COVID-19 has highlighted the vulnerabilities of global and national food systems. Even as Australia was repeatedly reassured of the security of its food supply, in 2020 we’ve seen panic buying that emptied supermarket shelves, rising rates of unemployment and food insecurity, and a disproportionately affected migrant seasonal workforce. With the critical challenges of climate change at our doorstep, and rapidly rising costs of dietary-related ill-health, the integrity of our food and farming systems demands our attention.
This December, we will, for the first time, 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. Across three weekly webinars, Director Jake Claro and Network Manager Sarah Danly will discuss how the decade-old program has successfully increased employment, business creation and food security through collaborative, whole-of-system actions and networking, aligned to a shared agenda of a better food and farming system for Vermont.
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.
Everyone involved in food systems communities of practice —including producers, policy-makers, food businesses, community organisations, statutory and strategic planners, health service professionals, sustainability professionals, food security organisations and networks, educators and researchers—is invited to attend.
Director Jake Claro and Network Manager Sarah Danly
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Vermont Farm to Plate Plan-from 2009 to 2020 and beyond
- In the first of a three-part webinar series, Program Director Jake Claro and Network Manager Sarah Danly will share an overview of the decade-old program: How it has successfully increased employment, business creation and food security through collaborative, whole-of-system actions and networking, aligned to a shared agenda of a better food and farming system for Vermont.
- December 2, 11 am - 1 pm AEDT
Planning for Sustainable Farming and Healthy Food Access
- 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, 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.
- December 9, 11 am - 1 pm AEDT
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How the Public Purse Can Drive Food Systems Change: The Role of Institutional Procurement
- 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, 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.
- December 16, 11 am - 1 pm AEDT
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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.
- The Regen Narration podcast episode with Jake Claro
The webinar series is organised by Sustain: The Australian Food Network.
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.
This event has already taken place.
For more information about this past event, visit sustain.org.au/events