FY2011 Annual Report Project Descriptions

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND QUALITY OF LIFE

4

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
Enhancing the Sustainability of Food Systems through Service Learning-based Entrepreneurship Education and Outreach .

Principal Investigator: D. Conner

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The long term goal is to enhance the sustainability of the US food system and rural communities by fostering sustainable agri-food enterprises. The short term goal is develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate educational and extension programs which will prepare the entrepreneurs and employees of sustainable agri-food businesses for enduring economic prosperity. The programs, delivered within an experiential, service-learning based pedagogy, will provide training in the critical skills, knowledge and networks needed to form, manage, govern and operate agri-food based businesses. The businesses will create strategic partnerships which create value for all partners and share risk and reward equitable. The businesses will enhance the social, economic and environmental sustainability of their communities and advance public health goals by producing, processing, distributing, serving and selling healthful, sustainably and regionally produced foods and increasing their availability to community members. We begin by conduct multi-methods research to understand the critical skills, knowledge and networks needed to both start and work in sustainable agri-food firms, then incorporate these findings into a set of service-learning classes within the University of Vermont (UVM) curriculum, as well as UVM Extension programs. Impact on students and community partners will be assessed; results will guide the formation of curriculum guides to be shared with other higher education institutions. Our efforts build on many efforts in Vermont to place the agri-food system at the forefront of state economic development and sustainable job creation, as well as utilizing and strengthening UVM's core competencies in food systems research, Service-Learning and community entrepreneurhip.

Outcomes & Impacts:
This project is just getting underway


4

Central Vermont Community Action Council, Inc
Exemplary Practices Project (EPP) .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The Exemplary Practices Project is a nationwide study of Community Action Agencies (CAA) on their strategies, activities and practices used for carrying out Community Economic Development (CED) programs. This study was conducted by a partnership between the University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies and Central Vermont Community Action Council, Inc. For the purposes of this study, CED programs are defined as individual and/or family level programming that includes: asset building, financial literacy and education, microenterprise development, and womens business development. The methods used to conduct this study included: a nationwide survey of CAAs, case study interviews with CAA staff, and a supplemental survey on funding sources for CED programs. The goal of this study was to identify best practices in these aspects of CED programs to help improve practice among CAAs by sharing promising opportunities and strategies that were revealed through the survey. Results of this study will be disseminated to the funding agency in a report, which will also be shared with the nationwide CAA partnership. The results were also presented at a professional conference and will be shared with practitioners through online webinars. This project will conclude once all information is disseminated through various channels.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Annual agency budgets range from $240,000 to three billion dollars, with a median of $11.1 million. CED program annual budgets range from $2,000 to $48 million, with a median of $240,000. In general, 60% of agencies have between 100 and 400 total staff and 65% of CED programs have one to six staff. Regarding clients, 61% of agencies have between 3,000 and 25,000 clients and 59% of CED programs have between 50 and 400 clients. Commonly noted training needs of staff include: best practices or innovative trends and strategies (32%), IDA program and financial literacy counseling (20%), business development services (13%), and loan services (13%). Social services, housing services, and emergency/crisis services are areas that are central to three out of four agency mission, while 90% regarded CED as being of medium (24%) to high importance (66%) to their mission. The majority of CED programs use client income status, being of a low to very low income standing, as the main criterion for determining program eligibility, which is most often measured as a percentage of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG). Three quarters to 93% of respondents rated being low-income and related issues, such as limited savings and poor or no credit, as prominent barriers facing CED clients. Almost all respondents (95%) noted that financial literacy education is provided by their CED programs. While 65% provide asset building services, 16% no longer offer this service because of a lack of funding and a lack of match funds available for IDA programs. A little over half of programs offer microenterprise development (MED) services and 22% offer business development services specifically for women. Common strengths of CED programs noted are services offered (36%), staff and program qualities (28%), philosophy of promoting client independence (23%), and focus on community economic development (16%). Sustaining factors included: funding (57%), partnerships (23%), staff competency (13%), and interest and fees earned (13%). Funding sources referenced by respondents includes state, federal, and private grant funding, use of multiple, diverse, and secure funding sources, and continuously writing grant proposals. Education and support services provided by 90% or more of respondents are one-to-one counseling, intake and assessment services, and external referrals. Other approaches include: workshops, case management, ongoing classes, and online tools and resources. Two out of three programs provide clients with training on use of online social media and more than half offer networking and mentoring opportunities with peers and professionals. Additionally, 43% offer industry specific business development services and between 70% and 75% of programs offer credit building and repair services, tax preparation services, and financial literacy education. Notable community partners include other nonprofits, financial intuitions, local and state government, and private businesses. Programs also have strong intra-agency relationships with emergency services, Head Start, and weatherization programs, and workforce development services.


4

Hatch/Multistate
Onsite Data Collection to Evaluate the Enhancing Education Through Technology Project .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The evaluation of the Enhancing Education Through Technology (Ed-Tech) program provided formative and summative feedback to the Vermont Department of Education (VTDOE), focusing on five competitive grant programs. This evaluation addressed the following evaluation questions (and sub-questions) through onsite observations and in-depth interviews with teachers and school administrators. To what extent and with what fidelity are the grantees of the five Ed-Tech-funded competitive programs making progress toward their stated objectives? What has facilitated or hindered progress? How effectively do schools support the implementation of project goals? Do the Ed-Tech-funded competitive grant programs promote technology integration in support of student-centered learning? What are learning outcomes of the program in terms of student engagement and motivation and mastery of Vermont grade-level expectations? To what extent are changes in teaching and learning adopted and sustained, as indicated by continued and expanded use of such practices by teachers and school leaders who took part in the program and plans for sustaining funding (if necessary) once the grant ends? The results were disseminated in a report to the VT DOE and presented at a statewide education technology conference. This was the final report for this project.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The overall purposes of the grant programs were to: 1) promote school-wide technology integration in the classroom, 2) provide teachers with professional development, and 3) enhance student learning using 21C tools and teaching pedagogy. Professional development typically focused on training teachers to use equipment and embed technology into their curriculum. The duration and frequency of training varied, ranging from onetime events to ongoing weekly training. The main format was one-to-one or small group coaching with a technology specialist. Overall, professional development was perceived as effective in helping teachers carry out their grant goals. Typical equipment purchased with grant funds included: document cameras, netbook computers, software, headsets with microphones, projectors, digital flip cameras, smart pens, interactive whiteboard and LCD projector, and iPod Touch units. Teachers have collaborated on technology integration, both formally and informally. Formal collaboration takes place during scheduled and planned meetings that are held during school, such as in time blocks reserved for preparation of lesson plans and after school. Informal collaboration happens often spontaneously when teachers find unplanned and unscheduled opportunities throughout their day, after school, or on weekends. Teachers peer support system was essential for sharing ideas, resources, and strategies on technology integration and developing lesson plans and student projects. Teachers also helped each other learn how to use equipment, how to best use devices in the classroom with students, and troubleshoot issues that came up with technology. Because of these grant programs, technology has been integrated into the classroom to enhance teaching and learning on a more frequent and consistent basis. Teachers have improved their ability to develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments that incorporate digital resources and tools into the classroom to maximize learning. Teachers reported using more web-based tools, email, and kid-friendly search engines and resources. Technological devices, such as mini laptops, netbooks, iPads, iPod Touches, flip and digital cameras, have also been used regularly by students at a 2:1 or 1:1 device to student ratio. Teachers have used formative assessment more frequently because students and teachers have increased their level of collaboration and sharing of work through technology and students have engaged more in self-assessment and peer evaluation. Increased use of technology by students and the project-based approach to learning are key aspects of technology integration programs that seemed to better engage students. Qualities of technology integration programs, including self-pacing, additional mediums for learning, and increased student engagement, enhance student understanding, knowledge and skill development. Evidence suggests that schools see the value in continuing technology integration beyond grant funding and are seeking or have secured funding to provide additional training and support and maintain equipment after the current grant funding ends.


