Strategic Planning

VSJF strategic planning business services

We design, facilitate, and implement adaptive and action-oriented planning at the industry and systems levels.

The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund’s approach to positive, systems-level change efforts incorporates various types of strategic planning to identify outcomes and map the process and actions to reach those outcomes. Our strategic planning approach lays the groundwork for how we address the sustainable development of the market sectors we serve (agriculture and food systems, forest products, waste management, renewable energy, and environmental technology).

Farm to Plate Strategic Plan

By many accounts, Vermont has developed the most comprehensive food system plan in the country and the first of its kind in New England.

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With the legislative passage of the Farm to Plate Investment Program in 2009, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund was tasked with the creation of a ten year food system plan to increase economic development and jobs in Vermont’s food and farm sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters.

VSJF convened a 15 person process team to advise staff on the overall approach for developing a stakeholder engagement process and on writing Vermont’s food system plan. We consulted with more than 1,200 Vermonters through regional summits, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews with content specialists. Input from the stakeholder engagement process was paired with extensive analysis of existing state and national data sets, resulting in a plan that is grounded in objective data trends but contextualized with the personal experiences and expertise of food system stakeholders. In total, the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan identified 25 food system plan goals and articulated a shared vision aimed at strengthening all components of Vermont’s food system by the end of 2020.

Rooted in Vermont Grassroots Campaign

In 2013, consumer education and marketing members of the Farm to Plate Network began conversations to address how to increase local food purchases to 10 percent by 2020 and reach the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan local food consumption goal.

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It was determined that a statewide grassroots marketing campaign was necessary to increase consumer demand of local food. The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund convened marketing and public relations experts to conduct a target audience analysis to identify and map existing and potential customers of Vermont’s food products. A two-year strategic coordination process helped facilitate collaboration among state government, private sector businesses, and nonprofit organizations. VSJF partnered with Skillet Design & Marketing to conduct focus groups, surveys, and conversations with Vermont consumers, which led to the development and deployment of the Rooted in Vermont movement to increase consumer demand of Vermont food products.

Vermont Forest Sector Systems Analysis

The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund Executive Director, Ellen Kahler, played an important planning role as a member of the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board when they commissioned the Vermont Forest Sector Systems Analysis to identify the biggest challenges and opportunities facing Vermont’s forest products industry.

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Prepared by Yellowwood Associates, the analysis identified the need for network development and a value chain facilitation approach to economic development in the forest products sector. This then led to the creation of the Vermont Forest Products Program, coordinated by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in collaboration with the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative and the Northern Forest Center.

Climate Change Economy Council Report and Action Plan

Progress for Vermont: Climate Economy Report and Action Plan, was produced by the Vermont Council on Rural Development with strategic planning input from the Vermont Climate Change Action Council.

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Progress for Vermont informed the development of the Vermont Climate Economy Initiative, being coordinated by the Vermont Council on Rural Development with collaborative support from the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, and several organizations throughout Vermont who are committed to rural development. The idea to develop the DeltaClimeVT climate economy business accelerator – which is managed by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund – had its genesis during the Council’s planning process.

Vermont Bioenergy Initiative

The Vermont Bioenergy Initiative marked the first strategic planning effort to reduce Vermont’s dependency on petroleum through the development of homegrown alternatives.

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This Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund program fostered the research and development of sustainable, distributed, small-scale biodiesel, grass/mixed fiber, and algae-to-biofuels businesses and demonstration projects in Vermont, in order to produce bioenergy for local transportation, agricultural, and thermal applications—as a replacement for fossil fuel based energy. The initiative concluded in 2016 with the release of the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative Final Report to the U.S. Department of Energy which documents all of the research, technical assistance, and infrastructure development in bioenergy conducted during the life of the Initiative (2008-2016).
Work with us

The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund has assisted a number of trade associations in Vermont by facilitating a strategic planning process with the Board and staff of those associations, including: Vermont Specialty Food Association, Vermont Composting Association of Vermont, Vermont Fresh Network, and others. This fee-for-service offering is available to any trade association connected to the sectors we serve, as staff capacity exists.

We can provide short-term consulting services to organizations going through a strategic planning process and are also available for speaking engagements and presentations at local, state, or national level conferences and events about the innovative, systems-level change approaches we have deployed in Vermont. While each locale is unique, there are ways to adapt the lessons we have learned and how they have been implemented here in Vermont to anywhere in the country, especially in rural areas.

VSJF Vermont Sustainability Funders

Become a Funder

Are you interested in funding one of our programs or services? We are seeking funders to achieve our sustainable economic goals as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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VSJF Vermont Sustainability Clients

Become a Client

Are you interested in becoming a client to grow your business, industry sector, or replicate one of our approaches? We offer a suite of services for businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies.
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Become a Partner

Are you interested in partnering with us to build a thriving economic, social, and ecological future for Vermont? We invite collaboration from diverse stakeholders in all areas of our work.
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