Institute For Applied Agriculture and Food Systems
The Institute for Applied Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Tech supports students, farmers and agricultural specialists with educational opportunities related to animals, plants, soils, food systems, sustainability, mechanical systems and agriculture business management. These programs teach practical, hands-on techniques in diversified agriculture ranging from vegetable, fruit and berry production to dairy herd management to technical skills such as meat-cutting and welding. Vermont Tech is continually expanding the trainings being offered to meet agricultural workforce needs around the state.
The Institute uses a cooperative education learning model to provide programs that lead participants to high-wage, high-skill employment in the agriculture and food systems industry, and more specifically for workers eligible for training under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. The Institute has partnered with many organizations, government agencies and businesses around the state to provide many high-quality trainings that will help strengthen the agriculture and food systems workforce of Vermont.
In addition to the educational programing offered, the Institute for Applied Agriculture and Food Systems will build a dairy and food processing facility for both college and community use in Randolph Center, Vermont. This processing center will have two production spaces, one to process fluid milk and a second to process, prepare, package and freeze vegetables, fruit and berries. The Institute exists to strengthen Vermont Tech’s learning laboratory food loop, where students can see all aspects of functioning agriculture in practice on our campus, from dirt to plant to animal to food processing to dining hall, and then to waste handling, methane digester and back to dirt.
Institute Mission Statement
Rooted in the values that all food and fiber production must be science-based and sustainably support the environment over the long term through a full-cycle food system, the Institute provides hands-on learning to students of all ages and backgrounds. Through short, focused courses built around best practices, students are encouraged to develop the skills, knowledge and competency to make an immediate difference as agricultural or food system employees, or as entrepreneurs in those fields.
Vermont Technical College was awarded a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant in the amount of $3.4 million. Implemented through the Department of Labor, TAACCCT provides eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs. This grant supports the creation of the Institute for Applied Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Tech, which ultimately aims to help serve the education and training needs of state industries that support agriculture, food production, waste disposal and energy production.