University of Vermont

Career Profiles Project seeks Food System Professionals

Burlington--To increase awareness among young people about career options in food systems and agriculture, Vermont Farm to Plate is seeking food producers, distributors, marketers, financial professionals, manufacturers and others in the food industry interested in being interviewed by students for a career profile. 

The Career Profiles Project exposes students to a wide range of career possibilities while getting to know local people and helps them hone their communication and transferable skills. The project, developed by Farm to Plate's career pathways and image task force, is a partnership between University of Vermont Extension, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Saint Michael's College and others. 

Students at Montpelier High School and Hannaford Career and Technical Center in Middlebury piloted the program in 2015-16, conducting interviews and writing profiles of a dozen food system professionals including farmers, a herdsperson, chef and baker. These profiles, and others developed through the project, focus on the possible pathways, education and skills needed for a career in a specific field. They also feature career advice and contact information for students to follow up. 

Classes can create profiles individually or as a group as part of a unit on food systems, writing or business. These conversations can introduce students to jobs and careers that they otherwise might not have considered. 

Farm to Plate provides a curriculum guide, in-class interview training and ongoing support. The pilot profiles were written in Q and A format and published in a printed booklet although schools are now trying out new formats including posters and podcasts. 

During the current school year four classes in Orange, Windsor and Lamoille Counties will be involved in the project. Based on interviews, speaker panels and research, students at Randolph Technical and Career Center, White River Valley School (formerly South Royalton School), Hartford Area Career and Technical Center and Green Mountain Technical and Career Center in Hyde Park will create profiles of producers, processors, farm employees, advocacy and outreach staff, a farm business specialist, a produce manager and an entomologist.

The Career Profiles Project would like to hear from food system professionals who are willing to be interviewed by students. To better represent the breadth of jobs in Vermont, the project is especially interested in connecting teachers and students with people in blue-collar roles from entry level to manager as well as water quality specialists, food safety inspectors and nutritionists, among others.

For more information or to check out the career profiles, visit the Farm to Plate website at www.vtfarmtoplate.com. Or contact Alex Buskey at (802) 281-2438 (central Vermont) or Liz Kenton at (802) 257-7967, ext. 308 (all other locations).