Apply for a Conference
All currently open applications are linked below. The application is very short, but we strongly recommend reviewing all the details on this page before answering the questions:
There are not currently any open applications.
And here's the fine print . . .lots of helpful fine print. And yet, inevitably, questions will remain, which can be directed to email@example.com.
Vermont-based farmers, chefs, food producers, and their employees are eligible to apply - you do not have to be a member of the Vermont Fresh Network. The exception to these rules is that we do not exclude any VFN Partner Members; VFN Partner Members may apply from outside the state (farms & food producers within 30 miles of the Vermont border are eligible for partner membership).
There are two goals of this program - to help Vermonters working in the food system attend important conferences outside of our region, and to support sharing that information with other food professionals and / or the consumer public upon return.
Applicants can get creative with what this information sharing looks like. Please remember: the event or project does need to include some component of raising funds to support the next round of scholarships. Examples of possible events include holding special themed dinners, hosting networking events with an educational component, leading or hosting workshops, offering a menu special tied to a public education campaign, bringing in a special guest / speaker for a dinner, etc. Although the fundraising element needs to be present, the primary goal is to share information and make connections (in other words, we aren’t just choosing the project with the greatest potential monetary return . . . and we expect event hosts to recover all costs first, make donations second). See examples of past projects here.
We encourage applications from across the state. The network part of the Vermont Fresh Network is intended to connect people in every corner of the state, and we encourage all applicants to think about how the professional development and/or consumer education component can have the furthest reach.
Our overall funding priority is to support applicants who would not otherwise be able to attend the selected conference - both for financial reasons and also simply the challenge of getting away from a business to attend educational and professional development opportunities. In the case of close scores, this will be a determining factor.
How does the funding work?
Unless otherwise indicated, the Vermont Fresh Network will provide full registration fees, plus reimbursing travel and lodging up to a certain amount (that amount is based on ticket price comparisons and room rental rates in a city). Miscellaneous costs, such as subway fares or food outside of that provided by the conference, are not covered by these grants. Our default method of payment is to purchase registrations for the recipient, and then reimburse the travel and lodging based on receipts. Other arrangements can be made if necessary.
The following is how evaluators will score each application. It does look like a high school exam, for which we apologize.
Degree to which applicant’s conference goals align with VFN goals of strengthening the local food system through farmer-chef or farmer-food producer connections. Total Points: 25
Does the applicant have a unique perspective on this conference? (Someone can apply for support to attend a conference they have attended before, but not if they don’t plan to bring / take something new from it this time around) Total Points: 10
Will this conference inform applicant’s ongoing work in the food system? Applicants must be currently employed in food system work Total Points: 10
Expected impact of information sharing on return (see above for details on what this entails). Examples of questions to ask when evaluating impact include:
- Does this provide information or skills that translate to specific actions?
- Does this build networks or strengthen existing networks between peers / colleagues, between food professionals and consumers, across different parts of the food economy, within a community or region?
- Does this make a connection between previously unconnected regions? Between Vermont and other places?
- Does this event or project set a foundation for ongoing information sharing?
- Is this innovative - does it try out new approaches that might inform future projects?
- How is the applicant thinking about measuring impact? It can be a little change across a lot of people, or a lot of change across a small number of people, or a small change today that grows over time, or an utterly brilliant single intervention that changes everything, or. . .
We aren’t looking for a project to do all of these things, these questions are illustrating that there are many different ways to think about “impact”. Total Points: 45
How feasible is the information sharing plan? Note that VFN staff will work with applicants on these projects when they return, we aren’t looking for perfection in this stage, but we don’t want something utterly implausible. Total Points: 5
"This just seems like a really good idea" bonus points. Total Points: 5