Nearly $500,000 in Grants Awarded to Connect More Vermont Kids & Families with Local Food

The Vermont Community Foundation has announced nine grants totaling $494,584 for the second year of its Food and Farm Initiative, designed to connect Vermont’s local food movement with the fight against hunger. The second round of grants represents a 60% increase in funding over the first year, thanks to growing support from donors.

The Food and Farm Initiative supports efforts that get local food to more Vermonters, especially those who struggle with issues of food insecurity. The Foundation is using research, gatherings, grants, and investments to strengthen the connections between farmers, distributors, and consumers; educate and engage kids and families; and build a coordinated, statewide structure to carry the work of Farm-to-School forward. Much of the work builds on recommendations made in the state’s Farm To Plate strategic plan, which was unveiled in 2009.

“This is more than simple check writing,” says Special Projects Director Janet McLaughlin, head of the Food and Farm Initiative. “We want to help prove that Vermont can reduce hunger and strengthen our local food system at the same time. We brought some of Vermont’s top food nonprofits together to develop collaborative projects that build on one another—and are proud to support projects that will make a lasting contribution to getting all Vermonters healthy, local food.”  

Among the nine organizations receiving a grant is Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day), a partnership of Shelburne Farms and NOFA-VT for a systems mapping project.

"The Vermont Farm-to-School Network has a shared goal of a thriving farm-to-school program in every Vermont community by 2020,” says Megan Camp, Vice President and Program Director at Shelburne Farms. “The systems mapping project will help us better understand key leverage points for creating change and inform a plan for coordinated action to get us there."

FEED’s systems map of Vermont’s Farm-to-School Network will help it move from a loose affiliation to a goal-oriented collective and ensure a true and lasting shift in how Vermont children eat at school. 

Learn more about the Initiative or make a donation.

Food & Farm Initiative Second Year Grants

The Center for an Agricultural Economy and partners the Intervale Center and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont received $72,645 for their project Vermont Produce for Schools.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) received $54,656 for their project Scaling Up and Out to Increase Local Food in Institutions.

Food Connects and partners Green Mountain Farm-to-School and Rutland Area Food and Farm Link received $74,923 for their project Changing Behavior When it Comes to Local Food.

Green Mountain Farm-to-School and partners Food Connects and Upper Valley Farm-to-School received $75,000 for the Harvest of the Month: A Campaign to Bring Farm-to-School to Every Vermont School.

Vermont FEED (Food Education Every Day), a partnership of Shelburne Farms and NOFA-VT, received $42,000 to support the Farm-to-School Institute, and $33,000 for a Systems Map for the Farm-to-School Network.

Upper Valley Farm-to-School and partners Food Connects, Green Mountain Farm-to-School, and VT-FEED received $41,000 for Regional Farm-to-School Capacity-Building and Training                      

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets received $26,360 for Vermont Farm-to-School Network Strategic Planning.

The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board received $40,000 to support Professional Development for Regional Farm-to-School Organizations.                             

The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund received $35,000 to support the Farm to Plate Network.     

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