Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems

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Breakthrough Leaders Professional Certificate Program for Sustainable Food Systems

Program Overview

We know the problems. Worldwide food shortages. An obesity epidemic. Soil loss. Skyrocketing energy costs. Exploited workers. Water wars. Food deserts. Chronic hunger. A widening gap between rich and poor. And on and on it goes.

Yes, people are talking, but that’s not enough, our communities – regional, national, and global – need more. We need solutions. We need action. And in order to do that, we need radical and informed leaders. We need you. And, we need you to seriously know how to lead.

Leadership is not about position or formal authority, but the capacity of people and communities to shape futures that they truly desire.

The University of Vermont is pleased to offer a combined online and on-campus cross-disciplinary program addressing problems and opportunities relating to sustainable food systems and leadership.

UVM is recognized worldwide as an academic leader in these subject areas (and offers a Master’s degree in Sustainable Food Systems). The Breakthrough Leaders Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems builds on the university’s strengths in this field.

Participants will engage in a combined online and on-campus program that promises to expand their capacity to recognize, and create positive, forward-looking solutions for our broken food system. The program’s online component will be immediately followed by a residential learning experience on the campus of the University of Vermont.

Program Takeaways

Participants will gain expertise and new perspectives on sustainable practices relating to food systems that have immediate, practical real-world application. Upon successful completion of this program participants will be issued a Certificate of Completion in Sustainable Food Systems.

As part of this program, participants will engage with a broad base of stakeholders through a Food Systems Summit and meet in a small group for deep dialogue with influential thought leaders.

Get started!

If you are interested in applying to this program, please fill out the application form linked at the top of this page.


UVM Breakthrough Leaders 2012

Breakthrough Leaders program participants

The program’s preliminary online component will be immediately followed by a residential learning experience on the campus of the University of Vermont:

  • Online: June 1-13, 2015
  • Residential session: June 14-19, 2015*

*(Credit students will complete a final online project following the residential session, June 20-July 3. Non-credit students are not expected to participate in this portion.)

Program Fee:

  • $1,730 for non-credit and in-state credit
  • $3,626 for out-of-state credit


  • Curriculum and instruction for online and on campus components
  • As part of the on campus portion of the program, you will participate in the Food Systems Summit, an annual event drawing scholars, practitioners, and food systems leaders to engage in dialogue around the pressing food systems issues facing our world.
  • Program materials
  • Most meals (as indicated on the schedule)
  • Field trips

Housing is not included in the program fee, but on campus housing and parking can be chosen during the non-credit registration process.  For general information about housing and travel to Burlington, please see housing link.

Once an application is reviewed and accepted, non-credit students will be sent the registration link within the letter of acceptance.  Credit students must register through the UVM system.  Visit this site for details on credit registration and search for this course number:   FS 395 Z1 (CRN: 60664).


Limited scholarships are available for non-credit students, based on financial need.  (Credit students should contact the UVM Financial Aid Office  to inquire if financial aid or scholarships are available.) Please indicate on the application if you require scholarship assistance. Our committee will provide a decision when your application is reviewed.