety of food system careers through an approach that highlights some of Vermont’s most innovative and successful food system “rock stars.” The Governor’s Institute Task Force that formed in late 2012 has developed the first every session on food systems to be held in July 2013 for Vermont high school students.
- The Technical Assistance for Producers and Processors Working Group has three active Task Forces. The Meat Processing Task Force held a joint session with the Meat and Poultry Processors Association to develop a seven year plan for Vermont’s meat processing industry. The Producer and Processor Association Support Task Force is wrapping up a series of interviews with food system associations across the state to assess what is needed to better support these organizations. The TA Coordination Task Force hired Yellow Wood Associates to survey food system TA providers to determine if organizations conduct program evaluations and what kind of trainings are needed to improve evaluation of TA services.
- The Financing Cross Cutting Team met on 2/21/13 and focused on understanding convertible debt as a funding vehicle for certain types of early and growth stage businesses. Tom Stearns from High Mowing Seeds raised capital for his expansion 5 years ago using this ‘slow money’ instrument. Eli Moulton from Merritt, Merritt & Moulton who wrote the PPM for Tom talked about the legal issues related to the instrument and Stacy Burnstein (Castanea Foundation), Arne Hammerlund (People’s United Bank), and Rian Freed (Clean Yield Asset Management) spoke to why they invested in the deal. Then Cheryl DeVos from Kimball Brook Farm / Green Mountain Organic Creamery shared a little about her convertible debt deal that they closed on last May. It was an extremely informative and deep conversation and everyone seemed to learn a lot. We did video tape the event and plan to make it available once we do some editing on it.
Vermont Food System Education News
Governor’s Institute of Vermont Launches New Institute on Farms, Food and Your Future
The Governor’s Institute of Vermont has partnered with Vermont Technical College and the Farm to Plate Network to offer a high-quality, accelerated learning Institute for high school students this summer. The weeklong residential Institute on Farms, Food, and Your Future will be held on the College’s Randolph Center Campus during the week of July 28 through August 3. For more information, visit the GIV website.
Farm to School Institute
Vermont FEED, the Vermont Farm to School Network, and the Vermont Community Foundation are inviting applications for the 2013-2014 Farm to School Institute. The Institute is being offered to 10 Vermont school teams and includes an intensive three-day summer workshop followed by in-school mentoring during the 2013-2014 academic year. Applications are due March 11th. For more information, read the invitation and application. Questions about the Institute should be directed to Danielle Pipher by email or at (802) 498-8030.
Vermont Food System News
Vermont is New Hampshire’s Test Case
New Hampshire bill SB141 is largely based on the legislation that enacted Farm to Plate in Vermont, but with some important differences. Ellen Kahler shared her feedback on the proposed program. For more information on New Hampshire considering a farm-to-plate bill, see this recent article.
Upcoming Food System Events
Financial Training: Managing for Profit
Wednesday, February 27 from 10am to 2pm
This workshop will help local farmers and producers who supply VT Intervale Food Hub or other food hubs with increasing profitability. The workshop will include hands-on activities to demonstrate effective benchmarking, financial planning, and managing your financials. For more information, contact the Vermont New Farmer Project by email or at (802) 223-2389.
Listening Sessions with Chuck Ross, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture
This is your chance to share your ideas: How can we improve the bottom line for farms? What should the state be doing (or not doing) to help farmers in Vermont? Secretary Ross is holding listening sessions around the state (see below for locations, dates, and times) to hear and discuss what's on the mind of farmers. Each session will include a brief presentation and plenty of Q&A time to address the issues facing farms today. For more information or directions to a specific site, please contact Agricultural Recovery Specialist Ken Hafner by phone at (802) 272-0822 or email.
All sessions are from 2pm to 4pm
Thursday, 2/28, Green Mountain College, Withy Hall, Poultney
Friday 3/8, Morristown Town Offices, Morrisville
Wednesday, 3/20, Vermont Technical College Red Schoolhouse, Randolph
Friday, 3/22, State Office Building Conference Room, Springfield
Innovations on Vermont Vegetable Farms
Friday, March 1 from 1:30 to 2:30pm
University of Vermont, Jeffords 112, Burlington
Extension Professor Vern Grubinger is the Vegetable and Berry Specialist at the University of Vermont and serves as coordinator of USDA’s Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE). He will present this seminar, and will be available prior to the seminar in Jeffords 234, from 11:30am to 12:30pm. If you or your students would like to meet with him, please rsvp by email. To see a listing of more Plant and Soil Science Weekly Seminars, see the online calendar.
Creating Sustainable & Healthy Communities in a Changing Climate
Monday, March 4 from 7 to 8:30pm
Goddard College, Haybarn Theater, Plainfield
Join this panel presentation and discussion about the impacts of climate change and what we can do to adapt and develop sustainability. Panelists are from the Vermont Natural Resources Council, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and the Vermont Department of Health. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Goddard website.
Bilingual CPR and First-Aid Training for Dairy Farms in Franklin County
Wednesday, March 6 from 9:30am to 2:30pm
The Abbey, Route 105, Enosburg Falls
This training is offered in both English and Spanish for dairy producers and employees in Franklin County. The course will cover bleeding, head injuries, broken bones, burns, and eye injuries. Space is limited and advanced registration is required by contacting Louise Waterman by email or at (802) 828-6900.
