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How the Public Purse Can Drive Food Systems Change: The Role of Institutional Procurement (Webinar)

Presented by Sustain

The ways in which large institutions, such as schools and hospitals, purchase food have a sizeable impact on the larger food ecosystem. Leveraging institutional food procurement can be a powerful means of supporting local producers and ensuring consumers access to nutritious food--potentially creating a food system that is more equitable, sustainable, and resilient.

In this webinar, Farm to Plate Program Director Jake Claro and Network Manager Sarah Danly will discuss their experiences with institutional procurement, highlighting both its benefits and its many logistical complications.

They will be joined by practitioners and policy makers from across Australia who will share state and local initiatives, and discuss how the Vermont approach might be applied in our context.

This is the third webinar in a three-part series in which Australia will have the opportunity to learn directly from the leaders of the organisation responsible for the implementation of the Vermont Farm to Plate plan—by many accounts one of the most comprehensive and long-term food and farming system programs of its kind.


Jake Claro
Program Director, Vermont Farm to Plate

As the Farm to Plate Director at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Jake is responsible for providing facilitative leadership and strategic coordination to the Farm to Plate Network’s work to implement Vermont’s food system plan. He manages the Farm to Plate team at VSJF and works to align activity among 350 stakeholders and increase collaboration between private sector, non-profits, and government to strengthen Vermont’s farm and food economy for the benefit of all Vermonters. Previously he served as an AmeriCorps member with the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) and the Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network (VECAN) as a community energy and climate action organizer. At VNRC, Jake worked closely with town energy committees across the state on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy planning issues.

Sarah Danly
Network Manager, Vermont Farm to Plate

Sarah joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund as the Farm to Plate Network Manager in 2017. She provides support to several Farm to Plate Network groups and other projects including tracking of goals and indicators for the Farm to Plate food system plan. She previously worked at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School as a program officer, a role that combined project management with research and creation of legal resources.

Prior to moving to Vermont, Sarah lived in Boston, where she held positions at farmers’ markets and in environmental outreach. She holds a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in community health and architectural studies from Tufts University. Sarah also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she took practical courses in design but developed a passion for ceramics and jewelry. She lives on a sheep farm in South Royalton and spends her free time gardening, hiking with her dog, and watching the sheep.

Leah Galvin
Churchill Fellowship Recipient and Freelance Consultant

Leah has a background in public health nutrition with a passion for equitable and sustainable regional food systems.

For the last 20 years Leah has worked in a variety of settings including state and local government and not for profit sector, delivering projects and campaigns to reduce barriers to eaters enjoying local healthy food. In 2019 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate approaches used by business and government to increase institutional procurement of locally produced food.

Her interest in institutional procurement is driven by as desire to pull the big levers, that can re-localise food systems at scale in Tasmania and Australia. Eight years ago, with her family she moved from central Victoria to Tasmania because of its food abundance and at the time its excellent Food Security Strategy.

After 3 years leading Eat Well Tasmania, in September of 2020 she returned to freelancing and consulting and is currently working on projects around on-farm seasonal work, exploring a Huon Valley Food hubs and local approaches connecting eaters and producers.

Veronica Graham
Manager, Healthy Eating and Physical Activity,
Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Veronica Graham has responsibility for state public health nutrition policies, initiatives and partnerships for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Her dual role encompasses both emerging work supporting healthy food systems and access and working across state platforms such as sport and recreation, education, industry, State Parks and workplaces as well as developing and implementing state nutrition policies and programs. Veronica's career has spanned nearly three decades covering, clinical, paediatrics, regional, metropolitan exposure as well as state research and international experience working in the World Health Organisation, Canada and Japan. She is passionate about a collaborative approach across all departments and sectors for collective action to focus on improved population nutrition and health for all Victorians.

Tim Milsom
Executive Officer, Noongar Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Tim is the former CEO of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Buurabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation and current Executive Officer of the Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Tim owns a number of successful businesses and has been awarded both local and International Awards in Innovation and Export, through his UK interests.

Sophie Lamond
University of Melbourne

Sophie is in the final year of her PhD at Melbourne School of Government, Melbourne Law School. Her research considers how institutions develop and implement comprehensive food policies that create healthier, more sustainable and equitable food environments. Earlier this year she returned from a four-month visiting scholar position at University of California, Berkeley during which time she met with stakeholders from across the US higher education foodscape and visited a number of college campuses.

Sophie is the director of Fair Food Challenge, an NGO which empowers young people to transform campus food environments and take an active role in policy development. Sophie holds a Master of Environment from the University of Melbourne with a focus on sustainable food systems.

Julie Dunbabin
Tasmanian School Canteen Association

Vermont Farm to Plate: Planning for Sustainable and Secure Food and Farming Systems

A three-part webinar series that invites Australians involved in the food systems communities of practice to learn from the  Vermont Farm to Plate plan.

Register for the events here:

This event is organised by Sustain.

It is supported by VicHealth, the Tasmanian Government, Commonland, University of Wollongong, SA Urban Food Network, Eat Well Tasmania, Gateway Health, RegenWA, Food for Thought, Community Food Events, Charles Sturt University, Cardinia Shire Council, Community Food for All, Plan-It Rural, Albury Wodonga Local Food Network, Gateway Health, City of Casey, Benalla Health, Peninsula Health, Wangaratta Community Food for All, the City of Greater Dandenong, Kooweerup Regional Health Service, The Community Plate, and Leah Galvin Consulting.

About The Vermont Farm to Plate Plan and Network

Since its launch in 2009, the Vermont Farm to Plate plan remains the most comprehensive food system policy and planning framework in the United States. The Plan, instigated by producer and civil society organisations and supported by the state government, aims to bolster the strength and integrity of the Vermont food system in recognition of the central role it plays in the state’s economy, identity, and quality of life.

The plan is guided by 25 goals of a strategic plan that seeks to increase economic development and jobs in the food and farm sector and improve access to healthy local food for all Vermonters. To date, the program has created 6,529 new food systems jobs and has decreased the number of food insecure people in the state by 26%.

The goals are implemented by the Farm to Plate Network, a unique multi-stakeholder collaboration which comprises over 350 Vermont organizations, encompassing all types and scales of production and processing businesses, government entities, educational institutions, distributors, retailers, industry leaders, and non-profits. Collectively, they work to relocalize the food system, as well as assess gaps, opportunities, and trends and monitor progress.

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