4

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
Research and Outreach for Local Community Development and Entrepreneurship .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The Vermont Indicators Online (VIO) website served 15,554 visits for a total of 45,189 page hits. Also related to VIO were activities to analyze American Community Survey (ACS) data for Vermont and its counties and prepare strategies for providing ACS data for local communities via the website in an upcoming upgrade operation. The Vermont Planning Information Center (VPIC) website served 8,009 visits for a total of 67,711 page hits. Twenty-five local officials from around Vermont attended a workshop in spring of 2010 on finding and using community data resources. In September of 2009, a televised presentation was recorded on the 2010 Census and the new American Community Survey data for Vermont for the Center for Research on the Vermont. Thirty local officials from around Vermont attended a similar session broadcast over interactive television in March 2010. The Vermont State Center provided outreach to Vermonters for accessing U.S. Census Bureau data and advocated on behalf of Vermont data users (http://crs.uvm.edu/census). This grant has funded CRS staff involvement in the Vermont Land Use Education and Training Collaborative. This grant funded the establishment of the Food System Research Collaborative with a website at www.foodsystemresearch.net. This grant also supported the Growing Vermont student-run store on the UVM campus, which provides specialized assistance and consultation for micro-entrepreneurs. This grant funded the first volume of the Opportunities for Agriculture working paper series (listed below in publications and more at www.foodsystemresearch.net/opportunities-for-agriculture-white-paper-series). This grant supported the Local Growers Guide at www.vermontgrowersguide.com. This grant funded CRS staff involvement in the Obesity Prevention Initiative of the Vermont Attorney General.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The activities funded by this grant contributed to local capacity building in Vermont communities in the areas of local food systems, information access and use, planning and development, entrepreneurship and more. State Data Center activities helped Vermonters access the data they need for local communities and businesses. User evaluations have proven that the online resources supported by this grant are very beneficial to Vermonters. In their primary roles, 62% of Vermont Indicators Online users say that the website is "very useful," while 16% say that it is "essential." Vermonters use the website for many different reasons from writing grants to compiling local plans. Of Vermont Planning Information Center users, 38% say that the website is "very useful," while 23% say that it is "essential." The VPIC website is used by local officials for education on planning matters, as well as by those who provide technical assistance to planners. The Opportunities for Agriculture working paper series is working to bring research knowledge from academia to communities of practice.

Publications:
Schmidt, M., J. Kolodinsky, T. DeSisto, and F. Conte (2011). Supporting a Local Food System: Evaluating a Model that Connects Farmers to Markets to Increase Farm Profitability and Local Food Access. Journal of Agricultural Food Systems and Community Development. 1(4):1-19

King, Benjamin, David Conner, Christopher Koliba, Amy Trubek and Jane Kolodinsky (2011). Mapping Farm to School Networks Implications for Research and Practice. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. 6(2): 133-152

Roche, Erin, and J. Kolodinsky (2011). Overcoming barriers to provide local produce in school lunches in Vermont. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. (1)3 Winter

Berlin, Linda, Jane Kolodinsky, and Abby Nelson (2010). Farm to School: Implications for Child Nutrition. Opportunities for Agriculture White Paper Series, Food System Research Collaborative at the Center for Rural Studies, University of Vermont, 1(1).

Kolodinsky, Jane and Thomas DeSisto. (2011). Consumer Attitudes towards Genetically Modified Organisms in the Food Supply: A Look Back and Ahead ABST. Proceedings of the American Council on Consumer Interests 57(167).

Schmidt, Michele and Jane Kolodinsky (2011). Vermonters Use of Tax Refunds to Improve Household Economic Mobility throughSavings and Asset Building Expenditures. ABST. Proceedings of the American Council on Consumer Interests 57:26.


