Food Systems Sector

Vermont, a small rural New England state, is a national leader in innovative food systems work. The VT Farm to Plate Network with its 300 member organizations, are steadily working to increase the scale and reach of fresh local foods in schools, institutions, grocery stores, restaurants and homes. Educators and technical service providers are supporting the growth of sustainable food businesses. Funders are looking closely at the nexus of hunger, food access, and health and at how they can make a difference for all Vermonters.

Stakeholders across the food system, including policy makers, see investment in agriculture and local food production as a way to stimulate economic growth in our state. This effort is a unique collaboration between nonprofit organizations, private sector farms and food businesses, state government entities, capital providers and education institutions and fully utilizes John Kania and Mark Kramer’s Collective Impact framework as well as Mark Friedman’s Results Based Accountability methodology.

Vermont’s farm and food sector is as dynamic and vibrant as its results are — witness the successful implementation of the VT Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. Looking at – and learning from — the complex, interdependent relationships between humans and their food, an industry is being re-born. Everything from microbes found in compost facilities to innovations in hydroponics to identifying ways to expand regionally is under investigation, with great results to show for it.

Food systems work blends science, technology, engineering, and math with collaboration, spirit, literacy and ethics. Best business practices prevail. Socio-political, natural and environmental sciences help to weave together a holistic understanding of the broad, complex connections we all make as we come to better understand nourishment, the pursuit of health and well-being and the true sustainability of Vermont’s environment and agricultural heritage. This sector is prospering – and will endure – as it continues to thrive.

Common Good Vermont has been collaborating with food systems organizations since 2012, providing trainings to help strengthen and improve this sector’s capacity and effectiveness. Learn more about our working partnership here.

Related Resources

Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOVA-VT) The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont is a nonprofit association of farmers, gardeners, and consumers working to promote an economically viable and ecologically sound Vermont food system for the benefit of current and future generations.


UVM Food Systems UVM’s Food Systems Initiative is a cross-campus, transdisciplinary effort to promote research, teaching, and outreach on the most pressing agricultural and food issues of today.



Vermont Community Foundation The Food & Farm Initiative, through partnerships, research, gatherings, grants, and investments, we want to help create a nationally-recognized food system that helps more Vermont families enjoy the benefits of local food while opening up new markets for local farmers’ products.


Vermont Food Atlas The Vermont Farm to Plate Network is relocalizing food production and distribution in a statewide collaborative effort to rebalance our food system. A network of over 300 organizations encompassing all types and scales of agricultural-related production and processing businesses, government entities, educational institutions, distributors, retailers, industry leaders, and dozens of non-profits from food justice to technical assistance providers are working together to implement the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan.

Vermont Foodbank The mission of the Vermont Foodbank is to gather and share quality food and nurture partnerships so that no one in Vermont will go hungry.


Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets VAAFM facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment.


Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development Collaboration is central to carrying out the mission of helping Vermonters improve their quality of life and build strong communities. ACCD works with other state Agencies as well as businesses of all sizes, communities, educators, non-profits, students, recreational venues and many others. ACCD “sets the table” for opportunity.