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Counting Local Food Consumption: Longitudinal Data and Lessons from Vermont

With interest growing in local food systems as a community development tool, scholars and practitioners are looking for methods to count progress toward benchmarks. A new article, Counting Local Food Consumption: Longitudinal Data and Lessons from Vermont, released by the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD) reports on efforts to count local food consumption as part of Vermont’s statewide strategic plan for food systems development. Authors of the article include David Conner, Community Development and Applied Economics associate professor at the University of Vermont; Florence Becot of the Ohio State University; Ellen Kahler, executive director at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF); Jake Claro Farm to Plate director at VSJF; and Annie Harlow, executive committee at Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN). The article provides longitudinal data from three waves of counting (2011, 2014, and 2017), and finds increases over time due to both increased food consumption and improved counting methods. The paper reflects on successes and challenges over the study period, focusing on data availability, key assumptions, and limitations. It concludes with future directions of inquiry into measuring food relocalization efforts. Photo courtesy of Pete's Greens.

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Vermont Food and Health Program Inventory

This document, prepared by the Health Cross-Cutting Team, presents a sampling of the wide variety of programs across Vermont that address the intersection of food and health, from community-based nutrition education programs to a hospital supporting a community cold storage facility. This resource also identifies programs with an intended outcome of "increasing consumption of local food" or "assisting local farmers with costs," and the CCT hopes that this comparison of programs may be helpful to organizations who would like to add a local aspect to their food programs. These examples were collected over the course of 2018 by the Farm to Plate Network Health Cross-Cutting Team (CCT). The CCT developed and disseminated a survey that received these responses. All information is self-reported.

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Farm Viability

A collection of resources aimed to aid farmers and technical assistance providers in strengthening the financial performance and viability of farm and food businesses.

Farm Viability 2016 Maple Business Benchmark

The 2016 Maple Business Benchmark is the fourth year of financial record analysis for a small group of commercial syrup producers. The University of Vermont Extension worked with seventeen maple producers to complete financial analysis of their maple enterprise but only eleven financial records were deemed suitable and accurate enough for inclusion in the 2016 group analysis.

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Farm Viability 'Business for Sale' Valuation

Following is a discussion on ‘Business for Sale’ valuation models to assist farms, value added businesses, and agricultural business planning consultants assist farms in planning for eventual farm/business transfer. Primary questions: How to determine the value of the business? How to present the ’Business for Sale’?

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Energy

A collection of resources providing information about energy use, renewable energy, and alternative energy forms on farms.

Energy Promoting Adoption of Biomass Fuels for Heating Vegetable Greenhouses in Vermont

This project demonstrated the use of biomass heating for greenhouse vegetable production at sites across Vermont.

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Financing Case Studies

A wide variety of financing options across the capital continuum are available to assist with the capital needs of Vermont’s food system businesses. However, navigating through the multitude of financing options can be overwhelming. In response to the need to help businesses better understand and navigate the variety of financing options available to them, the Financing Cross-Cutting Team of the Farm to Plate Network created a series of case studies based on types of financing used by Vermont food businesses. The case studies cover convertible debt (High Mowing Organic Seeds), farmland financing (Bread & Butter Farm), and royalty financing (Liz Lovely).

Financing Case Studies Seeding the Future with Convertible Debt: A Financing Case Study of High Mowing Organic Seeds

A wide variety of financing options across the capital continuum are available to assist with the capital needs of Vermont’s food system businesses. However, navigating through the multitude of financing options can be overwhelming. In response to the need to help businesses better understand and navigate the variety of financing options available to them, the Financing Cross-Cutting Team of the Farm to Plate Network convened a series of panels that illuminated financing options that different food system businesses have used—High Mowing Organic Seeds and convertible debt, Bread & Butter Farm and a complex farmland deal, Liz Lovely and royalty financing, and Aqua Vitae and convertible debt. The first financing case study, Seeding the Future With Convertible Debt, focuses on High Mowing Organic Seeds--a producer of more than 600 varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb, and flower seed that employs more than 40 people in Wolcott--and convertible debt.

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Financing Case Studies Bread & Butter Farm Case Study

A wide variety of financing options across the capital continuum are available to assist with the capital needs of Vermont’s food system businesses. However, navigating through the multitude of financing options can be overwhelming. In response to the need to help businesses better understand and navigate the variety of financing options available to them, the Financing Cross-Cutting Team of the Farm to Plate Network convened a series of panels that illuminated financing options that different food system businesses have used—High Mowing Organic Seeds and convertible debt, Bread & Butter Farm and a complex farmland deal, Liz Lovely and royalty financing, and Aqua Vitae and convertible debt. The second financing case study, Complex Dough, focuses on the land deal that enabled Bread & Butter Farm to purchase a conserved farm in Chittenden County. Nearly a dozen organizations and more than 25 individuals were involved, including a statewide land trust, a local land trust, two municipalities, an agricultural lender, a foundation, an angel investor, CSA members, and nonprofits. Although this particular patchwork quilt of financing sources was unique to Bread & Butter Farm, the fact is that new farm ventures in Vermont must often pull together a variety of financing sources, particularly if the purchase…

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