Network Gathering

Farm to Plate Header18


November 1-2, 2018, Killington Grand Resort 

The Farm to Plate Annual Gathering is the one time each year when the entire Farm to Plate Network comes together to reflect on what has been accomplished and plan for the challenges that lie ahead implementing Vermont’s food system plan. The theme for this year's Gathering will be Resiliency in a Changing Food System Landscape. We'll examine as a Network how Vermont's food system can create a greater capacity to learn and adapt, and maintain core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changing circumstances (economic, environmental, political etc).

Our keynote speaker is Laura Lengnick, the author of Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate. Prior to her current work as an author and the principle consultant at Cultivating Resilience she worked as a USDA soil scientist and researcher, a senate staffer for Tom Daschle, a contributor to the Third National Climate Assessment, and was the Director of the Sustainable Agriculture Program at Warren Wilson College for over 10 years.

And you won't want to miss out on hearing the results of our 2017 Local Food Count totals! How close are we to 10% local food consumption by Vermonters? We will also be sharing the results of interviews with food system stakeholders regarding the future of Vermont to Plate past 2020.


Registration costs for this year’s Gathering range from $65 to $224 depending on the number of days you are attending, the meal options you select, and whether or not you take advantage of the Early Bird Registration. All meal prices are inclusive of tips, taxes, and fees.

Please note that registration fees do not include overnight accommodations and participants will need to reserve accommodations separately.  Call The Killington Grand Resort at 800-282-9955 to book your room, and refer to the VT Sustainable Jobs Fund/Farm to Plate Gathering 2018.  Book by September 25th to ensure availability of blocked rooms.

Registration has now closed.


Below is the outline of the 2018 agenda

Day 1

8:00 - 9:15am  Registration and Networking

9:15 - 9:40am  Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:40 - 10:15am Plenary - Keynote with Laura Lengnick                 

10:15 - 11:20am Plenary - Panel to Explore Resiliency in Vermont's Food System with Laura Lengnick and others

Confirmed Panelists: John Sayles - CEO, Vermont Foodbank | Laura Edwards-Orr - ED, Red Tomato | Eric Paris - Tamarlane Farm & Kingdom View Compost | Travis Marcotte - ED, Intervale Center

11:20am - 12:30pm  Plenary - Vermont Food Resilience Cafe - Exploring Big Ideas With a Resiliency Lens

12:30 -1:45pm Lunch 

1:45 - 3:45pm Breakout Sessions

Making food systems change at the local level: Addressing food access through the town and regional planning process 
In this session we will share a resource to be launched in 2019, “Local Planning for Food Access: A Toolkit for Vermont’s Communities” which is intended to help community members, volunteers, planners, and local governments fight hunger and improve nutrition through town and regional planning and action. The toolkit includes strategies that advocates and communities can implement, examples of successful projects, sample language, resource documents, and points of contact for organizations that can help. In this interactive workshop, attendees will learn about the planning process and how to use this new toolkit to leverage town and regional plans to address food access, through land use decisions, transportation, economic development, and more. Attendees will also work in small groups to brainstorm how they can use the toolkit in their own communities.

Exploring Food System Resilience in the US and Abroad: Social, Economic, and Agricultural Policies & Outcomes

Countries and places around the globe have chosen markedly different paths from the US and Vermont in relationship to particular policies affecting the well being of the people who live there, as well as the integrity of the food systems and ecosystems which sustain them.   Among other things, regulations and policies around pesticides and genetically engineered products, healthcare, and higher education differ significantly. UN initiatives and goals related to climate change, climate adaptation, and human rights are considered very differently in the US, in Europe, and other parts of the world. Join us as we explore some of these differences in policy, process, and perspective - and discuss their relationship to issues such as farm viability, participation in decision making, and human and environmental health.

Integrated Capital: Using Business Resources, Financing, and Funding to Successfully Support Vermont Farm and Food Businesses
Are you a funder, lender, or technical advisor working within the food system? How do we ensure we are benefiting and sustaining the success of Vermont farmers and food producers? And what exactly, IS “integrated capital”? Join us as we explore and inventory the skills and resources we provide to Vermont’s food system through the array of financing, funding and technical assistance available. Let’s actively seek opportunities to knit and braid what we do  through discussion, collaboration and partnership.  Our session will include a facilitated panel discussion to jump start lively table discussions and problem solving. Farmers, producers and anyone interested in this work are also warmly welcome. And there will be treats. Because what’s a workshop without treats?

What's Up with the Wholesale Market? 
Shake-ups are happening across the wholesale marketplace, both in Vermont and across the region. This interactive panel will include a myriad of perspectives - a service provider who has worked with dozens of farm businesses around the state, a regional food hub, institutional and retail buyers, and a few producers that use wholesale channels to varying degrees in their businesses. Come learn more about the current state of the market and explore how changes are both opening up opportunities and creating challenges for VT producers and farm-based businesses. This session will also include significant time for participants to ask questions and share ideas. With better understanding of the implications of recent changes, participants will help inform the direction of pending research that will provide an in-depth study of the wholesale market.

