The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 4719. Purpose and State goal
(a) Purpose. It is the purpose of this chapter to establish a farm-to-school program to:
(1) encourage Vermont residents in developing healthy and lifelong habits of eating nutritious local foods;
(2) maximize use by Vermont schools of fresh and locally grown, produced, or processed food;
(3) work with partners to establish a food, farm, and nutrition education program that educates Vermont students regarding healthy eating habits through the use of educational materials, classes, and hands-on techniques that inform students of the connections between farming and the foods that students consume;
(4) increase the size and stability of direct sales markets available to farmers; and
(5) increase participation of Vermont students in child nutrition programs by increasing the selection of available foods.
(b) State Farm-to-School Network goal. It is the goal of the Farm-to-School Program to establish a food system that by 2025:
(1) engages 75 percent of Vermont schools in an integrated food system education program that incorporates community-based learning; and
(2) purchases 50 percent of food from local or regional food sources. (Added 2017, No. 63, § 1.)
§ 4720. Definitions
As used in this chapter, "Farm-to-School Program" means an integrated food, farm, and nutrition education program that utilizes community-based learning opportunities to connect schools with nearby farms so that child nutrition programs can provide students with locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and protein products, and other nutritious, locally produced foods; help children develop healthy eating habits; provide nutritional and agricultural education in the classroom, cafeteria, and school community; and improve farmers' incomes and direct access to markets. (Added 2017, No. 63, § 1.)
§ 4721. Local foods grant program
(a) There is created in the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets the Rozo McLaughlin Farm-to-School Program to execute, administer, and award local grants for the purpose of helping Vermont schools develop farm-to-school programs that will sustain relationships with local farmers and producers, enrich the educational experience of students, improve the health of Vermont children, and enhance Vermont's agricultural economy.
(b) A school, a school district, a consortium of schools, a consortium of school districts, a registered or licensed child care provider, or an organization administering or assisting the development of farm-to-school programs may apply to the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets for a grant award to:
(1) fund equipment, resources, training, and materials that will help to increase use of local foods in child nutrition programs;
(2) fund items, including local food products, gardening supplies, field trips to farms, gleaning on farms, and stipends to visiting farmers, that will help educators to use hands-on educational techniques to teach children about nutrition and farm-to-school connections;
(3) fund professional development and technical assistance, in partnership with the Agency of Education and farm-to-school technical service providers, to help teachers, child nutrition personnel, organizations administering or assisting the development of farm-to-school programs, and members of the farm-to-school community educate students about nutrition and farm-to-school connections and assist schools and licensed or registered child care providers in developing a farm-to-school program; and
(4) fund technical assistance or support strategies to increase participation in federal child nutrition programs that increase the viability of sustainable meal programs.
(c) The Secretaries of Agriculture, Food and Markets and of Education and the Commissioner of Health, in consultation with farmers, child nutrition staff, educators, organizations administering or assisting the development of farm-to-school programs, and farm-to-school technical service providers jointly shall adopt procedures relating to the content of the grant application and the criteria for making awards.
(d) The Secretary shall determine that there is significant interest in the school community before making an award and shall give priority consideration to schools, school districts, and registered or licensed child care providers that are developing farm-to-school connections and education, that indicate a willingness to make changes to their child nutrition programs to increase student access and participation, and that are making progress toward the implementation of the Vermont School Wellness Policy Guidelines developed by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the Agency of Education, and the Department of Health, updated in June 2015 or of the successor of these guidelines.
(e) No award shall be greater than 20 percent of the total annual amount available for granting except that a grant award to the following entities may, at the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, exceed the cap:
(1) Farm-to-School service providers; or
(2) school districts or consortiums of school districts that completed merger under 2010 Acts and Resolves No. 153, 2012 Acts and Resolves No. 156, or 2015 Acts and Resolves No. 46 on or before July 1, 2019, provided that the grant is used for the purpose of expanding Farm-to-School projects to additional schools within the new school district. (Added 2007, No. 24, § 2; amended 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 250, 302, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2017, No. 63, § 1; 2019, No. 34, § 1; 2019, No. 64, § 4.)
§ 4722. Farm assistance; Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets
(a) The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall work with existing programs and organizations to develop and implement educational opportunities for farmers to help them increase their markets through selling their products to schools, registered or licensed child care providers, and State government agencies that operate or participate in child nutrition programs.
(b) The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall work with distributors that sell products to schools, registered or licensed child care providers, and State government agencies to increase the availability of local products. The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall consult and cooperate with the Secretary of Education when working with distributors to schools under this subsection. (Added 2007, No. 24, § 2; amended 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 251, 302, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2017, No. 63, § 1; 2019, No. 34, § 2.)
§ 4723. Professional development for food service personnel
(a) The Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the Commissioner of Health, and farm-to-school organizations and partners, shall offer professional development opportunities for public school food service and child care personnel and child care resource development specialists. Training shall include information about strategies for procuring, processing, and serving locally grown foods, especially with regard to federal procurement program requirements, as well as information about nutrition, obesity prevention, coping with severe food allergies, universal recycling, and food service operations. The Secretary of Education may use a portion of the funds appropriated for this training session to pay a portion of or all expenses for attendees and to develop manuals or other materials to help in the training.
(b) The Secretary of Education shall, with existing programs and organizations, provide training related to procurement of local food and technical assistance to school food service and child care personnel and use a portion of the funds appropriated for this purpose to enable the trained people to provide technical assistance at the school and school district levels.
(c) Training provided under this section shall promote the policies established in the Vermont School Wellness Policy Guidelines developed by the Agencies of Agriculture, Food and Markets and of Education and the Department of Health, updated in June 2015, or the guidelines' successor. (Added 2007, No. 24, § 2; amended 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 252, 302, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2017, No. 63, § 1.)
§ 4724. Food Systems Administrator
(a) The position of Food Systems Administrator is established in the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets for the purpose of assisting Vermont producers in increasing their access to commercial markets and institutions, including schools, registered or licensed child care providers, State and municipal governments, and hospitals.
(b) The duties of the Food Systems Administrator shall include:
(1) working with institutions, schools, the Agency of Education, registered or licensed child care providers, distributors, producers, commercial markets, and others to create matchmaking opportunities that increase the number of Vermont institutions that purchase foods grown or produced in Vermont;
(2) coordinating funding and providing support to the farm-to-school and farm-to-institutions programs within the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, and coordinating with interested parties to access funding or create matchmaking opportunities across the supply chain that increase participation in those programs;
(3) encouraging and facilitating State employee access and awareness of opportunities for purchasing local food, including: enrollment in a local community supported agriculture (CSA) organization, purchasing from local farm stands, and participation in a farmers' market;
(4) developing a database of producers and potential purchasers and enhancing the Agency's and partners' ability to improve and support local foods coordination through the use of information technology; and
(5) providing technical support to local communities with their food security efforts.
(c) The Food Systems Administrator, working with the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services pursuant to rules adopted under 29 V.S.A. § 152(14), shall:
(1) encourage and facilitate awareness of and opportunities to procure healthy local foods by State employees through the use of approved advertisements and solicitations on State-owned property; and
(2) implement guidelines for the appropriate use of State property for employee participation in CSA organizations, including reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of solicitations, advertisements, deliveries, and related activities to ensure the safety and welfare of State property and its occupants.
(d) The Food Systems Administrator shall administer a local foods grant program, the purpose of which shall be to provide grants to allow Vermont producers to increase their access to commercial and institutional markets. (Added 2011, No. 52, § 42, eff. May 27, 2011; amended 2017, No. 63, § 1; 2019, No. 34, § 3.)