4.4: Food System Business Planning and Technical Assistance Add to Collection

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Grain workshop at Butterworks Farm. Photo: VHCB/Farm Viability Program

Many organizations in the F2P Network offer a variety of educational and workforce development programs, workshops, and services that provide opportunities for lifelong learning and resources for skills development to entrepreneurs, farmers, students, manufacturers, and other businesses in Vermont’s food system.

Vermont is also home to a wide range of business planning and technical assistance support organizations that help to develop business plans, identify diversification strategies, and implement financial management systems, as well as provide topic, product, and process expertise.

While there are many public and private business planning and technical assistance programs and services available, many stakeholders and focus group participants noted that they sometimes don’t know where to start to find the most appropriate service to meet their specific needs.

This section summarizes the range of business planning and technical assistance services currently available, identifies service gaps and needs, and makes recommendations for how the field can continue to make a positive impact on Vermont’s food system.



Search the Atlas: Find technical assistance providers, including marketing, infrastructure, regulation and permit assistance. -Show Categories


Resources

Retail training to boost local food sales

Take 5 is a series of 12 local food sourcing and merchandising training videos for Vermont retail stores to help increase local food sales. The Farm to Plate Independent Grocers Task Force launched the Take 5 series of five-seven minute training videos for convenience, general, grocery and other retail stores…

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Rooted in Vermont

What is Rooted in Vermont? Rooted in Vermont is a grassroots movement to increase consumer demand for local food. Rooted in Vermont is shifting the local food narrative on social media and in Vermont communities to be inclusive of the many ways Vermonters enjoy and acquire local food. Traditions like gardening,…

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Kale harvest at Good Heart Farmstead in Worcester, Vermont
Photo: Good Heart Farnstead

NOFA-VT Farm Share Program

Written by Kate Spring In 2013, writer Kate Spring and her husband started Good Heart Farmstead with the mission to make local food more accessible. Not only did they aspire to make it easier for people to find local food, but they wanted to make it easier for them to afford…

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Meat processing in Vermont
Photo: Over the Hill Farm

Gathering the Herd

Gathering the Herd: A Vermont Meat Processing Case Study captures lessons learned over a three year period from the Farm to Plate Meat Processing Task Force through interviews conducted by Carrie Abels with members of the task force and industry leaders. The Meat Processing Task Force within the Farm to Plate…

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Greenhouses at new Mighty Food Farm location in Shaftsbury
Photo: Mighty Food Farm

Mighty Food Farm Finds New Home in Shaftsbury

Written by Nadine Berrini In 2006, Lisa MacDougall and a business partner started Mighty Food Farm on five leased acres in Pownal with a 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee and an old Troy-Bilt rototiller. She now has 200+ members in her year-round CSA and 10 employees. Lisa spent six years searching for…

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Meat processing class at Vermont Tech
Photo: Mad River Food Hub

Educational Contributions to the Food System

Written by Molly Willard Vermont Tech is one of several educational institutions in Vermont helping to strengthen the food system. In collaboration with other educational institutions, degrees and certificate programs are offered to help meet Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan goal to offer a wide range of curricula,…

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Volunteers at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf prepare fresh food donations
Photo: Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf

Food Recovery Feeds Vermont

Written by Helen Labun The University of Vermont may not be a traditional restaurant, but it moves a lot of food. Their dining units serve an average of 12,812 meals each day—enough to feed dinner to every resident of Montpelier with plenty left over for everyone to grab dessert and a…

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Berry picking is a low cost way to bulk up on local food.
Photo: Rooted in Vermont

Low Cost Local Food

Vermonters enjoy local food and beverages in a variety of ways—growing or foraging their own, purchasing directly from a farmer or at the store, hunting or fishing, eating at schools and institutions serving local food, finding food from a community food shelf or the Vermont Foodbank, or just by trading…

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Melanie and Jeff Carpenter of Zack Woods Herb Farm
Photo: Vermont Farm Fund

Herb Production Ramps Up

Written by Kate Stephenson Zack Woods Herb Farm grows a wide variety of medicinal herbs sold as dried herbs, live plants and fresh herbs. Based in Hyde Park, their products are all certified organically grown or ethically wild-harvested on the farm. After 16 years in business, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter recently authored…

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Fall pumpkin harvest
Photo: Land For Good

Farmland investment companies

Written by Kathy Ruhf Farmland access and affordability are top obstacles for new and beginning farmers in New England and nationally. Many new farmers cannot afford to purchase land to start or expand their operations. At the same time nearly 30% of New England farmers will exit farming in the next decade.…

