Food Security Innovation Lab

Welcome to the Vermont Foodbank’s Food Security Innovation Lab. This time-bound initiative was created to develop and execute pilot projects and study their potential for scalability and their effectiveness at addressing root causes of food insecurity.

Photo of an adult's hands and a child's hands holding up a seeding in front of a setting sun.
Photo of an adult's hands and a child's hands holding up a seeding in front of a setting sun.

Our Goal

The Food Security Innovation Lab was created to address root causes of food insecurity and increase effectiveness and efficiency at the Vermont Foodbank. In the coming years the Innovation Lab will: 

  • Develop four pilot projects over two years 
  • Gather data for each pilot over 9 – 12 months 
  • Measure each pilot project’s potential for scalability 

The initial work has consisted of meetings, interviews, and focus groups with various stakeholders including Vermont Foodbank staff, people with lived experience of food insecurity, representatives from organizations from around Vermont, and peers at food banks across the country. This work culminated in a design sprint that has resulted in four pilot projects the Innovation Lab is currently working on. 

The Pilot Projects

Accessing All Benefits Though One Door

This pilot lays the foundation for a one-stop shop for people in Vermont to identify and sign up for every program and benefit they are eligible for.


  • Community of practice across sectors of health, housing, and food
  • Closed loop referral system

Root Causes

  • Time poverty
  • Lack of access to benefits

Reinventing Food Access for Older Adults

This pilot develops and tests an alternative way for older adults to access food through home delivery, client choice, and increased variety of fresh foods.


  • Home delivery
  • Order-ahead software
  • Programmatic advisory board

Root Causes

  • Ageism
  • Ableism
  • Fixed Income

Community Governance of Foodbank Programming

This pilot centers program participants in positions of power to influence how programming works; the pilot will engage participants of a specific direct distribution site.


  • Community organizing model for program administration
  • Mobile pantries for fresh food access

Root Causes

  • Lack of voice and ability to influence how services are provided
  • Fresh food access

Innovation Lab Staff

Lab Lead: Tatiana Abatemarco
VF Chief of Staff: Hillary Orsini
Quantitative Researcher/Data Analyst: Noah Hirschl
Research Consultant (UVM): Ike Leslie