4

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
Community Development Resources and Food System Research in Vermont .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Work has completed with the Vermont Food Venter Center Recipe to Market and Selling Skills workshops. The Vermont Council on Rural Development completed its work on the Community Visit program, including a Community Visit in Shoreham, VT, and preparations for Community Visits in Marlboro and Fairfield, VT. VCRD has also consulted on various community issues with Windsor, Essex, West Fairlee, the Mad River Valley, Castleton, Fairhaven, Proctor, Shaftsbury, Winhall, Concord, Peacham, St. Albans, Charlotte, Pittsford, and Canaan, VT, and provided follow-up consultation with Killington, Woodstock, Hinesburg, Rutland, Wilmington, and Johnson, VT. The Vermont Law School has completed work on the development of three local development review training modules, as part of a larger series. The three modules are titled Interpreting and Applying Standards, Reading Plats and Site Plans, and Taking Evidence. Work continues with Shelburne Farms on the VT Food Education Every Day farm to school program support. This project also supported the commencement of the Indicators of Downtown Health project, which involved 4 pilot downtowns in Vermont in a research and policy project to develop a list of feasible and effective indicators in the absence of any existing database (more at www.smartgrowthvermont.org/help/indicators). The Vermont State Center has provided outreach to Vermonters for accessing U.S. Census Bureau data and advocated on behalf of Vermont data users (http://crs.uvm.edu/census). This grant has funded CRS staff involvement in the Vermont Land Use Education and Training Collaborative. This grant has funded the Food System Research Collaborative with a website at www.foodsystemresearch.net and also supported the work of the Food Systems Spire at the University of Vermont. This grant has supported the Growing Vermont student-run store on the UVM campus, which provides specialized assistance and consultation for micro-entrepreneurs. This grant funded the second volume of the Opportunities for Agriculture working paper series (can be found at www.foodsystemresearch.net/opportunities-for-agriculture-white-paper-series). This grant has supported the Local Growers Guide at www.vermontgrowersguide.com. This grant has funded CRS staff involvement in the Obesity Prevention Initiative of the Vermont Attorney General.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The activities funded by this grant have contributed to local capacity building in Vermont communities in the areas of local food systems, information access and use, planning and development, entrepreneurship and more. State Data Center activities helped Vermonters access the data they need for local communities and businesses. User evaluations have proven that the online resources supported by this grant are very beneficial to Vermonters. In their primary roles, 62% of Vermont Indicators Online users say that the website is very useful, while 16% say that it is essential. Vermonters use the website for many different reasons from writing grants to compiling local plans. Of Vermont Planning Information Center users, 38% say that the website is very useful, while 23% say that it is essential. The VPIC website is used by local officials for education on planning matters, as well as by those who provide technical assistance to planners. The Opportunities for Agriculture working paper series is working to bring research knowledge from academia to communities of practice. The Indicators of Downtown Health project has provide new knowledge and capacities to designated downtown networks in Vermont and led the Vermont Downtown Program to begin requiring regular data collection. The Growing Vermont student-run store has provided micro-entrepreneurs with entirely unique assistance and consultation on their products.

Publications:
Berlin, Linda, Jane Kolodinsky, and Kim Norris (forthcoming). Farm-to-School: Implications for Child Nutrition. Journal of School Health.


4

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
Food System Research and Community Development Outreach in Vermont .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
All sub-awards associated with this project have been contracted. The Vermont Law School has nearly completed work on the development of local development review training modules, including Alternative Dispute Resolution: Why, When and How. Work continues with Shelburne Farms on the VT Food Education Every Day farm to school program support. This project also supported the completion of the Indicators of Downtown Health project, which involved 4 pilot downtowns in Vermont in a research and policy project to develop a list of feasible and effective indicators in the absence of any existing database (more at www.smartgrowthvermont.org/help/indicators). The Vermont State Center has provided outreach to Vermonters for accessing U.S. Census Bureau data and advocated on behalf of Vermont data users (http://crs.uvm.edu/census). This grant has funded CRS staff involvement in the Vermont Land Use Education and Training Collaborative. This grant has funded the Food System Research Collaborative with a website at www.foodsystemresearch.net and also supported the work of the Food Systems Spire at the University of Vermont. This grant has supported the Growing Vermont student-run store on the UVM campus, which provides specialized assistance and consultation for micro-entrepreneurs. This grant has supported the Local Growers Guide at www.vermontgrowersguide.com.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The activities funded by this grant have contributed to local capacity building in Vermont communities in the areas of local food systems, information access and use, planning and development, entrepreneurship and more. State Data Center activities have helped Vermonters access the data they need for local communities and businesses. User evaluations have proven that the online resources supported by this grant are very beneficial to Vermonters. In their primary roles, 62% of Vermont Indicators Online users say that the website is very useful, while 16% say that it is essential. Vermonters use the website for many different reasons from writing grants to compiling local plans. Of Vermont Planning Information Center users, 38% say that the website is very useful, while 23% say that it is essential. The VPIC website is used by local officials for education on planning matters, as well as by those who provide technical assistance to planners. The Indicators of Downtown Health project has provide new knowledge and capacities to designated downtown networks in Vermont and led the Vermont Downtown Program to begin requiring regular data collection. The manual produced by the effort is available at www.smartgrowthvermont.org/help/indicators . The Growing Vermont student-run store has provided micro-entrepreneurs with entirely unique assistance and consultation on their products.

Publications:
Roche, Erin, and J. Kolodinsky (2011). Overcoming barriers to provide local produce in school lunches in Vermont. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. (1)3 Winter


4

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets
Researching the Taste of Place in Vermont .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The purpose of "Researching the Taste of Place in Vermont" was to develop a set of producer-driven action steps for protecting and promoting place-based foods in Vermont. The Taste of Place framework allows producers to identify specific, unique characteristics of their products and authenticate those characteristics by making connections to the place the product was grown or produced, the natural environment, production practices, and culture. This concept is different from other standards because it focuses on product quality, uniqueness, and collective action by producers. The project's main objective was to make recommendations that would help producer groups and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture recognize products that are of high quality and unique to Vermont; create producer-driven tools and standards to promote and market place-based products; find new ways to promote and preserve Vermont's working landscape; and tell the story of Vermont's food traditions. Significant accomplishments and outputs of this project include: 1) Working sessions in October and November 2010 that brought together maple, cheese, meat, apple and wine producers, researchers, policymakers, and experts from Vermont and abroad to discuss opportunities for place-based foods in Vermont. The sessions included presentations and discussions about the process and opportunities for establishing designations for Vermont products, the products that may be suited to a designation, how a designation system could benefit different producer groups, where cooperation could take place among producer groups, and producers' policy and research needs. 2) Bringing a panel of international experts to Vermont to share their expertise on designation of origin products and systems, participate in the producer working sessions, and advise the project team. 3) Independent research produced an inventory of place-based marketing and certification systems in the United States with an analysis of tools and strategies that could work in Vermont. 4) In depth interviews with representatives of producer associations to clarify association needs. 5) A detailed set of action steps for market-driven, producer-led initiatives intended to support Vermont's diverse producers and their associations; promote and protect Vermont's working landscape by increasing opportunities for producers; engage Vermonters and visitors in a meaningful way; and make better use of the state's natural resources. These action steps are in line with results from a concurrent UVM market research study that indicates a consumer demand for a place-based designation system for Vermont food products both in Vermont and in metro areas in the northeastern United States. The results of this research were disseminated to the producer groups, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, and project partners. They were also published online on the UVM Food System Research Collaborative website: http://www.foodsystemresearch.net/ Based on these outcomes, the next steps for the project is strategic facilitation for producer groups to develop shared standards and priorities for moving forward.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The major findings and of this work is a set of action items to advance Taste of Place work in Vermont. These recommendations are a consolidation of the producer discussions at the working sessions, research of place-based marketing and certification systems around the world, and interviews and consultation with producer association representatives and subcommittees, visiting experts, and the Taste of Place Working Session Advisory Committee. Research: 1) Economic analysis for place-based foods, 2) Define quality for different products, 3) Engage the University of Vermont (particularly the new Food System Spire) in the development of a research agenda specific to place-based foods, 4) Cross-border collaboration Tools and Infrastructure: 1) Support for producer associations to help them establish quality standards, develop best management practices and certification strategies, 2) Creation of self-assessment tools, 3) state assistance with inspections to certify best management practices Government and Legislative: 1) Develop a strategic plan around designations and labeling that ties in with existing work on working landscape protection and strengthening Vermont's food system (Farm to Plate, Vermont Working Landscape Partnership), 2) Revisit Seal of Quality program, 3) Legislative support for self-funded, self-regulated producer association initiatives Recent research into Vermont's Seal of Quality and an investigation of state labeling and marketing efforts around the country illustrated that geographic location is the selling point and Vermont origins rule already regulates labeling. Recommendations from this research include the need to: 1) Look outside government model for funding and to use funds for promotion, not enforcement, 2) Target marketing efforts at point of sale displays as opposed to on product labels, 3) Allow producers to create standards, 4) Use an honesty policy for compliance, 5) Coordinate promotional efforts at the state level, especially the departments of Tourism and Marketing and Economic, Housing and Community Development and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and markets. For any of these efforts to be effective, there must be a consistent message based on the concept of quality. That's where the producers and producer associations come in. Quality must be defined by not just the characteristics of the raw product, but quality related to how the food is produced, the land where it is produced, and the livelihoods of the people who produce it. Based on a careful analysis of the outcomes of the producer working sessions, the expert recommendations, and extensive research into tools and strategies used for place-based designation systems around the world, it is clear that the next step is strategic facilitation for producer groups to develop shared standards and priorities for moving forward.


