Skip to Navigation Skip to Content
Back to Insight Hub
Photo by Jeb Wallace Brodeur

On July 26th, the Vermont Community Foundation’s Insight Hub hosted a webinar that examined the future of farming in Vermont, including strategies to build new markets and reduce reliance on conventional dairy. Here are some highlights from the conversation and tips for charitable individuals who want to help support a strong and resilient agricultural sector:

  • Philanthropy can partner with nonprofits and government to fund infrastructure that allows Vermont farmers to branch out from conventional dairy or augment it with other farm endeavors, including goat milk, grass fed beef, cheesemaking, maple syrup, vegetables, agritourism, burger nights and more. Underwriting the cost of new equipment, barn construction/retrofits, and processing facilities can give farmers who typically operate on a tight-margin, options to stay in agriculture and pivot to emerging markets.
  • Philanthropy can support nonprofits that reduce the cost of farmland for young people who want to start a career in farming and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color who are under-represented in farm ownership. Land prices and borrowing costs have risen sharply over the pandemic. Reducing the debt to acquire property through grants, low-interest loans, conservation easements, and business coaching to maximize tax deductions increases the likelihood that new farming operations will be financially viable. Support for programs that help older farmers develop transition plans and help younger farms lease or gradually purchase farmland before it is fragmented by development are vital.
  • Philanthropy can help support smart growth models in clustered on-farm housing or near-farm housing, acknowledging the need for farm worker affordable housing and farmland preservation. State government, housing nonprofits, and land conservation nonprofits are collaborating on this work with new energy, recognizing myriad benefits including that close-to-farm housing could help attract much-needed farm workers.
  • Philanthropy can help support nonprofits that are working to expand the market for Vermont food and beverages both in and out of state. Currently about 14 percent of all food and beverages consumed in Vermont are made in-state, more than double the percentage in 2010. Better promotions, product development, and the proliferation of CSAs, farmer’s markets, and an increase in grocery store sales of Vermont products have helped drive this increase. Further expanding the market within Vermont and the more populous regions outside state borders will help support and grow our rural economy. 

Speakers

Giving

To learn more about giving to organizations that support agriculture in Vermont and connect with Vermont Community Foundation staff who can help you make a difference, contact Jane Kimble at jkimble@vermontcf.org or 802-388-3355 ext. 286.

 

Powered by the Vermont Community Foundation’s experience and research, and informed by the lived experience of Vermonters, the Insight Hub offers webinars, events, briefs, and peer-to-peer experiences that help philanthropists understand where their giving can make a difference in Vermont.
SoRoUnderpass daytime credit Elizabeth Billings
Arts for All: How philanthropy can make the arts accessible and affordable

The power of art to inspire, comfort, and stretch the imagination is something all people can benefit from—not just those who can find their way to a museum, pay for a concert ticket, or hire a piano teacher for their children. Philanthropy can help increase access, nourish the artistic spirit, and support Vermont's creative economy at a time when it hasn't fully rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the brief "Arts for All: How philanthropy can make the arts accessible and affordable " »

Mental Health iStock 1282110961 Copy
Delivering Hope: Promising Solutions to Improve Mental Health in Vermont

On November 15th, the Insight Hub hosted a webinar with the Vermont Department of Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Vermont, and United Counseling Service that explored how to improve mental health outcomes in Vermont. Watch the recording and check out our takeaways. 

Learn about the event "Delivering Hope: Promising Solutions to Improve Mental Health in Vermont" »

shutterstock 1902437953 resized
Student Loan Debt Relief Plan Is Cause for Celebration, But Not a Long-Term Fix

To better understand what this program means for Vermont borrowers, and why charitable individuals need to keep giving toward the goal of long-term college and career training affordability, the Vermont Community Foundation’s Insight Hub sat down with two leaders from its own ranks.

Read the article "Student Loan Debt Relief Plan Is Cause for Celebration, But Not a Long-Term Fix" »