For three weeks this summer, I traveled in a large white van with seven other students, two instructors, and a media fellow, navigating the food system and landscape of Vermont. This was the first year the Vermont Food Systems Summer Study Tour took place, born from the collaborative efforts of the Vermont Higher Education Food System Consortium. 
 The three weeks of the tour came and went and it was, without a doubt, a whirlwind.  Intentionally designed or not, the style of the tour mimicked the intangible quality of its focus, food systems, as in: there seems to exist a magnetic force that pulls new concepts to the forefront the moment the original concept has just barely been grasped. Lucy and her conveyor belt of chocolates would not be an outrageous comparison.
 Twenty days. Seven schools. Fifty-one or so different lectures and tours intended to give us a firsthand look into Vermont’s food system. Following an itinerary that covered the gamut from production to waste management, we stayed intensely focused on features unique to Vermont. The tour highlighted both Vermont’s successful strides towards a sustainable food system and some challenges the state faces, from soil quality to a declining young adult population. These goals and more were achieved leaving the us students as the lucky beneficiaries of an ambitious but well planned intensive tour.

I am currently studying Sustainable Food Systems at Sterling College, and I work with the Executive Chef & Food Systems Faculty as a Food Analyst in my work position here at the college.  I applied the credits I took from this course to my major at Sterling and created the website below as my final project.  I hope you find it to be a helpful or interesting resource.

Vermont Food Systems Study TourWritten by Natalie Bekkouche.


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