A major new commitment of federal, state, and private funding
will help Vermont's Farm to School programs expand in every county
in Vermont. The funds will strengthen links between farmers, school
cafeterias and classrooms, community members, and local food hubs.
Successful programs have shown that schools are a key partner
towards establishing stable year-round institutional markets for
Vermont grown products.
Complementary grant programs from the USDA, the Vermont Agency
of Agriculture, the Vermont Community Foundation, and the Vermont
Department of Health will total over half a million dollars for
this effort. The funding for farmers and producers, public schools,
nonprofits, and businesses statewide will: 1) integrate local food
into Vermont cafeterias, classrooms, and communities; 2) link
farmers with institutional buyers to expand year-round use of
Vermont products; 3) improve processing and distribution hubs to
meet the increasing demand for locally-grown products; and 4)
expand successful programs to underserved parts of Vermont.
• $75,000 Vermont Community Foundation Grant to
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, with Rutland Area Farm and
Food Link (RAFFL) as one of three partner organizations for the
project, which is called Building Farm to Institution
• $2,150 Agency of Agriculture Farm to School
Planning Grant to Lothrop Elementary (Pittsford)
• $5,000 Agency of Agriculture Local Food Market
Development Grant to Vermont Bean Crafters (Rutland)
• $3,769 Agency of Agriculture Local Food Market
Develop Grant to Evening Song Farm (Cuttingsville)
"Focusing on our schools offers an enormous opportunity to test
a range of innovative programs that help reach food-insecure
Vermonters," said Vermont Community Foundation President & CEO
Stuart Comstock-Gay. "What we learn here will lay the groundwork
for establishing a food system that opens new markets to farmers
and can expand to fit the needs of other institutions that want to
purchase Vermont-grown products year-round."
The Vermont Community Foundation awarded over $284,000 in grants
as part of the launch of its new Food and Farm Initiative, which
was established to support farmers and others who want to help
families put nutritious, local food on the table regardless of
where they live, what they earn, or how much they cook. Other
foundations and Community Foundation fundholders, including Lyman
Orton, partnered with the Foundation in awarding the grants.
Through research, grants, and investments-and in partnership with
funders and providers across the state-the Vermont Community
Foundation will help Vermont develop a nationally-recognized food
system that sustains local farmers and creates healthy communities
for all Vermonters.
"Since 2006, the Agency of Agriculture has worked with partners
across Vermont to create a nationally-renowned Farm to School
program. Our model has been replicated by other states, and on the
federal level," said Chuck Ross, Secretary of the Agency of
Agriculture, Food, and Markets. "Thanks to these expanded
resources, the Farm to School program in Vermont will continue to
grow, creating new and important opportunities for local farmers,
and providing more students with nutritious, wholesome foods."
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture announced $75,000 in funding
for its 2013 Farm to School grantees and $40,000 in funding for its
2012 Vermont Local Food Market Development Grants. While the first
category goes directly to schools, the Market grants are intended
to increase Vermont producers' access to institutional markets and
the quantity of local food available in Vermont institutions. This
funding complements the $100,000 USDA federal grant received by the
Vermont Agency of Agriculture for Vermont food hubs, which was
recently announced by Senator Leahy, along with Senator Sanders and
The Vermont Department of Health is funding Farm to School
through an $80,000 grant program aimed at improving nutrition,
healthy lifestyle, and food education in Vermont schools.