As Farm to Plate movement blooms, Vermont food and farm jobs help drive economy

In January 2011, when the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan was released, an economic analysis indicated that with every five percent increase in food production in the state, 1,700 new jobs would be created. Goal #1 of the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan is to increase Vermonters’ local food consumption from five to ten percent over ten years.

As Farm to Plate movement blooms, Vermont food and farm jobs help drive economy – Burlington Sustainable Agriculture |

On-Farm Slaughter May Be Legal, But It’s Complicated

H-515, the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets housekeeping bill, made it legal for farmers to facilitate on-farm slaughter, but not conduct it themselves. The limitations – and wording – of the rule are causing some frustration and confusion.

On-Farm Slaughter May Be Legal, But It's Complicated | Vermont Public Radio.

Market Benefit and Incentives PPT-Vermont 2013 – Helping Public Markets Grow

Since I’m back in Vermont for the 2014 Direct Marketing Conference, I decided to upload the Power Point from the 2013 Wholesome Wave convening that Erin Buckwalter of NOFA-VT and I gave about the 2013 Vermont Market Currency Report. I’ll add notes for each slide sometime in the next month or two but the data will still be helpful to many.

Market Benefit and Incentives PPT-Vermont 2013 – Helping Public Markets Grow.

VT Currency Report wins a 2013 American Graphic Design Award

Our Vermont Market Currency Report won a national design award, thanks to our amazing and patient designer Matt Hannigan, now working with GoodThree Design. I heartily recommend working with them on your next report.

American Graphic Design Awards 2013.

VT Market Currency

Ben and Jerry’s Foundation accepting new applicants for their Social Change Program

Another great foundation to work your magic on, folks….
Purpose: The Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program supports non-profit grassroots, constituent-led organizations across the country that are using direct action, grassroots community-organizing strategies to accomplish their goals. We consider proposals that are aligned with the Foundation’s broad interests in social justice, environmental justice and sustainable food systems. Although we appreciate the value of direct service programs in meeting individual and family needs, we do not fund such programs.

Process: The process starts with the Letter of Interest (LOI). We fund organizations with budgets of $500,000 or less. Grant awards are up to $20,000 for a one-year period.

We have three funding cycles per year: two for new applicants and one for Renewals.

The next deadline for new applicants is September 13th, 2013 for consideration in our 1st Quarter 2014 grant cycle.

What We Do | Ben and Jerry's Foundation.

Vermont Feasibility Report

Very proud to release the Vermont Feasibility Market Currency Report this week. I was contracted last fall to do this work by Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Marketing (VAAFM) in partnership with Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT).

The focus was whether there were opportunities to merge the coupon (FMNP and incentives) and SNAP programs into a universal currency for all of Vermont’s farmers markets (and also ultimately assist CSAs and other direct marketing outlets) in order to streamline the systems now being used.
The final report covers technology issues, market capacity, costs and outreach for the Vermont farmers markets and offers recommendations for streamlining through pilots and policy and further analysis.

This link takes you to my website where the report is listed.

I am happy to talk about the report or to answer any questions.


Request for proposals for Farm To Cafeteria conference

“6th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Digging In!” Burlington, Vermont August 2-5, 2012
Presented by: National Farm to School Network

Proposal Application Period: February 8, 2012 – March 7, 2012

No proposals will be accepted after March 7, 2012


Update from Jean at NOFA in Vermont

Since Jean Hamilton from NOFA-VT is scheduled to speak at our first statewide conference in Louisiana, I have been in touch with her during this difficult week up there. She sent me this email:

Our offices were closed yesterday due to the fact that all roads into town were completely flooded. I tried driving in from two of the three directions when I finally got a glimpse of the Winooski river turned sea.

So, I headed into Burlington instead where I spent the day helping farmers at the Intervale cart produce to high ground. A bunch of us filled a cooler with as much as four farms could harvest before the water took their fields, only to realize that the water was definitely going to fill the cooler as well. Luckily, our local school district is very supportive of local farms and invited them to move all their stuff up to a HUGE walk in cooler at the middle school. It was an emotionally confusing day with lots of sunshine, inspiring community cooperation, and oh so much farm food gone bye-bye.
For the most part, people are taking this opportunity to reaffirm the things that matter most, but I know there are some very low spirits among the farmers.

Anyway, it was touching to come home, see this email, and realize how many people are thinking of us up here.

Disaster planning

What a few months for the natural world in North America. It seems that we are now fully in the next phase of environmental uncertainty and change, and as market organizers, must plan for the eventuality of it coming to us.
Vermont is currently in the grips of the devastation and as a recent visitor, I worry about those farmers and markets that I met while there. I know from experience that the issues they will face over the next few months will be both unique to their place and similar to New Orleans 2005, Iowa 2008 or even the horror of Japan 2011 and so on. Sure we can help and should help, those of us who have seen it, but more importantly:
How can we begin to add some resilience into our organizations so that we can quickly react to our community when they need us? Is funding the top priority after disasters, or is the primary responsibility a series of human responses that offer comfort and solace? And what can be done as a national community of markets to offer help without becoming a FEMA-like casualty of bureaucracy?
Is this a series of audio pieces or maybe even a packet, downloadable for those who are ready to plan?
I am beginning to work on post-disaster planning for markets. If you feel like adding your thoughts, do send me any ideas as they pop up. And good luck to Vermont and to the entire Northeast.


email me at dar wolnik at gmail if you have ideas or details that you want to share.

Vermont Enhancing Farmers Markets with Evaluation Tools

What: Enhancing Farmers’ Markets with Evaluation Tools
When: Monday June 20. 11 am – 2 pm
Where: Vermont Agency of Agriculture Conference Room, 116 State Street, Montpelier, VT
Note: We will provide coffee, tea, and light refreshments
Led by Market Trainer/Researcher Darlene Wolnik, sponsored by NOFA-VT