Back to Newsfeed

Breakout Session RFP for 9th Annual Farm to Plate Network Gathering, November 7-8, 2019


In order to streamline the selection process and facilitate greater Network ownership of the 2019 Annual Gathering, we will be selecting breakout sessions from proposals submitted through the following form: We are looking to fill a minimum of 10 time slots, with each time slot representing an hour and a half. For session format, we’re looking to create a balance between explorative deep dives, skills-based workshops, and knowledge-based presentations of findings “from the field”. Each session format is described below.

Topic areas of need that will be prioritized in the selection process include:

  • Topics related to the overall Gathering theme, "At The Crossroads: Our Food and Farm Culture and Economy". Think about the theme in terms of what is needed to put our food system on a prosperous path at what is increasingly being viewed as an inflection point that will have major impacts to both Vermont's economy and culture. For example, proposals demonstrating alignment with the theme will address the cost of inaction (i.e., the proposal demonstrates and addresses the urgency of doing something now rather than waiting), touch upon creative and innovative approaches and models for dealing with changes in our food system that are already happening or on the horizon of possibility here or elsewhere and affect the financial and/or cultural well-being of our food system, and in general sessions that help in imagining and defining tangible actions to achieving success in light of market/environmental/social/policy trends in Vermont and nationally.
  • Understanding and Developing Regional (New England) Markets
  • Food Access, Food Justice
  • Public engagement and education related to bridging cultural divides related to agriculture and/or increasing agricultural literacy
  • Marketing
  • Business Viability
  • Innovation in environmental stewardship and climate smart agriculture (e.g., could be related to policy, production practices, infrastructure and investment)
  • Financing

Please submit your proposal even if it does not fit specifically with one of these topic areas, but take into consideration how the theme may help you frame your proposal.

Please submit your session proposal by July 12, 2019. If you have any questions, please contact We look forward to reviewing your submissions!

Deep Dives:

Deep Dives should examine a challenging idea or provocative question those in the food system have been wrestling with, and should help pollinate ideas and systems-level problem solving across Working Groups and Cross-Cutting Teams. The Deep Dives are our way of getting the collective brain power of the network into a room together to explore/examine/scrutinize/understand a pressing issue in the food system. Session design for deep dives should minimize presenting time and maximize discussion time, with the assumption being that everyone in the room has experiences relating to the subject. The role of the panelists is to provide grounding, context, and some framing around the relevancy of what is being explored, and then let the conversation evolve into a dynamic collaborative discussion. Because Deep Dives are dynamic in nature, creative design and strong facilitation are essential.


Workshops are skills based – a professional development opportunity for attendees. Workshops should be highly interactive and offer attendees the chance to learn or practice a specific skill that will be helpful to their work in the food system. Skills can be universally applicable across the different focuses and groups of the Network, or can be tailored more narrowly to a specific topic area.

Presentation/Findings from the Field:

“Findings from the Field” sessions are knowledge-based. They are an opportunity to present an update on research or recent projects. However, the traditional presentation portion should be limited to a maximum of 40 minutes, leaving time for group discussion or small breakouts that will build on the information presented to discuss practical implications and concrete next steps.