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Food preparation skills are developed through cooking for Meals on Wheels in the Cornucopia program in the NEK.
Photo: NEK Food System Plan

Food Justice on the Menu in the NEK

Written by Taylar Foster The Northeast Kingdom Food System Plan was re-released in December of 2016, marking a substantive update to Vermont’s only regional food system plan. The Center for an Agricultural Economy, the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, and a steering committee composed of Northeast Kingdom cross industry experts and social…

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Vermonters find purchasing season products direct from farm stands to be a good value.
Photo: Rooted in Vermont

True Cost of Local Food

Written by Rachel Carter When choosing to purchase food, cost is often a deciding factor for consumers. Why buy a 12-ounce package of local bacon for $7.99 when you can get it for $4.98? Purchasing local food means you know where your food comes from, you’re buying food that is generally healthier,…

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Intervale Food Hub delivers fresh produce to UVM.
Photo: Intervale Center

Farm to Institution Lessons Learned

Written by Bobby Young For over 10 years, the Intervale Food Hub has been working with Sodexo and the University of Vermont to increase their procurement of local foods. The Intervale Food Hub, a social enterprise of the Intervale Center, works with nearly 40 Vermont producers to sell local food direct…

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Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds, Clean Yield's first direct local agricultural investment.
Photo: Delia Gillen

A Taste of Farm to Plate Investments

Written by Karin Chamberlain                                                          Clean Yield Asset Management clients aim to align their money with their values, and for many that means finding…

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Healthy and local dining options at UVM Medical Center
Photo: UVM Medical Center

UVM Medical Center Advances Farm to Institution Goals

Written by Alison Nihart New research from the University of Vermont has quantified the economic impact of local food purchasing by the University of Vermont Medical Center. This study, the first of its kind in the state, shows how Vermont’s largest hospital is contributing toward Vermont reaching its institutional consumption…

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CRAFT greenhouse learning session in Addison County
Photo: NOFA VT

Fostering New Farmers

Written by Maria Buteux Reade A group of farmers gather in a pasture and stare intently at a young man struggling to push a long probe deep into the ground. He shakes his head sheepishly and hands off the penetrometer to the next volunteer. No luck for her either. The…

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Tim and Magnolia at Laughing Child Farm
Photo: Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

Sweet potatoes a viable farm business in Vermont

Written by Lindsay Quella Tim and Brooke Hughes-Muse, owners of Laughing Child Farm in Pawlet, knew they had great idea for their farm when they enrolled in the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) Farm & Forest Viability Program, but weren't so sure about its feasibility. “When we came across sweet potatoes, we thought it…

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No One to Take Over the Farm

Written by Erica Housekeeper The original version of this post was published on the UVM Food Feed blog. Nearly 30% of New England’s farmers are likely to exit farming over the next decade, and nine out of 10 of those farmers do not have someone else ready to take the reins, according…

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Cobb Hill Frozen Yogurt owner partner Jeannine Kilbride
Photo: Cobb Hill Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt Speeds Up with Slow Money

Written by Rachel Carter Published in Small Farm Quarterly Creamy farmstead frozen yogurt in vanilla, chocolate, maple, and coffee flavors is pumped into 300 Cobb HillFrozen Yogurt pints a week—a number that has more than doubled from this time last year. “A year ago, it took us three production days to do what we…

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Workers at Black River Meats (Springfield)
Photo: Black River Meats

Building Brands in Small Farm Food System

Written by Mark Cannella Published in Vermont's Local Banquet Small farms in Vermont contribute tremendous value to our evolving food system by being nimble enough to respond to shifting consumer demand quickly. Small farms have pioneered niche products, such as multi-variety mesclun mixes and hybrid CSA memberships. They are engaged in cutting-edge production…

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Maggie Atherton, an 8th generation future dairy farmer
Photo: Aires Hill Family Farm

New Generation Helps Preserve Dairy Farm

Written by Laura Hardie, New England Dairy Promotion Board Karie Thompson Atherton, 35, is the seventh generation to grow up on her family’s dairy farm in Berkshire, Vermont and always knew she wanted to continue the tradition of dairy farming. “There's definitely easier ways to make a living, but none as fulfilling,"…

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Happy consumer at Nea-Tocht Farm during last year's Breakfast on the Farm
Photo: UVM Extension

Changing Consumer Local Food Perceptions

Written by Julie Smith, UVM Extension, Animal and Veterinary Sciences and Ted Ferris, MSU Extension, Animal Science The first Vermont Breakfast on the Farm event gave consumers and farm neighbors a first-hand look at modern food production. Hosted by Nea-Tocht Farm in Ferrisburgh in August 2015, the event was organized and…

