New strategic plan examines Vermont’s agriculture and food system

The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund's Farm to Plate Initiative and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) have released the Vermont Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan 2021–2030.

With more than 1,500 Vermonters helping to shape its content over 18 months, the plan lays out a vision, 15 goals, 34 priority strategies, and 276 recommendations for advancing the agriculture and food system in the state.

Focus groups with more than 120 Vermont industry members - such as beef, dairy, sheep and goat, maple, vegetable and berry producers; Vermont Cheese Council board members; farmers' market managers; specialty food association members; and Farm to School leaders - also helped shape the plan.

The Plan provides in-depth insights across 54 product, market, and issue briefs which are the foundation for its goals and strategies. The briefs were written by 149 experts, including many farmers, food business owners, producer associations, VAAFM personnel, and other knowledgeable stakeholders. They examine the bottlenecks, gaps, and opportunities specific to the topic, and they recommend strategies to advance them.

For producers, the plan offers briefs that pertain to their particular products, such as dairy, goats, grains, and much more; briefs that provide insight on various market channels, such as grocery stores, restaurants, and others; and briefs that cover a range of issues, including climate change, consumer demand, marketing, and supporting future farmers.

The plan and all the individual briefs can be downloaded at vtfarmtoplate/plan.

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