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|Vermont Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan 2021-2030
|This Strategic Plan was co-authored by a diverse range of contributors and organizations from across the state.
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF),Vermont Farm to Plate Network,Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM).
Strategic Plan Development Team consists of: Jake Claro, VSJF Farm to Plate DirectorSarah Danly, VSJF Farm to Plate Network ManagerBecka Warren, VSJF Farm to Plate Plan Project Coordinator & EditorEllen Kahler, VSJF Executive DirectorAbbey Willard, VAAFM Agriculture Development Division DirectorKyle Harris, VAAFM Agriculture Development Specialist III
|State Government; Non-profit organizations/entities
|VAAFM, John Merck Fund, Henry P. Kendall Foundation, Sandy River Charitable Trust
|Total Project Budget
|The 15 goals are articulated under 4 category sections (A, B, C, and D):
A. Sustainable Economic Development Goals1. Food system economic output, employment, and establishments in Vermont will increase.2. Demand for Vermont food will increase.3. Vermont’s production portfolio is more diverse, farm and food businesses of all types will increase their economic viability, and businesses have equitable access to capital and to production, processing, aggregation, and distribution infrastructure appropriate to their needs.4. Vermont food system jobs provide livable wages, safe, healthy, and supportive workplace conditions, and access to health care and other benefits.5. Vermont farms and food system businesses have sufficient, diverse, and reliable employees, and there are accessible and equitable opportunities in Vermont to gain the knowledge and skills for food system careers.
B. Environmental Sustainability Goals6. Vermont farm and food businesses will increase carbon sequestration and reduce food system-related greenhouse gas emissions, and are able to adapt to climatic changes due to global warming, including floods, droughts, extreme storms, and pest and disease pressures.7. Vermont farm stewardship is increasing ecological diversity and improving soil and water quality, and farm stewards are supported, compensated, and recognized for their positive contributions to the environment and public good.8. Vermont’s agricultural land remains in productive agricultural use, access to that land is more affordable and equitable, and land-use planning decisions maintain and promote a strong and viable food system.9. Edible food, food scraps, and other food residuals are used for their highest purpose, and not considered waste.
C. Healthy Local Food for All Vermonters Goals10. The amount of Vermont-grown food that fulfills the dietary and cultural needs of people in Vermont will increase.11. All people in Vermont increasingly have the financial resources to access local food, including through programs that provide support for purchasing local food.12. All people in Vermont are able to access locations in which local food is sold, served, or provided.13. All people in Vermont can access the knowledge, skills, and resources to select, grow, hunt, fish, forage, process, store, and prepare local food.14. Vermont’s food system is resilient and able to provide adequate and accessible healthy local food in the face of emergencies—including climate-related natural disasters.
D. Racial Equity Goals15. Food system organizations and stakeholders prioritize racial equity and actions to eradicate structural racism in their work, are accountable to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) leadership, and support BIPOC participation and representation.
|A full food system community (including government, policymakers, producers, consumers, distributors, etc.)
|Plan Recommendation Structure
|1. Vision statement (guiding vision)
2. Strategic goals (conditions to be created by 2030): this section outlines 4 goal categories (Sustainable Economic Development; Environmental Sustainability; Healthy Local Food for All Vermonters; Racial Equity). The first three correspond with the three legislative outcomes. The fourth is our commitment to racial equity. Each goal includes objectives and “example indicators” to achieve them and objectives to measure progress along the way.
3. 34 Priority Strategies (recommendations of programs, investments, and policies to help meet the objectives and reach goals). These strategies are often “a distillation of interrelated recommendations from the food system briefs” (p. 9).
4. Supplemental Materials (54 food system product, market, and issue briefs as well as specific action steps related to priority strategies)
|Catalyst for Plan
|In 2009, “Vermont Legislature, in Act 54” created the Farm to Plate Investment Program and tasked the VSJF to write a 10-year strategic plan to strengthen VT’s food system. This Plan covered the time period of 2011-2020.
The 2019 “Vermont Legislature, in Act 83, “An Act Relating to Agricultural Development,” called for the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in consultation with the Vermont Farm to Plate Investment Program and industry stakeholders, to deliver a report with recommendations to stabilize and revitalize Vermont’s agricultural industry” (p. 6).
|Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) and Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) enlisted 52 subject matter experts to author 54 food system briefs assessing the current conditions of the Vermont food system and making specific recommendations for improvement (briefs can be found within the appendix of the Strategic Plan).
These authors worked with an additional 111 contributing experts and included three large Farm to Plate Network Gatherings, 13 industry focus groups, and network and organizational leadership meetings with industry experts and food producers. Lastly, they conducted a public survey of food systems concerns and hopes with responses from over 1,100 Vermont residents.
The implementation of the Vermont Agriculture & Food System Strategic Plan is built around the Collective Impact framework with VSJF serving as the backbone organization. Additionally, they outlined “funding” as a sixth and necessary condition. They are outlined as followed:
1) “A Common Agenda: The Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan 2021–2030 articulates a shared vision and identifies ways to strengthen Vermont’s food system over the coming decade.
2) Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Farm to Plate Network activities advance the recommendations in the Plan—and tackle new, emergent ideas—in a coordinated fashion.
3) Continuous Communication: The Farm to Plate Network and the Farm to Plate website (vtfarmtoplate.com) provide ongoing opportunities for communication and collaboration.
4) Shared Measurement: Shared, quantifiable objectives and the Results Based Accountability (RBA) framework are used consistently across Network activities to track progress on the 15 goals of the Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan 2021–2030.
5) Backbone Support: Farm to Plate Network activities are facilitated by the backbone support of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF). VSJF administers the Farm to Plate Network maintains the Farm to Plate website, receives and manages funding for the Network, provides continuous communication to Network members, manages some Network initiatives, and publishes regular updates of indicators of progress toward the goals and objectives.
6) Funding: Multi-year funding for the Farm to Plate Network, administered by VSJF, ensures the Plan’s goals can be achieved” (Vermont Farm to Plate, 2021).
|Theoretical Framework(s) Employed
|Collective Impact framework, with additional condition of “funding.”
|Theoretical Framework(s): Additional Literature
|Kania, John and Mark Kramer, 2011, “Collective Impact,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, https://ssir.org/articles/entry/collective_impact.
|18 months (2019-2020)
|The third section of this document, “Priority Strategies,” (p. 29) outlines specific ways to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan.
As the document states, “the priority strategies are a distillation of interrelated recommendations from the food system briefs and thus, if implemented, may solve challenges in multiple areas of the food system. The Supplemental Materials contain a table of the priority strategies and the recommendations from the product, market, and issue briefs from which they derive. Each priority strategy is followed by a color-coded numerical icon(s) which indicate the outcome area(s) and goal(s) it addresses….
In some cases, a strategy may be within the purview and capacity of a specific organization, state agency, or the Legislature. In other cases, implementation of a priority strategy or its constituent parts can only be accomplished through multi-stakeholder collaboration” (p. 29).
|10 years, 2021-2030
|Each goal includes objectives and “example indicators” to achieve them and measure progress along the way.
|International Development Framework(s)
|Current Plan Status
|Government Adoption Status
|Government Adoption Status (Notes)
|Agency of Agriculture, the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Agriculture, and the VT Climate Council (a statutory created entity) have all fully signed on and are actively using it in their planning and implementation efforts.
|View Supplemental Documents