The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 326. Findings, policies, and goals
(a) The General Assembly finds that Vermont’s economic prosperity depends on the establishment and achievement of the following policies and goals:
(1) The dual goals of creating quality jobs and conserving and protecting Vermont’s social and natural environments are of primary importance to economic vitality and the quality of life of Vermont.
(2) The idea of combining the dual goals of economic vitality and environmental quality is known as sustainable economic development.
(3) Sustainable economic development is a growing national and international public policy trend for the investment of private and governmental funds.
(4) Vermont’s unique environmental image as a function of State policy and of the policies of our existing educational institutions provides an opportunity to position the State as a primary sustainable economic development educational center.
(5) The goal of quality job creation as part of the State’s economic development policy is dependent on providing support for the start-up and expansion of small businesses and micro-business sectors of our economy.
(6) The goal of creating quality jobs or family-wage jobs is in part dependent upon nurturing businesses in growing sectors of the national and international economy, including companies involved with:
(A) environmental technologies;
(B) environmental equipment and services;
(C) energy efficiency;
(D) renewable energy;
(E) pollution abatement;
(F) specialty foods;
(G) water and wastewater systems;
(H) solid waste and recycling technologies;
(I) wood products and other natural resource based or “value added” industries;
(J) sustainable agriculture; and
(K) existing businesses, including larger manufacturing firms, striving to minimize their impact and waste through environmentally sound products and processes.
(7) The goal of creating quality jobs by nurturing the businesses listed in subdivision (6) of this subsection is consistent with the goal of protecting our natural and social environments, and with the goal of positioning the State as a primary sustainable economic development educational center.
(8) Support for sustainable economic development includes the need to provide:
(A) Increased financial resources to fund existing programs for the start-up and expansion of small businesses, including revolving loan programs, peer lending programs, technical assistance programs, and marketing programs.
(B) Capital access to those businesses too large or too small to obtain funds from existing programs.
(C) An organization designed to coordinate the leveraging of federal, State, local, and private resources and to stimulate the development of public-private partnerships.
(D) An increased array of economic development tools, including flexible manufacturing networks, sectoral development, and product development funds.
(E) Funding for eligible activities as recommended in the Vermont Economic Progress Council’s 10-year plan.
(F) Professional evaluation and accountability of funded economic development activities.
(G) Coordination between the State’s economic development and environmental protection policies.
(b) It is the purpose of this chapter to create the Sustainable Jobs Fund Program, to be administered by the nonprofit corporation formed under section 328 of this title, to further the policies and goals established in subsection (a) of this section. (Added 1995, No. 46, § 15, eff. April 20, 1995.)
§ 327. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Sustainable jobs” is defined as jobs created from business strategies and activities that meet the needs of the enterprise and its stakeholders today while protecting and sustaining the human and natural resources that will be needed in the future.
(2) “Eligible activity” means any activity that will carry out the dual purposes of creating quality jobs, as defined by the ten-year economic development plan adopted by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and conserving and preserving Vermont’s social and natural environment, including activities which will encourage or assist, but are not limited to:
(A) the start-up or expansion of the small business and micro-business sector; and
(B) existing businesses striving to minimize their impact and waste through environmentally sound products and processes.
(3) “Eligible applicant” means any for profit or nonprofit business entity that fulfills the purposes of this chapter. (Added 1995, No. 46, § 15, eff. April 20, 1995; amended 1995, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), § 1(a).)
§ 328. Creation of the Sustainable Jobs Fund Program
(a) There is created the Sustainable Jobs Fund Program to create quality jobs that are compatible with Vermont’s natural and social environment.
(b) The Vermont Economic Development Authority shall incorporate a nonprofit corporation pursuant to the provisions of subdivision 216(14) of this title to administer the Sustainable Jobs Fund Program, and to fulfill the purposes of this chapter by means of loans or grants to eligible applicants for eligible activities, provided that any funds contributed to the Program by the Authority under subsection (c) of this section shall be used for lending purposes only.
(c)(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision 216(14) of this title, the Authority may contribute not more than $1,000,000.00 to the capital of the corporation formed under this section, and the Board of Directors of the corporation formed under this section shall consist of:
(A) the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development or designee;
(B) the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets or designee;
(C) a director appointed by the Governor; and
(D) eight independent directors, no more than two of whom shall be State government employees or officials, and who shall be selected as vacancies occur by vote of the existing directors from a list of names offered by a nominating committee of the Board created for that purpose.
(2)(A) Each independent director shall serve a term of three years or until his or her earlier resignation.
(B) A director may be reappointed, but no independent director and no director appointed by the Governor shall serve for more than three terms.
(C) The director appointed by the Governor shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor and may be removed at any time with or without cause.
(3) A director of the Board who is or is appointed by a State government official or employee shall not be eligible to hold the position of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, or Treasurer of the Board.
(e) The Agency of Commerce and Community Development shall have the authority and responsibility for the administration and implementation of the Program.
(f) The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund Program shall work collaboratively with the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to assist the Vermont slaughterhouse industry in supporting its efforts at productivity and sustainability. (Added 1995, No. 46, § 15, eff. April 20, 1995; amended 1995, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), § 1(b); 2003, No. 122 (Adj. Sess.), § 225; 2009, No. 146 (Adj. Sess.), § G18, eff. June 1, 2010; 2011, No. 52, §§ 35a, 37, 38, eff. May 27, 2011; 2011, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 51, eff. May 14, 2012; 2015, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § O.1, eff. June 2, 2016.)