4

Washington County Youth Service Bureau
Evaluation of the Return House Transitional Living Program .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The Return House (RH) transitional living reentry program, operated by the Washington County Youth Service (YSB), is a comprehensive community-based reentry program for 18-22 year old male offenders. This program evaluation serves to examine the extent that RH has met the following goals: build community partnerships; improve relations between RH staff and the VT Department of Corrections; and improve essential re-entry services that focus on employment, life skills, and community relationships. With new leadership in place at the YSB and RH, staff have forged a strong partnership with VT DOC, drug and alcohol counselors, and job training and employment counselors to offer youth intensive case management tailored to each situation. Staff have also built a good relationship with the Food Works program. To track client outcomes, YSB and the Center for Rural Studies (CRS) worked with an outside consultant to build a database that stores client information for quarterly analysis. Staff will begin to populate this database in the next year. Now that the RH program has completed significant internal improvements, in the next year CRS will begin to evaluate the outcomes of this new programming and intensive case management. Results are disseminated to project staff and funding sources annually and through reports.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Residents of the RH program in are critical need for assistance and support in their transition from incarceration back into society. Participants typically come to RH with numerous co-occurring challenges. Two thirds of participants reported being estranged from at least one immediate family member, such as a biological mother, father or both. More than half were exposed to alcohol and substance abuse while growing up, with often one or both parents and some or all siblings having dependency problems. About a third came from a home where they were abused, surrounded by constant conflict, or were neglected by their parents. On the positive side, a little over half reported having a supportive relationship with at least one family member, a quarter had a relationship or expressed the desire for a relationship with their child, and 18% reported having a good relationship with their significant other. Common personality disorders faced are depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Other specific issues faced include: grieving, anger management, being socially withdrawn, isolation, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attachment disorder. Most participants have substance abuse issues that co-occur with mental health issues or life circumstances. Cannabis and/or alcohol dependency are the most common problems exhibited by most participants. Failure to stay sober and behavior/attitude problems that negatively impacted other residents are main reasons why participants return to jail. Now that staff will begin to use the client database, CRS will track their outcomes over time, including recidivism, sanctions, achievements and accomplishments, and services received. The following program outcomes are from interviews and focus groups with staff on the progress of residents since the program redefined its direction. The house is currently at full capacity and longer term residents have demonstrated significant progress. Residents are working on completion of their high school diploma and other education; obtaining and maintaining employment; establishing a savings account and saving half of their income; maintaining sobriety; addressing mental health issues; and improving family relationships. Residents have also demonstrated skills in problem solving and show responsibility and accountability for their actions. The Food Works program has worked with residents to establish and maintain a community garden that is located next to the property. Residents participate in ongoing sessions with Food Works that cover nutrition, healthy eating, and food preparation with garden and other purchased items. Results show promising changes in RH residents, however they still battle with issues related to substance abuse and mental health. The RH is a critical program in the Barre community to help appropriate clients transition from incarceration and back into society as a productive citizen. Residents, their family members, and the community at large benefit from the RH, which helps these men learn from their experiences, not re-offend, and become contributors rather than burdens to society.


4

Hatch
Farm to Institution: Opportunities for Vermont Vegetable Farmers .

Principal Investigator: D. Conner

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Activities : Under Conner's guidance, CDAE Graduate Assistant Noelle Sevoian has conducted 19 key informant interviews of VT supply chain actors engaged in farm to institution (FTI) programs. These interviews have been transcribed, and preliminary analysis for key themes has begun. Events. Conner and Sevoian assisted in developing the agenda and discussion questions for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) Winter Conference FTI Working Session February 12, 2011, then participated in the Session. Services: Conner and Sevoian currently serve as members of the Vermont FTI Advisory Board, assisting NOFA-FT and Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT-FEED)in their research and outreach efforts Products: As evidenced by the above membership and participation in statewide networks, Conner and Sevoian have developed deep, trusted collaborative relationships with statewide FTI networks, particularly NOFA-FT and VT-FEED. They are collaborating to conduct a statewide survey of food service buyers in Fall 2011. Sevoian has submitted an abstract and been invited to present her work at the Annual Food Distribution Research Society meeting in October. Sevoian has presented her work at the The Future of Food and Nutrition: Tufts Student Research Conference, Boston, MA, April 2, 2011 .Conner and Sevoian presented at the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society Annual Meeting, University of Montana, Missoula MT, June 10, 2011.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Change in knowledge: the researchers and broader FTI community better understand the attitudes and behaviors of supply chain actors in VT, especially the opportunity for using the story of how, when and by whom food was produced as a marketing tool. In addition, the role of relationships and transaction costs and distribution practices and strategies are better understood. Finally, the need for a better, quantified understanding of institutional demand is understood. As a result of our research, we will be collaborating with NOFA-VT and VT-FEED on a buyer survey (to be conducted in Fall 2011) to measure demand so that farmers can better plan for and meet it.


