Rural Vermont Seeks a Community Organizer/Advocate

If you have a passion for helping to build equitable and prosperous community-based food systems, Rural Vermont would like to hear from you. We seek a multi-talented individual who shares our values and would thrive as part of our small and committed team. Read the complete job description and learn how to apply.

“Open Barn Day” Recap by Rural Vermont Intern Alison Urhlass

The sun was shining warmly upon the happy guests at the Farm of Milk & Honey at Sunday’s Open Barn Party. Kids and adults alike could not resist the delicious combination of homemade cookies, some brought by guests, and the cause of celebration: farm fresh raw milk. The milk was such a hit that at least 4 gallons were sampled, with many people coming back for seconds! The milk samples were in such high demand that if you arrived past 3pm you may have missed a chance to try some, and it was no surprise that eventually the Farm of Milk and Honey sold out of milk to purchase. This Open Barn Party was surely the place to be on a beautiful September afternoon—according to a neighbor, “Doyle Road has never seen so many cars!”

Visitors from as far as the Burlington area and even Montreal (!!) came to the farm to celebrate raw milk and the recent law that allows raw milk delivery to farmers’ markets. The attendance of 80+ people at the event stands to show how important this issue is among Vermonters. Rural Vermont’s Director Andrea Stander spoke to the crowd about the “unique role Rural Vermont plays in helping farmers have a voice in policies that are affecting them.” In addition to sampling milk and cookies and purchasing raw milk, guests also had the opportunity to peruse a mini farmers’ market – beyond the Farm of Milk & Honey, this included Tunbridge’s Mountain Home Farm and their value-added dairy products, South Barre’s Bear Roots Farm and their veggies, and Berlin’s Burelli Farm and their meat and poultry. Everyone was invited to enter a free raffle of meat, dairy, and vegetable baskets; these items were donated by the farms participating in the mini market. The lucky winners were Diane DesBois, Karen Mikkelsen, and Taylor Katz.

10511597_10153156640877971_6501161700535225554_oFollowing countless requests for host farmers Susan and Ryan Hayes to lead a tour, a large group of visitors accompanied them on a walk around the beautiful property. The cows and pigs were glad to meet visitors and the feathery friends on the farm were particularly delighted to visit with kids offering “chicken treats” provided by the Farm of Milk & Honey.

Along with the lively music of John Holland moving through the breeze, children’s laughter could be heard all around. Visitors stocked up on fresh foods at the market, chatted with old friends, and became acquainted with some new ones. We are surely looking forward to the next Open Barn Party and hope that you’ll be able to join us for another great time!

Colorado GMO Labeling Initiative Makes the Ballot!

Our allies at Right to Know Colorado ask residents to Vote YES On #105! Read the press release for more details.

Vermont Defends GMO Labeling

Photo by Roger Crowley

Photo by Roger Crowley

Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell defended Vermont’s new labeling law with a 51-page federal court filing on Friday 8/8. He asked the court to throw out a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law filed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, International Dairy Foods Association and the Snack Foods Association. Read the Free Press article here.

Defending VT’s GMO Labeling Law

On July 21, 2014 The Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS), jointly represented by counsel from the Vermont Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School and CFS, formally moved to defend Vermont’s genetically engineered food labeling law, Act 120.

The groups filed legal papers to intervene on behalf of the State of Vermont in order to assist in defending Act 120 from a legal challenge brought by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and other food industry trade associations. GMA, which represents the country’s largest food manufacturers, sued Vermont just over a month after the law was signed.

The lawsuit filed by the GMO et. al. seeks to have Vermont’s first in the nation, no strings attached, labeling law struck down.

Rural Vermont, which, with VPIRG, NOFGA-VT and Cedar Circle Farm, led the VT Right to Know GMOs Coalition will likely file an amicus or “friend of the court” brief if VPIRG and CFS are successful in obtaining intervenor status.

Read the press release here. Read a recent article from the Times Argus here.