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Planning for Sustainable Farming and Healthy Food Access (Webinar)

Presented by Sustain

Increasing protection for farmland is a crucial step in bringing about food system resilience and fair food access. This is a particularly pressing issue for the areas surrounding Australia's fast developing cities, but assuring the long-term security of farming areas is a pertinent lesson for the country as a whole.

In this webinar, Farm to Plate Program Director Jake Claro and Network Manager Sarah Danly will discuss how their work in Vermont attends to the intersection of food access with land use planning and farmland protection.

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 second 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.

Melanie Chisholm
Manager, Healthy Eating, VicHealth

Melanie is a qualified Health Professional and Manager, having worked for over 15 years in the health sector. She has worked across a range of areas including community organisations, NGOs and Government both here in Australia and in the UK, spending several years as a health commissioner in London.

She is passionate about driving improvements in population health and reducing health inequities, particularly through designing and implementing policies and programs that support healthy eating and physical activity. Most recently Melanie has worked as National Manager for Nutrition and Active Living at the Heart Foundation and as Director of Data, Research and Evaluation at North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network. Melanie holds a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics from Deakin University and an undergraduate degree in Human Movement Science from RMIT.

Dr. Stephanie Godrich
Edith Cowan University

Dr Stephanie Godrich is a nationally and internationally registered Public Health Nutritionist with almost 15 years of practice experience. Stephanie also has experience in the university sector in statewide project coordination, research and lecturing positions, and has worked independently as a public health consultant to government and non-government organisations. Stephanie’s research focuses on ensuring everyone has regular access to affordable, quality, nutritious food (food security). Her research program includes local, national and international projects including food environment mapping around schools; working with government and community to support food security system change; understanding how COVID-19 has impacted food supply and food security among children and adults (in Australia and Canada); building the capacity of WA local governments to create healthy food environments; and exploring a human rights-based approach to food in Australia.

Breakout Sessions

Victoria: Peri-urban / Outer-Metro Melbourne

  • Plan-It Rural, Co-Founder Linda Martin-Chew
  • City of Casey, Acting Team Leader of Urban Design in the City Design and Construction Department Yogeshwari Biju

Regional Victoria

  • Agriculture Victoria, Planning and Regional Development Manager Myles Gaffney
  • City of Greater Bendigo, Food Systems Officer Chanel Relf


  • University of Tasmania, Katherine Kent
  • University of Tasmania, Kathryn Fisher
  • University of Tasmania, Dr Vishnu Prahalad and Isabel Goodfellow

New South Wales

  • University of Wollongong, Dr. Karen Charlton
  • City of Sydney Councillor Jess Miller

Western Australia

  • Perth NRM - WA Food Security Plan Project Officer: Tam Kempton
  • Live to Tell Your Story Inc. (Prepare Produce Provide) Founder Catherine MacDougall

South Australia

  • Flinders University, Dr. Sue Booth
  • Onkaparinga Food Security Collective and The Food Embassy, Sharon McGann and Liz Sanders

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.

More information:

This event has already taken place.

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