4a

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
Impacts of Multifunctional Operations on Long Term Sustainability and Prosperity for Small and Medium-Sized Farms and Rural Communities .

Principal Investigator: C. Liang

Accomplishments & Outputs:
This project was designed to study and analyze (1) types of entrepreneurial business activities that farmers choose to do besides conventional farming; (2) why farmers choose to be engaged in entrepreneurial activities; (3) how their decisions impact on farm income and personal/family satisfaction; and (4) how entrepreneurial farmers influence community economic development. We have presented papers, posters, and workshops in 2011 to describe the theoretical framework, hypotheses, objectives, and expected outcomes. We began conducting the screening survey with all New England farmers in October 2011. The follow-up detailed farm survey has been designed and will be mailed to a sample of farmers in New England in 2012. Customer/visitor survey will be designed in 2012 and will be sent to customers/visitors through farmers in 2012 and 2013. Other data used in this project will include USDA ARMS data and county data.

Outcomes & Impacts:
There has not been a study to estimate entrepreneurial farm activities at farm level, regional level, and national level. Policy makers need to understand the impacts of entrepreneurial farm activities on farm income, community financial situation, and employment. Farmers need information to establish innovative business models that will create more opportunities in the future. Community organizations need to know how to support and assist farmers and other enterprises to be entrepreneurial.

Publications:
Liang, C.; Ahearn, M.; Brown, J. & Goetz, S. (2011). Multifunctional Farm Enterprises - Improving Long Term Sustainability and Prosperity for Small and Medium - Sized Farms and Rural Communities, Poster, USDA, AFRI program conference, Miami, Florida, November.

Liang, C. (2011). A Life Case Study of Hardwick, Vermont - Multifunctional Farm Operation and Long Term Profitability for Small and Medium Sized Farm, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July.

Liang, C.; Ahearn, M.; Brown, J. & Goetz, S. (2011). Multifunctional Farm Enterprises - Improving Long Term Sustainability and Prosperity for Small and Medium-Sized Farms and Rural Communities, Poster, National Tourism Extension Conference, Charleston, South Carolina, March.

Liang, C. & Dunn, P. (2011). Encouraging the Entrepreneurial Spirit among Small Farmers for Rural Tourism Development, Workshop, National Tourism Extension Conference, Charleston, South Carolina, March.

Multifunctional Farm Operation as Strategies to Improve Long Term Farm Profitability, The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, February 2011.


4a

Department of Agriculture USDA
Crop Insurance Education for Vermont Farmers 2010-2011 .

Principal Investigator: R. Parsons

Accomplishments & Outputs:
This USDA funded project was awarded to the University of Vermont with the purpose of providing training and education to Vermont farmers on the use of Crop Insurance and other risk management tools. Vermont is one of 16 states targeted by the USDA for extra education efforts due to the lower than usual use of Crop Insurance as compared to other states. In this effort we provide detailed training on the different choices of Crop Insurance and tie it to education efforts in production, marketing, financial, legal, and human resource management risk areas. The specific key objectives were: 1) To increase producer awareness of the availability and kinds of risk covered by crop insurance; 2) To teach the use of crop insurance as a general risk management tool; 3) Inform Vermont farmers on how to effectively incorporate production, marketing and financial tools into risk management decisions; 4) Ensure Vermont farmers are aware of the features, benefits of and criteria for participating in the Apple, Peach, Sweet Corn, Corn, Nursery, Small Grains, AGR, AGR-Lite, Dairy-LGM, specialty crops, and any emerging insurance programs; 5) To increase awareness of key program dates, such as sales closing dates, and 6) to improve record keeping skills relating to crop insurance. During the past year UVM Extension educators provided training with 64 programs for 7422 people, plus another 530 farmers on farm visits. Similarly, our education partners, NOFA, reached 634 people through 15 workshops as well as 1300 at their annual meeting, and Vermont DHIA reached 185 farmers through 10 workshops and 15 farm visits. Therefore educational efforts were spread across dairy, crop, apple, vegetable, maple, and diverse Vermont producers. While crop insurance is the main message, adopting other risk management strategies is the underlying top for all educational programs. One specific achievement was the sales of Dairy Livestock Gross Margin, a new type of insurance for dairy farmers. Efforts in Vermont resulted in Vermont achieving the 2nd highest amount of milk covered by insurance in the US. Only Wisconsin, which has 12x more dairy farmers achieved a greater sales level. In addition, an estimated 75% of corn in Vermont is covered by crop insurance, with a 50% increase in step-up coverage from just 3 years ago. Efforts are being continued on the same strategy in 2011-2012. We are emphasizing more training on crop insurance for smaller operators, diversified vegetable and fruit operations, and those not growing the standard corn-soybean field crops. We expect similar results for 2010.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The major finding is that Vermont farmers have a greater understanding of risk management tools and Crop Insurance as demonstrated by their greater use of available programs. Yet there is a greater need for additional education to increase risk management awareness and to develop feedback to the USDA Risk Management Agency on the need for changes in programs and new products. For example in 2011, flooding from Hurricane Irene demonstrated the need for revisions in decision making guides to farmers with flooded crops. In addition, there is a lack of coverage by vegetable farmers due to the challenges faced by raising 20 or more crops. This year we arranged for visits with RMA specialists to raise these concerns with lenders, farmers, and Vermont Dept. of Agriculture officials. Society and farmers benefit from the greater use of risk management strategies that lessen the impact of disasters on producers. For 4 of the past 5 years, Vermont farmers have received more from indemnity payments than they paid for crop insurance. In addition, the implementation of each small risk management strategy, even though difficult to measure, has a positive impact on the sustainability of that farmer. Another huge plus is that Vermont farmers received over $1,000,000 in subsidies from the premiums for Dairy Livestock Gross Margin Insurance in 2011. The topic of Crop Insurance and risk management is becoming a hotter topic in the current budget talks at the federal level. IT may appear that we may see a major revision in farm support programs, reducing farmer ability to obtain government aid in times of normal and disaster situations. The use of Crop Insurance to protect investments remains the most flexible program farmers can take to protect themselves from natural and market disasters. In addition, the thought process of reducing risk, either production, marketing, financial, legal, or human resource increases the changes of farmer survival and sustainability.


