• Updated Website Address: LocalBanquet.org
  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation
  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion
  • Updated Website Address: LocalBanquet.org

    We've changed our website. Please update your bookmarks to LocalBanquet.org LocalBanquet.org is where you will now find the latest Local Banquet stories, a new Story of the Day update feature, features from the archives, and information on how to contribute to Local Banquet if you're interested in writing about Vermont agriculture. 

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  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation

    Back in 2007, Local Baquet ran an article by Bonnie Hudspeth on maple innovation and production in Vermont. Since then, maple production in Vermont has tripled to 1.8 million gallons a year and innovation seems to have entered a new golden (or perhaps amber) age. We did a quick maple innovation news round up for 2018 / 2019 to help everyone keep up with the some of the trends. 

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  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion

    In 2015, the USDA funded a project for UVM researchers to engage in discussions with Vermont farmers about the idea of being paid for ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are things farmers do that improve the environment for everyone, a common example is grass-based farms capturing carbon in the soil as a way to combat climate change. Some services happen naturally through sustainable farming, others take more of an incentive to implement, and either way some policy makers believe that farmers shoudl be compensated for their contribution. 

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Farm to Plate Gathering Looks at Progress in Last 10 Years

Farm to Plate Gathering Looks at Progress in Last 10 Years

Written on

November 08 , 2018

The following is from a press release provided by Vermont Farm to Plate

Over 250 members of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network convened November 1-2, 2018 at the eighth annual Farm to Plate Gathering in Killington where it was announced that local food and beverage consumption in 2017 by Vermonters increased to 12.9 percent, surpassing a 2020 target of 10 percent.


The 2020 target of 10 percent was created with the thought that doubling the 2010 estimate of 5 percent local food and beverage consumption would create economic growth in the state, including 1,500 net new jobs, new business creation and investment in infrastructure. In fact, this greater than anticipated increase in consumption resulted in 6,559 net new jobs and 742 net new businesses created from 2010-2017, according to a compilation of data sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau’s nonemployer statistics and the USDA’s Census of Agriculture. The research on local food and beverage consumption in Vermont was conducted by David Conner, University of Vermont associate professor with expertise in the economics of sustainable food systems.


“When the Farm to Plate Network first created the targets, the thinking was that if you increase consumption and demand of local food, production would need to increase to meet this new demand,” said Jake Claro, Farm to Plate Network director. “Increased production would then lead to more jobs for Vermonters and a stronger economy in our rural communities. From the most recent data collected, we see that this has indeed been the case.”


Claro said that while the latest results are a reason to celebrate, there is still more work that needs to be done to strengthen Vermont’s food system. Vermonters and visitors spend $2.24 billion on food and beverages, which includes groceries and eating out. Of that, $289 million was spent on local food and beverages in 2017. Every Vermonter can help Vermont farmers and businesses by choosing to purchase local products on a day-to-day basis. Every purchase matters in order to maintain and improve upon the latest results.


“We need to continue investing in our local food system because our collective investment is making an impact for Vermont farmers, food businesses and our rural communities,” said Claro. “We are still too reliant on food grown and distributed from outside our region if only $289 million of $2.24 billion is spent on local food and beverages in our state. If we want to make Vermont’s working landscape and rural communities more resilient in the face of climate change and food insecurity, we need to continue the work we’ve started.”


This year’s Farm to Plate Gathering addressed resiliency in the state’s changing food system landscape. Comprised of farmers, food producers, food system businesses, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, capital providers, food system funders and government officials, the Farm to Plate Network is responsible for implementing Vermont’s statewide food system plan to increase jobs and economic development in the farm and food economy, and improving access to healthy local food for all Vermonters.


Attendees examined 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 such as climate change and consolidation in the national food system.


“The northeast has always been on the cutting edge of food systems,” said Laura Lengnick, keynote speaker and author of Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate. “If we are ready to step forward, there’s no way we can’t come up with the solutions that we need.”


During the event, attendees agreed that the major challenges they see ahead for the resiliency of Vermont’s food system are climate change, improving the natural resource base rather than depleting it, an aging farmer population, and a disconnect for consumers on where their food comes from and the impact their purchases have on the local economy and the environment.


“A locally based food system helps us to mitigate the worst damages, like food scarcity, that could come from a rapidly changing climate,” said Ellen Kahler, executive director of Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. “We need to have a vibrant local food system that is economically viable.”


Additional topics that address the food system were explored at the Farm to Plate Gathering. Addressing food access through the town and regional planning process; using business resources, financing and funding to support Vermont farm and food businesses; the current state of the wholesale marketplace in the region; building connectivity for tomorrow’s food system workforce; how states are supporting the next generation of farmers; what is the real potential of food tourism; reducing and recovering food loss and recycling food waste; building infrastructure and supporting producers; planning for Vermont’s working farm future; and new approaches to address water quality on Vermont farms were all sessions where Network members shared, learned from one another, and identified gaps and potential next steps for action.



Farm to Plate is Vermont’s food system plan being implemented statewide to increase economic development and jobs in Vermont’s farm and food sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. The ten-year Farm to Plate Strategic Plan (2011-2020) to create a viable, sustainable, and resilient food system to produce and distribute our food is being implemented by the Farm to Plate Network—over 350 farm and food sector businesses, non-profits, institutions, and government agencies from across the state. Farm to Plate is a program of the Vermont Legislature, administered by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, a non-profit organization based in Montpelier, Vermont. www.VTFarmtoPlate.com


Photo caption: The plenary panel at the eighth annual Farm to Plate Network Gathering explores resiliency in Vermont’s food system with keynote speaker and author Laura Lengnick. From left to right: Lengnick, author of Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate; Eric Paris, owner, Tamarlane Farm & Kingdom View Compost; Travis Marcotte, executive director, Intervale Center; Laura Edwards-Orr, executive director, Red Tomato; and John Sayles, CEO, Vermont Foodbank.

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Our stories, interviews, and essays reveal how Vermont residents are building their local food systems, how farmers are faring in a time of great opportunity and challenge, and how Vermont’s agricultural landscape ties into larger questions of sustainability and the future of our food supply.