Farm to Plate Strategic Plan
By many accounts, Vermont has developed the most comprehensive statewide food system plan in the country and the ﬁrst of its kind in New England.
In 2009, Farm to Plate Investment Program legislation was signed into law and tasked the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) with the creation of a ten year Farm to Plate Strategic Plan to:
- increase economic development in Vermont’s farm and food sector;
- create jobs in the farm and food economy;
- improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters.
Chapter 1 of the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan provides an overview of the development process VSJF used to work with over 1,200 farmers, producers, technical assistance providers, and farm and food sector industry leaders to create Vermont's food system plan. Chapter 2: Getting to 2020 highlights 25 goals and dozens of strategies to strengthen and grow Vermont’s food system, as well as the progress to reach those goals. The Plan explores the major issues impacting Vermont’s food system through analysis of high impact leverage areas in Chapter 3 and broader cross-cutting issues in Chapter 4.
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Explore Vermont's Food System
Chapter 3 Overview
The components of Vermont’s food system are explored in depth over the course of seven sections in Chapter 3. Each section focuses on current conditions, analyzes gaps and barriers to strengthening Vermont’s food system, identifies emerging opportunities, and provides a series of objectives and strategies aimed at reaching the 25 goals presented in Chapter 2.
3.1: Consumer Demand
This section attempts to answer these questions: Can Vermont feed itself? How much money is spent on local food purchases in Vermont? This section describes where our food comes from and where people buy food, and outlines key variables for understanding how to boost consumer demand for local food products. This section also reviews programs that provide consumer education and community outreach on food issues (e.g., food access programs), and documents some contemporary examples of the marketing of Vermont’s food system to local and regional consumers.
3.2: Farm Inputs
This section focuses on resources such as land, soil, fertilizer, animal feed, seed, labor, equipment, energy, and farm input businesses that are essential for food production, as well as opportunities for reducing farm production expenses.
3.3: Food Production
This section looks at issues impacting growing and raising food products in Vermont, including expanding food production for local and regional markets. Major categories include dairy production, livestock grown for meat, maple syrup, fruits and vegetables, grains, honey, beer, hard cider, spirits, wine, and fish.
Food Processing & Manufacturing
3.4: Food Processing & Manufacturing
This section provides an overview of issues and challenges in food processing and manufacturing that were voiced during the F2P planning process, as well as examples of challenges and opportunites drawn from current examples in the state.
Aggregation, Distribution, and Storage
3.5: Aggregation, Distribution, and Storage
Vermont has the potential to significantly increase food production in-state. Wholesale distribution and storage is an important part of supplying all markets, from restaurants to supermarkets. What does Vermont's wholesale distribution look like, and is the current system a limiting factor to Vermont farmers and food enterprises reaching local and regional markets? Are there sufficient storage facilities in the state to meet current and future demand? This section will analyze the process of aggregating and delivering food from the primary producer to end consumers at supermarkets, restaurants, schools, convenience or general stores, and other retail outlets.
3.6: Retail Distribution
Can Vermont's farm and food producers access local and regional markets? What is needed to improve access to these markets? This section covers the variety of locations where Vermonters purchase food, such as grocery stores, country stores, food co-ops, farmers’ markets, CSAs, restaurants, superstores, schools, and hospitals.
3.7: Nutrient Management
This section explores the management of food waste, livestock manure, fertilizer, and other inputs in order to minimize the negative impacts of nutrient losses on the environment and to provide sufficient nutrients for crop and animal growth throughout their life cycles.