4a

Foreign Agricultural Services/Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Credit .

Principal Investigator: R. Parsons

Accomplishments & Outputs:
This USDA funded project was awarded to the University of Vermont with the purpose of providing intensive 2 week education in Agricultural Credit and Finance to a group of individuals who were awarded a Cochran Fellowship. This is a competitive scholarship to individuals in different regions of the world that funds an opportunity to come to the US to study different topics in ag production, marketing, and economics. This year 6 individuals from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador came to the University of Vermont for 2 weeks of training in agricultural credit and finance. The individuals completed a Credit and Financial Analysis Training course developed by Dr. Greg Hanson from Penn State and Bob Parsons from the University of Vermont. This is the same course required of new farm loan officers of the USDA Farm Service Agency. The 32 hour course was interspersed with visits to farm lenders, extension educators, a Canadian ag credit representative, and area farms. All 6 individuals finished the course by passing the final test and were awarded completion certificates. The results of the project were the training of 6 individuals who are taking this training back to their country with the intention of developing farmer-financial and credit training programs. The Cochran Fellows represented private, government, and NGO organizations that provide lending to farmers. By providing financial training to farmers, they will develop better users of ag credit, create better managers, and develop a sound agricultural business environment. These plans are being developed by the Cochran Fellows in cooperation with their home organizations. This type of training provides the Cochran Fellows in understanding agriculture production and finance in the US, creating a better relationship between the countries that benefits both in future trade and relations.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Sound Agricultural Finance and Credit policies are a key to today's capital intensive agriculture that is feeding the world's growing population. This is not easily achieved. Many of the countries represented by the Cochran Fellows have not experienced established ag credit programs in the past and now realize that a stable credit policy and availability of credit by small scale producers is essential for agricultural and rural development. This program has been used for the USDA Farm Service Agency since 1997, with more than 10,000 individuals benefitting and passing the course. Evaluations have consistently placed it as one of the best training programs individuals have ever received from the USDA. To enhance its effectiveness with this group, we taught the course in Spanish, primarily with Dr. Hanson, with assistance from Dr. Parsons. This is the second international group of Cochran Fellows trained by Parsons and Hanson. While this program's biggest winners are the countries of the Cochran Fellows, US lenders, Extension educators, and area farmers also benefit from the project. The increase in mutual understanding and respect improves our understanding of the world economy. Often, our visits with local lenders brought a deep respect for the challenges faced by the Cochran Fellows in their own countries. Therefore the benefit is mutual.


4a

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
Farmland Access, Tenure and Succession: Impacts on Small and Medium-Sized Farms, Land Use and the Environment .

Principal Investigator: R. Parsons

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The Farmland Access, Tenure and Succession: Impacts on Small and Medium-sized Farms, Land Use and the Environment project is an integrated, multi-institutional project that conducted and evaluated research outreach and classroom education on: 1) farmland access and tenure for farm entrants; 2) farm succession challenges for exiting farm operators; and 3) the impacts of tenure and succession arrangements on land use and the environment. More specifically, the project will develop two educational modules to be used as classroom instruction, conduct outreach activities at regional and national levels, and research topics related to farm transfer education and policy. The project has completed its tasks, climaxed by a national conference on farm transfer education in Denver, Co in June 2009. Included in our project results are a training manual for new and beginning farmers, Module One: Farmland tenure and acquisition, and Module Two: Tenancy and landlord-tenant relations; three research reports including Farmland access and tenure for farm entrants; Farm succession challenges for exiting farm operators; and The impacts of tenure and succession arrangements on land use and the environment. Also produced was a manual of the proceedings of our national conference that attracted 175 individuals. The final product was the FarmLASTs Executive Summary and Recommendations. Each of the above products led to greater understanding and education on the aspects of farm transfer, farmland access for new and beginning farmers, farmland tenure for new farmers, and leading to a younger generation of farmers in the US. The results have been distributed nationally through 1) the national conference, 2) availability of information on the project's website, and through announcements, emails, and distributions of information at similar topic meetings. We will finish analysis of the project research, studies, and results from the conference and publish in the next year through peer reviewed articles.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The project's goal was to examine farmland access, succession, and tenure issues across the US through education, research, and outreach. The project summary determined that U.S. agriculture faces significant challenges regarding how farms and ranches are acquired, held, transferred and managed for conservation. In the next twenty years about 70% of the nation's private farm and ranchland will change hands and up to 25% of farmers and ranchers will retire. Women, absentee, and non-farming landlords are increasing. Cost, competition and availability of land (and often housing) are major challenges for most beginning farmers. Studies show that over two-thirds of retiring farmers do not have identified successors and nearly 90% of farm owners neither had an exit strategy nor knew know how to develop one. The project's recommendations are: a) to increase the opportunity to access to farms and ranches; b) affordable options are needed to acquire land and housing; and c) need for secure farmland tenure, through ownership or lease. For there to be a vibrant agriculture in the US, we need to have a process to transfer assets from the older generation to the next generation of farmers. Barriers are often lack of capital and the lack of planning by those now owning the agricultural assets. Special attention should be paid to families without farming heirs, the junior generation, women inheritors and socially disadvantaged populations. The research and education efforts were: 1) Farmland access and tenure for farm entrants; 2) Farm succession challenges for exiting farm operators; and 3) The impacts of tenure and succession arrangements on land use and the environment. Farmland entrants have a significant problem in accessing land. Need land to farm but can't get land without money and can't make money if you can't farm. Farmland entrants need some assistance if they are to get started in farming. The research reports generally documented the general beliefs of farmland access problems for exiting farm operators. Many do not have a plan or identified a successor. This begs the question of who is going to operate the farm business or land in the future. Many are unsure about income during retirement years, leading to holding onto assets. The last study concluded that conservation practices did not coincide with farmland tenure. This was an unexpected result as it was believed that farmland ownership was correlated with conservation stewardship. As such, there is no research proof that land renters are less concerned about stewardship. The greatest outcome of this project was the comradely at our national conference which brought together the leaders in farmland access for new farmers and leading educators for farmland transition in the US and a few from Great Britain, Canada, and Australia. The 3 day conference highlighted challenges and different strategies being approached by different groups across the US. The benefit of this conference brought out the concern and the ability of individuals working in this area to adopt different methods to assist aspiring and established farmers.


4a

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
Enhancing the Profitability and Sustainability of Small and Medium Sized Dairy Farms through Artisan Cheese and Other Valued-Added Products .