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Grinding Masa! All Souls Tortilleria packaged tortillas are now available at City Market in Burlington VT
Photo: All Souls Tortilleria

Tortillas with Soul

Written by Sarah Bhimani, City Market, Onion River Co-op City Market, a community-owned food co-op in Burlington, VT, has a list of Global Ends that guides their business and all that they do. One of their Global Ends is “strengthening the local food system,” which is met through a myriad of…

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Seth Gillim and Mike Ingalls are managers of the Intervale Conservation Nursery, founded in 2002 and dedicated to growing native, locally sourced trees and shrubs for riparian restoration projects throughout Vermont.
Photo: Rachel Carter

Waterway Sidewalks: Native Trees & Shrubs

Written by Rachel Carter Published in Small Farm Quarterly Native trees and shrubs intertwine with one another, keeping 350-acres of flood plain intact along the banks of the Winooski River, best known as the Intervale. Located within the city limits of Vermont’s urban metropolis (42,000), Burlington boasts a solid urban farming culture,…

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A loan is helping kickstart Rob Rock’s agriculture machinery and fabrication business, a bonus for Vermont farmers in need of his custom farm equipment and metal-working services.
Photo: Farm Fund

Five Years of Funding Farms

Written by Caitlin Gildrien Published in Vermont's Local Banquet Early on a January morning in 2011, Pete Johnson of Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury heard a funny noise. When he looked out his window, he saw his barn engulfed in flames. The building and all of the equipment and product inside was in…

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Montpelier's farmers' market.
Photo: Rachel Carter

Market Trends

Written by Caroline Abels Published in Vermont's Local Banquet Over the past 10 years farmers’ markets in Vermont have burst forth like a backyard garden in July. Currently there are 63 markets in the Vermont Farmers’ Market Association, and a dozen or so that aren’t members. But every now and then you…

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The work crew at Chappelle's Potatoes.
Photo: CAE.

Vermont Veggies Find New Markets

Written by Alissa Matthews and Sarah Waring Vermont's Local Banquet There’s no vegetable more basic than a potato. This humble, tuberous root crop, Solanum tuberosum, grows in the dark, hidden from view most of the year, and emerges late when the air is frosty. It’s not as exciting as kale, not as…

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Understanding the Vermont Food Consumer

In 2014 Farm to Plate’s Consumer Education and Marketing Working Group conducted a target audience analysis to identify and map customers and potential customers of Vermont’s food products. Spearheaded by co-chairs Beth Cullen of Root Consulting and Chris Howell of Vermont Farm Tours, the “Understanding Vermont’s Food Consumer” project is…

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Agricultural Land Use Planning Modules

In 1994, the then Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets issued the land use planning guide "Sustaining Agriculture: A Handbook for Local Action". Prepared by Deb Brighton and Jim Northup of Ad Hoc Associates, the guide was a valuable resource for citizen and professional planners interested in maintaining the…

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Joe Bossen of Vermont Bean Crafters producing bean burgers at the Mad River Food Hub.
Photo: Mad River Food Hub

Mad River Food Hub

White walls and stainless steel sinks and industrial-sized freezers and workers in smocks may not form our image of “local food.” But if Vermont agriculture and food production are to remain viable, places like the Mad River Food Hub might become increasingly necessary. Opened in October 2011, the Mad River Food…

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Technical assistance providers on a tour of Misty Knoll Farm.
Photo: VHCB/Farm Viability.

Vermont Farm Viability Program

Perhaps long ago, in a simpler world, farmers needed only tools, the support of helping hands, a market for their products, and advice from their neighbors to successfully grow vegetables and raise animals. But farmers today need a lot more than that. Complex equipment, well-designed facilities, marketing skills, and a…

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Vermont Fresh Network 16th Annual Forum at Shelburne Farms (2012).
Photo: B. Harrewyn | Hoverfly Photography

Vermont Fresh Network

Chefs and farmers couldn’t have more opposite schedules. Chefs work primarily in the late afternoon and well into the evening. Farmers are early risers, falling into bed soon after summer poultry are locked in for the evening. The fact that chefs and farmers are like ships passing in the night is…

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Farms Program class of 2009.
Photo: Intervale Center.

The Intervale Center's Farms Program

The Farms Program, a nationally recognized farm business incubator, has supported the growth of dozens of farms since 1990. Farms are accepted into the program after a rigorous application process that includes developing a business plan and presenting it to staff and existing Intervale farmers. New farmers have access to land…

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