Field Work: Building Connectivity for Tomorrow's Food System Workforce
Learn about work happening around the state to strengthen labor, education and business partnerships and to develop a pipeline for tomorrow’s food system workforce. This session will explore opportunities, barriers, resources and networks for meeting employer needs while providing authentic and engaging educational opportunities for students at many stages of their journey to workforce readiness - High School, Career and Technical Education, College, Post-Secondary, and Workforce Re-Entry. Educators and specialists from the field and members of the Education and Workforce Development Working Group will address existing efforts, both within and beyond the F2P Network, to improve the structural issues facing the food system’s labor needs, and lead a group discussion on the question “what’s next?”

What if We Ate What We Grew?
In this session, Salvation Farms will facilitate presentations from and a dialogue with individuals who have been immersed in on-farm food loss research across the country. This session will highlight: 1) what type of on-farm food loss research has occurred and by who, 2) what has been found in different regions and in different crop production and 3) what, if any, recommendations exist to develop supply chain responses that won’t unnecessarily burden the grower or negatively impact the marketplace. Quantitative and qualitative data will be shared along with research methods. The session will also touch on why this topic is important to include in food system development conversations. Beyond presentations, the session will allow ample time for dialogue between presenters and attendees.

4:00 - 5:15pm Plenary - Open Space Conversations to Dig Deeper into Big Ideas

5:30-8:00pm Cash Bar and Dinner

Day 2

7:00-8:30am Breakfast

8:30-8:45am Welcome Back

8:45-10:00am Plenary - Big Idea Presentations From Day One

10:00-10:30am The Future of the Farm to Plate Network Post 2020

10:30am-12:30pm Breakout Sessions

Lessons from the Young Farmer Movement: How States are Supporting the Next Generation and Implications for Vermont
With 40 farmer-led chapters across the country, the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) has engaged in successful campaigns at the federal level and in various states to pass laws that recruit and support the next generation of farmers and ranchers. With the average age of Vermont farmers rising and large amounts of Vermont farmland expected to transition as older farmers retire, this session will examine emerging trends among young farmers gleaned from NYFC’s National Young Farmer Survey. We’ll then dive in to policies that states are enacting--and that Vermont could replicate--to address top challenges facing young farmers, including access to affordable farmland, credit, and training. 

What is the Real Potential of Food Tourism?
Food tourism and agricultural tourism activities are becoming more common for farmers and other food system businesses - from beer tours to educational farm visits to a harvest festival or renting out farmhouse rooms for a farm stay. There is perhaps no trend more indicative of the changing face of farming and food businesses as it pulls in new skill sets, new land use patterns, and new questions about what fits into the local food economy. This session will provide brief background on trends in food tourism in Vermont, but focus primarily on participants' discussion of what they see happening on the ground today, what they see as the greatest potential (including potential problems) in this field, and how we might shape its future.

2020 and Beyond: Reducing and Recovering Food Loss and Recycling Food Waste
Globally, 40% of the world’s food is wasted. This is a triple threat: loss of food that could feed hungry people, loss of embodied resources represented in growing food and getting it to market, and greenhouse gases food gives off when buried in a landfill. In 2020, Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law will require all Vermonters to divert food waste from landfills. In the first two years of the law’s implementation, the Vermont Foodbank saw a doubling of rescued food donations. This session will examine the links between reducing food waste, food insecurity, and GHG emissions. We will explore how to get at the root of the problem and reduce food loss and waste at all levels of the food system and discuss options for recycling unavoidable food waste.

Building Infrastructure and Supporting Producers: an Update and Lessons Learned from Nourished by New England
Health Care Without Harm received a Local Food Promotions Program grant in 2016 to develop and implement two complimentary programs—a Harvest of the Quarter program for hospitals, Nourished by New England, and a producer support program, Faces of New England. With roll out in September of 2016, we have begun to understand the progress of the program—how we are supporting a sustainable food system and where we need to improve. This presentation will help participants understand what the Nourished and Faces programs are, what we aim to achieve, and lessons learned for building new markets for sustainable regional food.  We will workshop ways for advocacy organizations to support producers.

Planning for Vermont's Farm Future: How Can Local, Regional, and State Planning Support Vermont's Working Landscape?
As Vermont's farmers navigate age, low milk prices, farm viability, climate changes, policy changes, and development pressures, how can Vermont meet its various state goals and priorities, like farmland preservation, forestry, renewable energy, and new housing, without adversely impacting any of them? How do communities plan for future land use of our changing agricultural economy? How can land use planners, conservation organizations, state agencies, community members, and farmers collaborate at the local level? This session will tackle these, and other, questions. Participants will get a first glance at a UVM Extension/ VHCB project studying strategies to ensure ag land stays in production. Panelists and participants will deep-dive into how we can thoughtfully and proactively meet these challenges. Robust discussion encouraged! Bring your ideas!

New Approaches to Address Water Quality On Vermont Farms
As water quality has been elevated in importance on Vermont's farms, it has also come with big price tags to meet today's requirements on individual farms.  As farms assess how to manage the decisions to either implement the necessary practices or consider alternatives, several organizations have been working together to re-think what the alternative options could be.  This session will provide a deep dive into 4 case scenarios of how different options of not making the water quality investments and instead investing resources into longer term solutions aimed at benefiting the farmer and the land have evolved.

12:30-1:30pm Closing and Lunch


This year’s Farm to Plate Network Gathering is being underwritten by the Vermont Community Foundation.

VT Community Foundation Logo