Tag Archives: New England

Helping Farmers Grow Up to Be Successful

There has been a lot of great discussion going on in response to the recent New York Times editorial, Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers. Author and farmer Bren Smith laments the fact that, despite a great resurgence of interest in food and in farming as a career, making a profitable business out of farming is still a huge challenge.

At NOFA-VT, we firmly believe that sustainable farming must include the farm’s financial stability.

That’s why we put so much energy into building diverse markets and educating consumers, and why our technical assistance and farmer training programs include business planning, enterprise analysis, and marketing alongside soil management and weed control. We advocate on state and federal levels for legislation that supports small-scale, family, and organic farms. Along with our six sister NOFA chapters (plus MOFGA!), we’re able to conduct regional projects and be a strong voice for New England farmers on national issues.

Smith suggests, rightly, that farmers and those who care about their food need to organize to make the substantial changes in the food system that will be required for farmers to succeed. We’ve been working with Vermont farmers and in the regional food system for over 40 years, and we hope that you’ll join us as we continue to work towards the goals of successful local farms, healthy food, and strong communities.

Join us buttonAll farmers and their supporters are welcome as members. Help us improve the viability of Vermont’s farmers and the vitality of our rural communities – become a member today!

Food+Co-ops: VT Farm to Plate Network Generates Collective Impact

Timeline of Farm to Plate progress in 2013. Photo courtesy VT Farm to Plate.
Timeline of Farm to Plate progress in 2013. Credit VT Farm to Plate.

Imagine you are in Paris, in a room full of intelligent, informed people discussing the issues of the day. It is the early 1600s and you are in one of the few social spheres that allows for female leadership. You are in a salon. Perhaps there is art on the walls of the gathering room, and a theater performance. When you arrive, you are announced to the room.

Fast forward to 2013, and it turns out you are actually in a breakout session at one of the most innovative food system conferences in the country. This “salon” is exploring what it will take to connect the dots most effectively between producers and consumers of local/regional food. The backdrop is the 3rd Annual Gathering of Vermont’s Farm to Plate Network. Over 250 representatives of the 300+ member Network attended. Members of the Farm to Plate Network encompass all types and scales of agricultural-related production and processing businesses, government entities, educational institutions, distributors, retailers, and dozens of non-profits from food justice to technical assistance providers. This Network is weaving together all components of Vermont’s food system to strengthen the working landscape, build the resilience of farms, improve environmental quality, and increase local food access for all Vermonters. Continue reading Food+Co-ops: VT Farm to Plate Network Generates Collective Impact