Peak Pitch Vermont at Sugarbush
Friday, March 8 from 8:30am to 4pm
Gatehouse Lodge, Sugarbush Resort at Lincoln Peak, Warren
Hosted by FreshTracks Capital, Peak Pitch Vermont is a skiing, networking and fundraising event held at Sugarbush Mountain. Entrepreneurs are paired on a chairlift with an investor or advisor, and provided the chance to deliver their elevator pitch on the way up the mountain during a fun and active day out on the mountain. Register online.
Sugarbush Resort Lincoln Peak: Gatehouse Lodge
8:30 - Check In & breakfast
9:15 - Sample Pitch & Rules
9:30 - Skiing & Pitching!
12:30 - Lunch
1:15 - Pitch Off & Prizes Awarded
...then ski until 4!
Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills
Tuesdays from 12:30 to 4:30 pm on the following dates:
March 12, 19, and 26 and April 2 and 9
This five-part training series is designed to help team members or chairs gain the skills to build stronger dynamic groups, run more effective meetings, and have increased confidence. For more information or to register, visit the UVM Extension website.
Community Dinners on High School Innovation
Thursday, March 14 from 6 to 8pm
Castleton State College
The Vermont Agency of Education is hosting several community dinners for regional educators, business leaders, and community members to discuss ways to develop and promote innovative educational practices at the high school level. For more information contact Meg Powden by email or at (802) 828-0262. Register online.
Oilseed Producers Meeting
Tuesday, March 19 from 9:30am to 3pm
Comfort Inn & Suites at Maplewood, 223 Paine Turnpike, Berlin
This annual meeting is an opportunity to check in with growers, biofuel producers, oilseed enthusiasts, and researchers from around the Northeast and to find out about the latest research and production strategies. RSVP by March 8 by calling (802) 524-6501 or email Hannah Harwood. For more information, check out the Northwest Crops and Soils Program.
Vermont Nonprofit Conference 2013: The Data Driven Nonprofit: Tracking Results, Telling Our Story, Improving Vermont
Thursday, March 20-21
Lake Morey Resort, 1 Clubhouse Road, Fairlee VT
Plenary will include VSJF Farm to Plate Program Director Erica Campbell. There will be a morning workshop on Networks for Collaborative Impact presented by Farm to Plate Network members Tara Kelly and Chris Meehan.See the full agenda online.
Food Labeling for Food Producers
Thursday, March 21 from 6:30 to 8pm
Vermont Food Venture Center, 104 Junction Road, Hardwick
Cost: $5 per participant
This seminar will help clarify food labeling regulations for the products most commonly sold by Vermont food producers and processors. For more information or to register, call (802) 472-5362.
2013 New England Meat Conference
Grappone Conference Center, Concord, New Hampshire
Registration is now open for the New England Meat Conference, which will be two full days of educational sessions, workshops, live demonstrations, a trade show, and plenty of networking opportunities. The conference is presented by a steering committee of producers, processors, cooperative extension, non-profits, and state government from six New England States. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.
Webinar: Starting a Commercial Goat Dairy
Tuesday, March 26 at 7pm
This webinar will be led by Carol Delaney, author of The Guide to Starting a Commercial Goat Dairy. If you have Internet access and can hear sound through your computer, you should be able to participate or watch recordings regardless of the type of computer or operating system you use. A broadband connection to the Internet is helpful but not required. To participate, click on the title of the webinar to link to the webinar. If this is the first time you're participating in a webinar using the Blackboard Collaborate/Elluminate platform, please visit the link to your webinar a day or two earlier so that you can pre-configure your computer for webinar participation. For more information, please contact the UVM Extension New Farmer Project by e-mailing email@example.com or calling (802) 223-2389.
If you require accommodations to participate in a webinar, please contact Mary Peabody at least seven days before the webinar.
Food Regulations for Food Producers and Processors
Thursday, March 28 from 1 to 3pm
VT Department of Health, 108 Cherry Street, Burlington
This workshop will provide information to help small-scale food processors understand how to meet current Federal and State food regulations and some of the key food safety-related steps to starting a food business in Vermont. For more information, contact Londa Nwadike by email or at (802) 223-2389. Register online.
Vermont Food System and Sustainable Energy Jobs
Graphic Designer, Long Trail Brewing
Long Trail Brewing is looking for an experienced designer to manage the content of their busy website from their Middlebury office. The successful candidate should have master-level CS skills, a good working knowledge of XL & PPT, and the ability to manage a project from start to finish. Send resume with cover letter and salary requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dairy and Food Laboratory Technician, Bob White Systems
Bob White Systems seeks an experienced lab technician to fill a part-time position at their new Dairy and Food Laboratory located right off Interstate-89 in Royalton, VT. Hours are flexible and working conditions are pleasant. Call (802) 763-2777 or email for details.
Request for Proposals: Farm to College Program Manager
The Farm to Institution New England (FINE) collaboration is seeking a part-time project manager to lead a Farm to College project in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and greater Boston. The project manager may be an independent consultant or staff to an existing organization. The project duration is 15 months, with possible expansion. For more information, contact Peter Allison by email.
Looking to Hire an Intern?
The internship program at Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility has a database of over 800 students looking for internships in Vermont. For more information, contact Becky Cohen by email or at (802) 862-8347.
Rochester Farmland/Homestead Opportunity
Whole System Design, LLC is seeking applications for using 175 acres of farmland. For more information and an application, contact Ben Falkner by email email@example.com or at (802) 496-3128.