Local food movements across the country are springing up to counterbalance the failing industrial food system, and many are interested in learning from the Vermont Farm to Plate Initiative and how they can replicate it in their own states or regions. A core program of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF), Vermont Farm to Plate is the statewide initiative legislatively directed to strengthen Vermont's food system and double local food production and access by 2020. Encompassing farms, food production businesses, specialty food producers, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, capital providers and government, the Farm to Plate Network connects these entities, enabling more effective collaboration and tangible results.
Ellen Kahler, executive director of VSJF and Erica Campbell, program director of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network, are recognized regionally and nationally for their work and are regularly asked to speak and assist in food movement efforts across the country.
Ellen Kahler was recently invited to address the Planning for Agriculture in the Puget Sound Region Conference as a keynote speaker in April. Kahler spoke about the inception of the Vermont Farm to Plate Strategic Plan and the impacts that are now emerging on the ground because of the coordinated efforts of members of the Farm to Plate Network.
Kahler has also been invited to speak at the plenary session of the upcoming Sustainable Agriculture & Food System Funders Annual Forum being held in June in Rhode Island. Kahler resides in Starksboro.
Erica Campbell has been awarded the Real Food Challenge "Campaign Ally Award" for her work coordinating the 240-member Vermont Farm to Plate Network. Specifically mentioned was the work of the Aggregation & Distribution Working Group which organized a forum at the University of Vermont last November where Northeast Sodexo, producers, and distributors met and are now developing ways to increase farm to institution food availability. Campbell resides in North Duxbury, serves on the Duxbury Planning Commission and is co-founder of the Waterbury-Duxbury Food Council.