Principal Investigator: Q. Wang

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The project goal is to provide technical and business management information and training for assisting small and medium dairy farms to produce and market farmstead and artisan cheese and other value-added dairy products through integrated research, extension, and education activities. Major project activities this year include (1) conducted a survey of Vermont farmstead and artisan cheesemakers to assess their business performance and needs for information and assistance, (2) completed a focus group study to identify cheese attributes that are important to consumers, (3) developed a consumer survey based on the method of conjoint analysis and survey will be conducted in November 2011, and (4) offered 50 training classes in Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese (VIAC) for farmers and other individuals who are interested in artisan cheese. In the next year, we will conduct the proposed consumer and retailer surveys, enhance the training programs at VIAC with a business management component, and publish the findings from the project.

Outcomes & Impacts:
While the artisan cheesemaker survey conducted in Vermont suggests that they need more technical and business management information and training, the focus group study indicates that the most important cheese attributes include flavor, texture, price, whether it is organic or not, place of origin, nutritional content, and safety and certification. Such attributes and appropriate attribute levels have been used to develop the conjoint consumer survey to be conducted in November 2011. During this project year, we have offered a total of 50 technical courses, including seven complete series of the Cheesemaking Certificate Program and five additional courses for the Advance Certificate Program (an advanced sensory evaluation course, two series of the Affinage course, and three international courses) via VIAC. The participants this year included close to 300 cheesemakers and future cheesemakers from Vermont, other states in the United States, and several other countries around the world (e.g., Australia, Puerto Rico, Canada and Brazil). Many farms, especially small farms, and other individuals interested in producing artisan and farmstead cheese are expected to benefit from the information and training programs provided through this project. These stakeholders need assistance because they generally do not have the resources to compete with large commercial cheese producers and need information and training to produce and market artisan and farmstead cheese through niche markets.


4a

Hatch
Economic feasibility and market potentials for oilseed and farm-scale biodiesel production in Vermont .

Principal Investigator: Q. Wang

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The major purpose of this project is to collect primary data and analyze the economic feasibility and market potentials for Vermont farmers to produce oilseeds and biodiesel and other renewable energy products. In this third year of the project, we have focused on the analysis of the CVPS Cow Power program in which dairy farmers use cow manure to generate electricity and sell the electricity to participating CVPS customers at a premium price. Our study suggests that it is technically feasible to convert cow manure to electricity on farms, but the economic returns depend highly on the base electricity price, the premium paid for converted energy, financial supports from government and other agencies, and the ability to sell byproducts of the methane generation. One poster was presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and one article has been published in the Journal of Dairy Science. The study has been widely reported online due to the publisher's new release entitled Does Converting Cow Manure to Electricity Pay Off? The project will continue to collect more primary data with a focus on the economic feasibility for small farms next year.

Outcomes & Impacts:
This study has reviewed the mechanism for CVPS, dairy farms, electricity customers, and government agencies to develop and operate the Cow Power program since 2004, examined the costs and returns for the participating dairy farms, and assessed their cash flow over a period of seven years under different scenarios. With six dairy farms generating about 12 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and more than 4,600 CVPS electricity customers voluntarily paying premiums of $0.04 per kWh or a total of about $470,000 per year, the CVPS Cow Power program represents a successful and locally sourced renewable energy project with many environmental and economic benefits. Factors for the successful development and operation of the program include significant grants from government agencies and other organizations, strong consumer support, timely adjustments to the basic electricity price paid to the farms, and close collaboration among the participating parties. This study confirms that it is technically feasible to convert cow manure to electricity on farms, but the economic returns depend highly on the base electricity price, premium rate, financial supports from government agencies and other organizations, and sales of the byproducts of methane generation. Findings from this study are expected to be helpful to farmers, communities, and policymakers that are interested in locally sourced renewable energy.

Publications:
Wang, Q., E. Thompson, R. Parsons, G. Rogers, and D. Dunn. 2011. Economic feasibility of converting cow manure to electricity: A case study of the CVPS Cow Power program in Vermont. J. of Dairy Science 94: 4937-4949.


4c

Vermont Center for Geographic Information
Vermont Broadband Mapping Initiative .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The Vermont Broadband Mapping Initiative is a comprehensive and verified geographic inventory of broadband service in the State of Vermont. Landline and wireless services (fixed and mobile) are being mapped, including wireless voice and data with information from providers and other sources. The broadband mapping information collected and verified through this effort supports the broadband development objectives identified in the RUS Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), and NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)in Vermont. the geographic inventory helps to identify unserved and underserved areas, supporting targeted investments in these areas. The Center for Rural Studies (CRS) is engaged in research activities to compare the self-reported broadband Internet connectivity and availability of households and businesses in Vermont with the data reported by broadband service providers. CRS is also surveying "community anchor institutions" such as libraries, schools, town offices and public gathering buildings, for details on their broadband Internet connectivity. Several dissemination processes are underway including articles in papers of record throughout Vermont and through an online portal that describes project activities, findings and goals and objectives.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Data collection is ongoing. The continued collection and analysis of data strengthens the Broadband Mapping Initiative's knowledge of existing broadband infrastructure within Vermont. Identified unserved and underserved communities may be targeted for additional broadband provision investment strategies. Vermonters in areas where broadband build-out has not been accomplished are likely to receive the most benefit from this research as findings assist in informing where additional resources should be targeted.


4c

National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Department of Agriculture
Building Resilience Through Community-Based Action Research: Identifying Vulnerabilities and Facilitating Change in Rural Mobile Home Parks .

Principal Investigator: D. Baker

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Mobile home parks provide critical affordable housing options for low-income residents in rural areas of the United States. The majority of these parks were built before environmental regulations or land use planning was in place for site evaluation. Consequently, many parks are located in areas vulnerable to natural hazards, such as flooding, where mitigation would have been required if permitted today. The combination of low incomes, relatively high population densities, and poor site planning increases the vulnerability of mobile home parks to a wide range of disasters. The primary goal of this three-year research proposal is to increase the resilience to disasters of mobile home parks in the rural state of Vermont using an action-research approach, and builds upon more than five years of collaborative research with mobile home park communities. Disaster resilience for residents will be increased through hazard identification, community organization, emergency planning, and improved coordination between key stakeholders such as resident associations, the emergency management system, affordable housing institutions and governmental agencies. This research project will use existing and new data to evaluate and increase the emergency preparedness of mobile home parks in the state of Vermont. Using statewide and park-scale surveys, integrated into a participatory action research framework, the project will build the capacity of low income communities to respond to disaster. A database of emergency management information scaled for mobile home park communities will be developed and made available to park residents and owners, as well as municipal officials and the regional emergency management system. A series of guides for improving disaster resiliency within park communities will be created for park residents, park owners, and local planning stakeholders. Strategies to increase participation in emergency management planning by low-income individuals will be explored, addressing a critical need identified in the literature. Since the project began in September 2010, 17 mobile home parks have sustained damages from the Spring 2011 flooding and flooding from Tropical Storm Irene destroying more than 150 homes. As a result of this current situation we are documenting the effects and impacts of these events, including providing documentation for the deconstruction of the destroyed mobile homes in partnership with the CVOEO Mobile Home Project, the Vermont Association of General Contractors, and the Lieutenant Governors Office. A number of possible research questions have been identified as a result of Irene during both the initial response and longer term recovery phases. We will work with a variety of partners and stakeholders to continue investigating the impacts of these events on Vermont mobile home parks throughout the next year. We have been providing data and information to Local Emergency Planning Committees through presentations as well as participating in conversations with affordable housing advocates and organizations.

