BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The University of Vermont Food Systems Research Center is getting $11 million in federal funding to support its work researching the regional food system, from production agriculture to food security, UVM and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy announced Friday.

The center is a collaboration between UVM and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, officials said.

Vermonters turned to their local farms for food security when the pandemic struck, Leahy said in a written statement.

“Farms are an economic driver for our rural communities and local food is a defining feature of Vermont," Leahy said. "We must continue to cultivate our food systems so our state can thrive and weather future emergencies.”

USDA scientists are now being picked to work on campus with university researchers.

“This is the first and only ARS research unit designed specifically to study diversified food systems and the smaller farms that contribute to those systems," said UVM College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Leslie Parise. "We are proud to be leading this work at UVM and believe there is much the rest of the world can learn from the successful small- and medium-sized farms that characterize Vermont agriculture.”


This story was first published on June 19, 2021. It was updated on June 21, 2021 to correct the headline to show that the University of Vermont Food Systems Research Center got $11 million in federal funding, not $11,000.