Vermont Farm to Plate CSA and Healthcare Community of Practice: Community of Practice Spotlight

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH

What they do: Vermont Farm to Plate’s CSA and Healthcare Community of Practice (CoP) is a group of organizations in Vermont that use community-supported agriculture (CSA) to improve health outcomes. There are currently five organizations in the CoP that partner with local healthcare organizations and farmers to offer food-as-medicine programs.

How they do it: The CoP meets virtually, twice a month on Monday afternoons. Meetings are co-led by Emma Hileman and Heidi Lynch from the Vermont Farmers Food Center, along with Vermont Farm to Plate. Each year, the CoP identifies a list of topics to discuss, and the group leaders schedule topics, speakers, and/or trainings for each meeting, allowing time for open discussion and questions, as well.

Meeting attendees are generally representatives of the five participating organizations mentioned above, but others are always welcome and visitors often attend, depending on the topic of discussion. Guests may include representatives from other healthcare practices interested in starting a food as medicine program, farmers who want to participate, or other organizations that want to partner with the CoP. 

Mission: To build partnerships and learn from peers who also want to connect food systems and healthcare systems in the state of Vermont. 

Major Funding: Vermont Farm to Plate, Bi-State Primary Care Association, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont

Profit/nonprofit: The CoP is comprised mostly of nonprofit organizations.

Annual Budget: Not disclosed

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: The CoP connects individuals working on CSA and healthcare programs at varying stages of development and implementation, which allows members with different fields of expertise to learn from each other, create new partnerships, and increase the reach and effectiveness of their programs. 

In 2022, the five Healthcare CSA programs partnered with 46 healthcare clinics and 26 farms, reaching 1,841 people.


Locations: Franklin, Orleans, Chittenden, Caledonia, Addison, Washington, Orange, and Rutland Counties 

Core Programs: Community of Practice

Number of members: 15

Number of volunteers: N/A

Areas served: Vermont

Year Started: 2021

Director: Kelly Dolan, Network Manager, Vermont Farm to Plate

Contact Information: Phone: (802) 828-7905, Email: 

Learn More:

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