The backbone of Vermont’s heritage and economic viability is our working landscape. Over 97 percent of Vermonters value the “working landscape,” which consists of agriculture, food systems, forestry, and forest products businesses. Approximately 20 percent of Vermont’s working land is used for agricultural purposes and 75 percent is forested. The Findings section of Act 142 outlines nine goals of the Working Lands initiative.
The mission of the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is to grow the economies, cultures, and communities of Vermont's working landscape. The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) achieves this by making essential, catalytic investments in critical leverage points of the Vermont farm and forest economy and facilitating policy development to optimize the agricultural and forest use of Vermont lands.
Primary applicant must be headquartered in Vermont and registered with the Secretary of State at the time of full application submission.
Working Lands Service Provider grantees are eligible to receive funds more than once. Priority will be given to service provider organizations that are not currently implementing WLEF funded projects or scopes of work. Applicants who have received Working Lands grants in the past must measure and report on the results of previously funded projects and demonstrate how continued funding will be used to grow or improve the program. Services must be provided to a new cohort of businesses for each funding period year.
Eligible projects will include the provision of direct and indirect services to support development of Vermont-based working lands businesses through technical assistance and other forms of support, which may cover topic(s) such as:
- Market development, marketing plans, and sales;
- Business and financial planning;
- Business responses to COVID-19;
- Enterprise transitions for next generation business owners and post succession;
- Access to capital;
- Manufacturing efficiencies or process flow;
- Business research and development
- Project must be completed within 18 months
- 100% (1-to-1) cash or in-kind match of total requested WLEB funds ($5,000-$20,000).
- Project must enhance Vermont’s working landscape, demonstrated through measurable performance outcomes that may include: job creation and retention; increased income; increased product output; increased acres in active forestry or agricultural use; land stewardship; business creation and ; increased access to capital, technical assistance, education, and training; higher payroll and wages; and increased quality of life
- Project cannot be fully funded through other sources. Without Working Lands funds, the project would happen more slowly, in a less desirable fashion, with a lower probability of success, or would not happen; and/or an urgent window of opportunity would be missed.
- Project must include collaboration and partnerships among working lands businesses and service providers
- We award Working Lands Service Provider Grants through a competitive review process guided by industry, nonprofit and government stakeholders.
- Project duration is 18 months in length
Key Dates and Deadlines
Request for Applications Release Date: October 9, 2020
Application Opens for Submission: October 9, 2020 at 12:00 PM (noon)
Application Deadline: November 1st, 2020 at 11:59 PM (closes at midnight)
Award Notification: End of November 2020
Estimated Project Date Start: End of January 2021