FAQ

What is the Farm to Plate Program?

The Farm to Plate Investment Program is legislation that was signed into law in 2009 calling for a Vermont food system plan to increase economic development and jobs in the farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. The Vermont Legislature tasked the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (a nonprofit organization based in Montpelier) with conducting a public engagement process, analyzing the state’s food system, and creating the 10-year Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. To implement the plan, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund gathered key stakeholders and launched the Farm to Plate Network in 2011 to implement the goals of Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan.

What is the Farm to Plate Network and who is involved?

Over 350 organizations are engaged in the Vermont Farm to Plate Network, working together to collectively implement the goals of Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan. The Farm to Plate Network is comprised of farms, food production businesses, specialty food producers, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, funders, capital providers, and government. The Farm to Plate Network creates the space for strategic conversations across multiple stakeholders and perspectives to make systematic food system change that no one organization can accomplish alone.

What is a food system plan?

A food system looks at all of the factors and considerations involved in producing and distributing food—farmland and farming supplies and equipment, food production, processing, distribution, retail, consumer behavior, workforce, labor costs, food insecurity challenges, finances, environmental impacts, energy, and education.

Vermont’s food system plan is addressing all of these topics over a ten-year timeframe (2011-2020) to relocalize our statewide system so the local food movement can keep more money here in Vermont by creating jobs, supporting the in-state supply chain, protecting family farms, and making local food more accessible to more Vermonters. 

Food system plans can be for a town, county, state, region, or country. Vermont is a national leader in statewide food system planning and has developed the most comprehensive statewide food system plan in the country and the first of its kind in New England. Vermont works closely with the other New England states on a New England food vision to produce 50% of our food in New England by 2060.

What is the difference between the Farm to Plate Network and the Vermont Fresh Network?

The Farm to Plate Network is a network of farms, food production businesses, specialty food producers, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, funders, capital providers, and government working together to implement the 25 goals of Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan to increase economic development and jobs in the farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters.

The Vermont Fresh Network is a membership based nonprofit organization comprised of chefs, farmers, and food producers committed to advancing relationships among farmers, chefs, and consumers to grow markets and eat more locally grown food. The Vermont Fresh Network is an active member of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network and a key collaborator in Vermont Open Farm Week—a project of the Farm to Plate Network Agritourism Task Force

Is Farm to Plate a government program?

The Farm to Plate Investment Program is legislation that was signed into law in 2009 calling for a Vermont food system plan to increase economic development and jobs in the farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. When the legislation was passed, the Vermont Legislature approached the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (a nonprofit organization) to administer the development and implementation of a Vermont food system plan. The plan is being implemented by private sector businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies all working together as a part of the Farm to Plate Network. The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund developed the Farm to Plate food system plan and coordinates the Farm to Plate Network’s efforts to implement the plan.

How is Farm to Plate funded?

The Farm to Plate Network’s efforts implementing Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan are generously supported by The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Henry P. Kendall Foundation, John Merck Fund, Jane’s Trust, Angell Foundation, Vermont Community Foundation, Sandy River Charitable Trust, and the High Meadows Fund.

If you are interested in becoming a funder, please contact Ellen Kahler, the executive director at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization at 802-828-5320, ellen (@) vsjf.org.

How can I get involved?

The Farm to Plate Network is open to all farm and food businesses, public agencies, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, private funders, and community groups working to strengthen Vermont’s food system. If you work for one of these types of organizations, click here to join the Farm to Plate Network.

If you are interested in getting involved in the Rooted in Vermont movement to increase consumer demand for local food, you can learn more about Rooted in Vermont here.

When will the implementation of Vermont’s food system plan be complete?

The Farm to Plate Strategic Plan is a ten-year plan. Implementation by the Farm to Plate Network began at the end of 2011 and currently plans to conclude at the end of 2020. Much progress has been made and new challenges have emerged and conversations are underway to plan for how and what areas of work will continue beyond 2020. Click here to track the progress towards implementing the 25 goals of the Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan.

How does the Farm to Plate food system plan get implemented and by who?

The Farm to Plate Network is responsible for implementing the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. The Farm to Plate Network is comprised of farms, food production businesses, specialty food producers, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, funders, capital providers, and government. The Network is self-governed and overall guidance is provided by a steering committee made up of various Network leaders, the Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, the Vermont Secretary of Commerce, and a representative from the Vermont Food Funders Network, the Sustainable Agriculture Council, and the Vermont Agriculture and Forest Product Development Board. The Network is organized into working groups and cross-cutting teams focused on high impact food system leverage areas and cross-cutting issues aimed at re-localizing food production and distribution. Learn more about the Farm to Plate Network groups and their efforts and projects.

What is the Farm to Plate Network currently working on?

The Farm to Plate Network is focused on the following priorities to help reach the 25 goals of the Farm to Plate food system plan by 2020:

Meet Food System Employment Needs in Positive Work Environments

Improve Viability of Farms and Food Businesses

Increase Local Food Availability and Affordability in All Market Channels

Increase Consumer Engagement and Demand for Local Food

Protect and Expand Affordable and Environmentally Sustainable Farmland in Agricultural Production

Learn more about Farm to Plate strategic priorities.

Learn more about the background of Farm to Plate.  

Get Involved!  Learn more here.

Interested in Sponsoring Farm to Plate?  Click here for more information.