Taking Root Student Symposium Agenda

Our agenda is 95% finished, and we want to give you a sneak peak of the full day!  Stay tuned for final touches as October 28th nears!

Registration is now open – please email Annie Rowell annie.rowell@sodexo.com for more information.

Agenda - Taking Root STudent Symposium.JPG


Taking Root Student Symposium – Save the Date!

We couldn’t be more excited to announce that we are hosting the Taking Root Student Symposium on October 28th at the University of Vermont, in partnership with Vermont Farm to Plate and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

This symposium is designed for all Vermont college students to celebrate farm to institution and learn about what it means to chart a career in food. We are pleased to

ben hewitt bio picture
Ben Hewitt, Taking Root Student Symposium’s Keynote Speaker

share that our keynote speaker will be Ben Hewitt, a Vermont-based author of many books including The Town That Food Saved and Making Supper Safe. Throughout the day, students will learn about:


  • Why farm to institution is important
  • Innovative work happening in Vermont’s food system
  • Career paths of many of Vermont’s leading entrepreneurs and thinkers
  • Resources available at each campus for students to pursue food systems-relevant coursework as well as food-related employment
  • Current food-related job opportunities; students will also have time to network directly with some Vermont employers in the food industry.

And let’s not forget about lunch!

  • Eat the Loop Supper celebrates innovative production practices, featuring Eat the Loop Supper LogoVermont producers who “close-the-loop” through the creation of their product.  From waste-free production to soil health management, Vermonters are leading the way in innovative practices.  Meet the producers and fill your bellies with the “loop.”

Are you a Vermont college student interested in attending? Here’s what you need to know:

  • We are looking for student representation from all Vermont campuses. We also have limited space for this event. If you are interested in attending, please email Annie Rowell at annie.rowell@sodexo.com.
  • Registration costs $25 for the full day, 9am-4pm.

I am excited to attend the Taking Root Student Symposium at UVM because I was inspired by Ben Hewitt’s book ‘The Town that Food Saved’ when I was introduced to it as an undergrad. Also, I will be looking to find employment soon, so getting to learn more about current food-related positions and Vermont-based employers is a great opportunity. Overall, I can’t wait to meet people with similar passions as me and people who want to learn more!
– Ann Chiarenzelli, UVM Food Systems Master Student & Taking Root attendee


The statewide college student gathering is a perfect opportunity for our students in our learning community “A Call to Action: Building Sustainable Communities”. […] The symposium lands at a perfect place and time to support our goals; we hope that many students, faculty and staff from other Vermont colleges and universities attend.

– Ellen Hill, Faculty, Northern Vermont University at Johnson

Here is a glimpse of some of the panelists, producers, and employers you can expect to see there!

Stay tuned for more to come! Be sure to follow us on Instagram @vermontfirst for more information!

“What food would you recommend for a ninja?”

This was a real question – my favorite question – I fielded this past Wednesday.

I think the more accurate summarizing remark of the local food fall fest lunch at Champlain College came from a first year student who strolled up to the spread under the white tent in the middle of the dining hall.

“I’m so overwhelmed, where do I start??”

I knew how she felt, as I had shared the same sentiment when I walked in that morning as Jimmy Fanton, Sandi Earle, and their dining team were finishing setting up.

Champlain Sept 4  Champlain Sept 5

Champlain Sept 3 Champlain Sept 7

Let me give you a sense of the spread I’m referring to.
The menu included:
Vermont Beancrafters Bean Chocolate Cookies
Local Watermelon Gazpacho
Fresh juice (juiced at the stand!): ginger, carrot, clementine, and kale
GrandyOats Granola
Vermont Autumn Beet and Apple Salad
Japanese Cucumber Salad
Fingerling Potato Salad

(Special thanks to our friends at Black River Produce – who stopped by the tent – for sourcing the local fruits and veggies for this event!)

While the menu was indeed complex, enticing, and certainly a showcase, many of the items were taken straight from the resident dining menu.  This event was an opportunity to bring attention to the work already being done using local ingredients in resident dining dishes, and encouraged students to be on the lookout for more.

As for my recommendation to all the ninja’s out there: it’s hard to go wrong with throwing back a swig of the fresh juice with ginger. It’s rugged and has a surprise spicy kick at the end – just like you!