Outcomes & Impacts:
The flooding events of 2011 have illustrated the vulnerabilities of Vermont mobile home parks and this research project has been able to engage in the ongoing dialogue of how these communities recover from these events. Preliminary GIS analysis using the best available floodplain data shows that approximately 25 percent of Vermont mobile home parks are sited within 100 year floodplains, including 13 of the 15 parks that sustained heavy damages during Tropical Storm Irene. We will continue identifying other hazards to parks in Year 2 of this project. This hazard analysis should be of interest to a variety of stakeholders including, but not limited to, park residents, park owners, affordable housing advocates, local governments and state policymakers. We hope that this analysis will enable more proactive emergency planning and preparedness for mobile home park communities. We have also in the process of comparing statewide preparedness and that of mobile home park residents. The statewide survey (n=596) found that about 1/3 of respondents believed themselves to be prepared for an emergency. The remaining 2/3, while not assessing themselves as prepared did report activities that are generally recommended for disaster preparedness, e.g. 78% had enough food and water for at least 72 hours. The survey also found that prior to Tropical Storm Irene most Vermonters viewed flooding as an unlikely event relative to other potential disasters. In the Fall 2011 we are asking similar questions of mobile home park residents throughout the state and have currently completed more than 120 resident surveys. This survey activity is expected to be completed in Dec. 2011 and the analysis by Feb. 2012.

Publications:
Baker, D., K. Hamshaw, C. Beach. (2011) Facilitating Change in Rural Mobile Home Parks A Collaborative Action Research Approach. Journal of Rural and Community Development


4c

Michigan State University
Farm-to-Institution: Guiding Marketing and Pricing Decision for Small and Medium Sized Farms .

Principal Investigator: D. Conner

Accomplishments & Outputs:
Activities : Under Conner's guidance, CDAE Graduate Assistant Noelle Sevoian has conducted 19 key informant interviews of VT supply chain actors engaged in farm to institution (FTI) programs. These interviews have been transcribed, and preliminary analysis for key themes has begun. Events. Conner and Sevoian assisted in developing the agenda and discussion questions for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) Winter Conference FTI Working Session February 12, 2011, then participated in the Session. Services: Conner and Sevoian currently serve as members of the Vermont FTI Advisory Board, assisting NOFA-FT and Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT-FEED)in their research and outreach efforts Products: As evidenced by the above membership and participation in statewide networks, Conner and Sevoian have developed deep, trusted collaborative relationships with statewide FTI networks, particularly NOFA-FT and VT-FEED. They are collaborating to conduct a statewide survey of food service buyers in Fall 2011. Sevoian has submitted an abstract and been invited to present her work at the Annual Food Distribution Research Society meeting in October. Sevoian has presented her work at the The Future of Food and Nutrition: Tufts Student Research Conference, Boston, MA, April 2, 2011 .Conner and Sevoian presented at the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society Annual Meeting, University of Montana, Missoula MT, June 10, 2011. Finally CDAE Graduate Assistant Florence Becot is beginning to measure how diversified farms do price discovery and measurement, in order to guide sound pricing policies.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Change in knowledge: the researchers and broader FTI community better understand the attitudes and behaviors of supply chain actors in VT, especially the opportunity for using the story of how, when and by whom food was produced as a marketing tool. In addition, the role of relationships and transaction costs and distribution practices and strategies are better understood. Finally, the need for a better, quantified understanding of institutional demand is understood. As a result of our research, we will be collaborating with NOFA-VT and VT-FEED on a buyer survey (to be conducted in Fall 2011) to measure demand so that farmers can better plan for and meet it.


4c

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets
Agriculture Innovation Demonstration Centers .

Principal Investigator: J. Kolodinsky

Accomplishments & Outputs:
The purpose of this study was to conduct a market assessment of the demand for a place-based designation system for Vermont food products in the northeastern United States. The population of interest was the primary shoppers for households in the Philadelphia, New York, and Boston metropolitan areas and the state of Vermont. A survey of this population was conducted via mail and online, using a stratified, random sample. The findings from this study were put into a report, which was presented to the state.

Outcomes & Impacts:
Based on findings from two preliminary market studies, there appeared to be a demand for a place-based designation system for Vermont food products both in Vermont and in metro areas in the northeastern United States, outside of Vermont. In Vermont, at least 17.1 percent of households (primary household food shoppers) were "interested in a place-based designation system," which meant that approximately 41,000 Vermont households were interested in a place-based designation system. In the Philadelphia, Boston, and New York metro areas, the minimum levels of interest among households (primary household food shoppers) in a place-based designation system (when including non-respondents among those not interested in the concept) were 2.8, 2.1, and 4.0 percent, respectively. This means that there could be approximately 271,000 households in these three northeast metro areas that are interested in a place-based designation system for Vermont food products. Of these households, 44,500 represent "new" customers for the state's food products. There was no indication among consumers that a place-based designation system would negatively impact the Vermont brand, as long as the connection to Vermont remains noted. These findings will enable the State of Vermont to decide whether to move forward with a new, place-based designation system for certain Vermont food products.

Publications:
Center for Rural Studies. (2010). Taste of Place Market Assessment, Exploring the General Demand for a Place-based Designation System for Vermont Food Products in the Northeastern United States. Burlington, Vermont: University of Vermont, Center for Rural Studies.

Kolodinsky, Jane and Abby Smith (2011). Place-Based Marketing Opportunities for Vermont. Opportunities for Agriculture White Paper Series, Food System Research Collaborative, Center for Rural Studies, University of Vermont. 1(2).