Breakthrough Leaders for Sustainable Food Systems

The Necessary [r]Evolution for Sustainable Food Systems

True leadership is about the capacity of people and communities to shape the futures they desire. Our innovative 3-week online and on-campus cross-disciplinary program develops visionary leaders by offering solutions to the social, environmental, diet, and health impacts of our food system.  The University of Vermont is a recognized leader in the food systems movement, providing you with unique access to hands-on learning and collaboration with scholars, activists, leaders, and professionals in the field.  We take you on a journey through every step of the interconnected food system.

Community-based approach with a global perspective.

In this unique food systems leadership program, you will spend the first two weeks in an online classroom, engaging with your peer activists, completing pre-course readings, and initiating discussions around food systems challenges. In the third week, you will come together with your peers in Burlington, Vermont to deepen your engagement in the food movement continuing your conversations and interactions with food systems leaders through site visits and hands-on experiences.

Breakthrough Leaders for Sustainable Food Systems Professional Certificate is right for you if you are seeking to:

  • Grow your leadership skills in a combined online and on-campus program that expands your capacity to recognize and create positive, forward-looking solutions for our broken food system.
  • Gain an understanding of systems theory, the food system hierarchical structure, and evaluate every step of the interconnected food system, from growing food to distribution strategies and consumer consumption patterns.
  • Engage with local sustainability based organizations via site visits and gain a hands-on perspective of community based practices, which have immediate real-world application.

We know the problems. We need the solutions. We need commitment to action and positive change. And in order to address the challenges of worldwide food systems sustainability, we need visionary and informed leaders. We need you.

Dates, Syllabus, and Schedule

The program’s preliminary online component will be immediately followed by a residential learning experience at The University of Vermont.

Online component 5/21/18- 6/1/18  BTL online syllabus 2018
Residential session 6/4/18-6/8/18   BTL 2018 Residential Schedule

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“I attended this program for the opportunity to learn from other professionals involved in the many different issues that exist in our current food system. Ultimately, it has helped me to stay inspired about what I’m doing locally.”

Sara Clow, 2014


“Because of this program, I have gained a valuable network of sustainable food workers, upon which I’ve continued to build through my work. I have used this network to learn about challenges and opportunities to advance the sustainable food movement.”

Zoe Lloyd, 2012

on the Blog

Raj Patel on Gender Inequity in the Food System

Raj Patel: Women and girls are disproportionately disempowered through current processes and politics of food production, consumption, and distribution. This isn’t an accident. Capitalism’s gendered division of labor removed women from the workplace, prohibiting women from teaching, healing, and engaging in science for centuries.

Read More.