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Spring field in Bethel. Photo: Liz West

From 1982 to 2012, agricultural land decreased more in Vermont than any other New England state: -322,728 acres (-20.5%). Not surprisingly, many F2P stakeholders cited affordable access to farmland as a serious barrier for new farmers or those seeking to grow and expand. Productive farmland, especially in relatively close proximity to market areas, is often too expensive for a farmer to purchase without significant cost-sharing programs or a risky level of debt fully collateralized by the land itself. Farmland parcels for sale are often too large for the needs of an individual Vermont farmer who is seeking 3-10 acres, for example, for smaller-scale vegetable production.

To meet the F2P goals of strengthening Vermont’s food system, the rate of farmland conversion needs to decrease. This subsection of Farm Inputs describes a variety of programs for conserving land and expanding access to land exist, including conservation easement programs, cooperative land management arrangements, and farm incubator programs.




Resources

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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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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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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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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Des Marais Farm wetlands in Brandon
Photo: Vermont NRCS

Spotlight on Wetlands in Vermont’s Otter Creek Watershed

Written By Amy Overstreet  Here in Vermont, wetlands help filter polluted runoff that could otherwise carry chemicals and bacteria into Lake Champlain and other waterbodies. But, half of the world's wetlands have disappeared since 1900. Development continues to pose threats to wetlands, even though their value and importance are obvious. Here in…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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