§ 329. Annual report
Prior to January 31 of each year, the corporation formed under section 328 of this title shall submit a report concerning its activities to the Governor, to the House Committees on Appropriations, on Commerce and Economic Development, on Corrections and Institutions, on General, Housing, and Military Affairs, on Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife, and on Ways and Means and to the Senate Committees on Appropriations, on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, on Finance, on Institutions, and on Natural Resources and Energy. The report shall include the following information:
(1) A list and description of activities funded by the Sustainable Jobs Fund Program during the preceding year.
(2) A list of contributions received by the Board, whatever their form or nature, and the source thereof, unless anonymity is a condition of a particular contribution.
(3) A full financial report of the activities of the Sustainable Jobs Fund Program, including a special accounting of all activities from July 1 through December 31 of the year preceding the legislative session during which the report is submitted.
(4) If more than 70 percent of the funds allocated by the Sustainable Jobs Fund Program during the previous year were allocated to either one of the dual goals of this chapter in such a manner that the other goal was not achieved as established in section 326 of this title, and subdivisions 326(a)(5) and (6) of this title in particular, the Program shall set forth its reasons for the manner of allocation.
(5) A summary of work completed in the Farm-to-Plate Investment Program, including progress toward meeting the program goals, information regarding any advisory panel meetings, an accounting of all revenues and expenses related to the Program, and recommendations regarding future Program activity. The report shall also include information regarding the status of State government procurement of local foods. (Added 1995, No. 46, § 15, eff. April 20, 1995; amended 2009, No. 54, § 36, eff. June 1, 2009; 2019, No. 14, § 12, eff. April 30, 2019.)
§ 330. The Farm-to-Plate Investment Program; creation; outcomes; tasks; methods
(1) The Sustainable Jobs Fund Program shall establish the Vermont Farm-to-Plate Investment Program to fulfill the goals and carry out the tasks described in this section.
(2) If at least $100,000.00 in funding is not made available for the purpose of this section, the Sustainable Jobs Fund Program is encouraged but no longer required to fulfill the provisions of this section.
(b) Intended outcomes. The intended outcomes of the Farm-to-Plate Investment Program are to:
(1) Increase sustainable economic development and create jobs in Vermont’s food and farm sector.
(2) Improve soils, water, and resiliency of the working landscape in the face of climate change.
(3) Improve access to healthy local foods for all Vermonters.
(1) The Vermont Farm-to-Plate Investment Program shall create a strategic plan for agricultural and food system development, which may be periodically reviewed and updated, based upon the following:
(A) Inventory Vermont’s food system infrastructure by gathering existing data, studies, and analysis about the components of Vermont’s food system, including:
(i) the types of foods produced in Vermont, the number of producers of each type of food, the amount of each type of food produced, and the financial viability of each food-producing sector;
(ii) the types of food processors in Vermont, how much food produced in Vermont is purchased by Vermont processors, and the financial viability of the food processing sector in Vermont;
(iii) the current and potential markets in which Vermont food producers and processors can sell their products;
(iv) the extent of existing agricultural lands that could be expanded and the resources available to expand Vermont’s food production;
(v) the potential for new farmers and food processors to enter the local food economy, the methods for new farmers to acquire land and other farm infrastructure, and the availability and barriers to farm and processing labor; and
(vi) the potential for entirely new local products and the barriers to farmers and processors entering new markets.
(B) Identify gaps in the infrastructure and distribution systems and identify ways to address these gaps.
(2) The Vermont Farm-to-Plate Investment Program shall provide support for farm and food businesses, including regional food hubs, selling in all types of markets, direct and wholesale, in the State and outside the State.
(3) As an ongoing task, the Farm-to-Plate Investment Program shall use the information gathered for the strategic plan and updates to the plan to identify methods and the funding necessary to strengthen the links among producers, processors, and markets, including:
(A) supporting the work of existing farm-to-school programs to increase the purchase of local foods by Vermont schools, with a particular emphasis on procurement of nutrient-dense animal foods;
(B) supporting the work of the Working Lands Enterprise Board to strategically invest in farm and food businesses;
(C) collaborating with the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the Department of Buildings and General Services to increase procurement of local foods in accordance with 6 V.S.A. § 4601;
(D) collaborating with the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to increase procurement of local foods by businesses and institutions;
(E) supporting initiatives that improve the marketing of foods from Vermont producers to consumers inside the State and outside of the State;
(F) supporting education and workforce development initiatives that address skill and labor needs of farm and food businesses; and
(G) informing agricultural lenders of the information collected under subdivision (1) of this subsection (c) in order to facilitate availability of farm and food sector financing.
(4) The Farm-to-Plate Investment Program Strategic Plan shall also establish measurable goals that shall be tracked over the life of the Plan, methods for the ongoing collection of data necessary to track those goals, plans for updating the Plan as needed, and appropriate methods to track the ongoing economic contribution of the farm and food sector to the Vermont economy.
(d) Methods. To accomplish the goals and carry out the ongoing tasks stated in this section, the Vermont Farm-to-Plate Investment Program may:
(1) create an advisory panel with representatives from the agricultural and business communities;
(2) hire or assign staff;
(3) seek and accept funds from private and public entities;
(4) serve as the administrative support for the Farm-to-Plate Network; and
(5) utilize technical assistance, loans, grants, or other means.
(e) [Repealed.] (Added 2009, No. 54, § 35, eff. June 1, 2009; amended 2009, No. 3 (Sp. Sess.), § 11(b); 2009, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 13a, eff. April 15, 2010; 2015, No. 11, § 8; 2019, No. 23, § 1; 2019, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 12.)