The Dish Field Notes: Local Meat

Our moderator for The Dish, Joe Speidel, has been interviewing our panelists and livestock specialists in advance of The Dish I, and also paying visits to local establishments specializing Vermont-grown meat. Here’s an excerpt from his notebook.


“I became a farmer through the motivation to be comfortable with the food I ate - to be a responsible meat eater”.

Jen Colby, Pasture Program Coordinator, UVM Sustainable Agriculture


“When people think about local meat they think about a sense of community, and trying to develop a relationship with the food and the person that produces that food”.

“We can’t be too idealistic about these small farms – there is a feel-good aspect to that image but if that idealism is just based on nostalgia (as in, it should be like 1920 forever) that’s not realistic.”

Joe Emenheiser, Livestock Specialist at UVM Extension







  • Joe Emenheiser, Livestock specialist for UVM Extension
  • Jen Colby, Pasture Program Coordinator, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture

    The Center for Sustainable Agriculture advances sustainable food and farming systems in Vermont and beyond. We cultivate partnership, support innovative research and practices, and inform policy to benefit Vermont communities and the UVM campus.
  • Vermont Pasture Network – UVM Extension
    Vermont Pasture Network has been a collaboration between the Pasture Program at the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, the Vermont Grass Farmers' Association (VGFA), and UVM Extension. VPN's goal is to work cooperatively with farmers, other state and regional organizations, and agency personnel to promote and enhance successful grass-based livestock production throughout Vermont.

Food Systems

  • Foods Systems Initiative at UVM
    Programs, research, summit, classes
  • VT Food System Atlas – VT Farm to Plate Network – VT Sustainable Jobs Fund
    The Farm to Plate Network is a self-governing collaborative made up of farm and food system businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, funders, educational institutions and community groups all working together to reach the 25 goals in the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan, as well as to advance their own organizations’ goals. Members convene as Working Groups, Cross-cutting Teams, and Task Forces to work on high impact projects that no one organization can do on their own, as well as assess gaps, opportunities, and trends and monitor progress

    Map – Search for people and places in Vermont’s food system by keyword, food system category, and location.

    Chapter 2: Goals and Indicators for Strengthening Vermont’s Food System
    •    Goal 1: Consumption of Vermont-produced food by Vermonters and regional consumers will measurably increase.
    •    Objective - To increase the percentage of Vermont food products consumed by Vermonters from >5% to >10%.
    •    Annually estimate local food purchases by Vermont consumers following the methodology developed by Dr. David Conner (UVM CDAE), Dr. Linda Berlin (UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture) graduate student Florence Becot, Doug Hoffer, and VSJF staff.
    •    This and other information is under the link at the top called “THE PLAN”

  • Ag of the middle
  • A New England Food Vision – Food Solutions New England




Institutional Food


  • Real Food Calculator
    How much real food is being purchased by UVM? UVM assesses its food purchases using the Real Food Calculator developed by the Real Food Challenge.
  • Sustainable Food at Fletcher Allen
    Fletcher Allen aims to have the most sustainable health care food service in the country. In 2006, we were one of the first organizations in the nation to sign Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge to improve the health of patients, customers and the community by providing fresh, local and sustainable food.
  • VT Food System Atlas – VT Farm to Plate Network – VT Sustainable Jobs Fund

    Chapter 2: Goals and Indicators for Strengthening Vermont’s Food System
    Goal 2: Consumers in institutional settings (e.g., K-12 schools, colleges, state agency cafeterias, hospitals, prisons) will consume more locally produced food.
    We currently have incomplete information, but the Farm to Plate team's initial estimate is that local food expenditures make up only a small percentage of total food purchases at K-12 schools, colleges, the University of Vermont, state institutions, hospitals, and workplaces. NOFA Vermont's recent institutional purchasing study identified over $11 million in spending that could potentially be replaced with local fruits, vegetables, and eggs. Our key indicator starts with NOFA Vermont's study and will be refined over time as we improve our data collection capacity.
    To accomplish Goal 2, many organizations and programs in the Farm to Plate Network are providing matchmaking services between food producers and institutional consumers, working to understand the needs of institutional consumers, and trying to increase local food access at Vermont institutions.


Previous Topics

Local Meat


Field Notes

Video Recap


GMOs & You


Field Notes

Video Recap


Global Foods,
Local Perspectives




Git Yer Goat


Fair Food




Restorative Agriculture