Author Archives: Mollie

06/07/12 Hemp Action Alert!

Hemp Amendment to Farm Bill, Call Today!!


Today Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon will introduce an industrial hemp amendment to S. 3240, the Farm Bill in the U.S. Senate. 

Call Senator Leahy at (202) 224-4242


Call Senator Sanders at (202) 224-5141

and ask

them to support Senator Wyden’s  

Industrial Hemp Amendment  

to the Farm Bill. 

The potential of industrial hemp to provide alternative sources of food, fuel and fodder is an opportunity that Vermonters cannot afford to miss.  Rural Vermont will continue to work with partners such as Vote Hemp and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund to ensure that hemp farming in Vermont becomes a reality.

For more information on industrial hemp and how you can get involved, email Robb Kidd or call the Rural Vermont office at 802-223-7222.


Rural Vermont Organizer

P.S. We are contacting you because you have expressed interest in Rural Vermont’s industrial hemp campaign. To obtain more information on Rural Vermont’s other campaigns or events please visit or become a member here.

Vermont Today: Vt. labor, human rights groups push ‘fair food’

June 5, 2012
by Darren Marcy
Full Article

MONTPELIER — Labor and human rights groups are joining to form the “Vermont Fair Food Campaign.”
Similar to the international fair trade movement, the campaign plans to ensure that workers who plant, harvest, process and sell Vermont-grown foods are treated humanely.
The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America has been surveying workers in the Vermont food industry. It’s to issue full results later this summer, but says preliminary results indicate there’s room for improvement in several sectors of the Vermont food industry.
The union — which represents workers at Burlington’s City Market and the Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, is joining with Migrant Justice, which represents immigrant farmworkers, and the Vermont Workers Center in launching the campaign. Monsanto Allowed to Put Genetically Modified Food on Your Plate

May 16, 2012
by Ada Kulesza
Full Article

Farmers, seed distributors and food justice organizations filed an appeal after their lawsuit against agricultural giant Monsantowas dismissed. More than 80 plaintiffs, including the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, say Monsanto’s domination over genetically-modified organisms (GMO) threatens the world’s food supply.

Because food companies aren’t required to label GMOs, you won’t know if the food you buy in a grocery store is genetically modified, or whether there are health consequences to eating it. Further, the wind can blow GMOs in your garden, making you liable to paying license fees to Monsanto.

Today, genetically-modified soy accounts for 85 percent of all acreage in the United States by 2004, as well as 45 percent of corn, 76 percent of cotton, and 84 percent of canola.  The Associated Press reports 90 percent of soy acres today are planted with genetically-modified crops. Nearly any soy product a consumer buys will contain GMOs, and the potential health consequences of eating them are unknown. But you’ll never know because labels indicating the presence of GMOs aren’t required.

“It is quite ironic that Monsanto is one of the only companies in America that does not want you to know you’re buying their product,” says attorney Daniel Ravicher, a lecturer at Cardozo School of Law and the director of the Public Patent Foundation, one of 270,000 individuals represented by the groups in the lawsuit. “So that has to tell you there’s something wrong.”

According to a report by the Center for Food Safety, Texas farmers say GMOs have pushed conventional seeds off the market. When farmers use Monsanto’s seeds, they’re kept under the corporation’s thumb.

Contaminated Corn

When a farmer buys a genetically-modified seed from Monsanto, he signs a legal agreement promising not to save his seed, forcing the farmer to buy new stock from the company every year.

If he decides not to plant GMOs, he has to be sure that none of last year’s seeds grow – even if they fell into the field during harvest, or if there are a couple left in equipment.

Anyone can be liable under the law. If pollen from a genetically-modified crop pollinates other crops, Monsanto can sue. This forms the basis for the lawsuit, which the judge dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

“The constitution says that the courts are only allowed to hear actual cases of controversy – not hypothetical disputes,” explains attorney Ravicher. Monsanto filed a motion to dismiss, which the judge granted.

In her opinion, Judge Naomi Buckwald writes, “Defendants have never filed a patent infringement suit against a certified organic farm or handling operation over the presence of patented traits in its operations …. Indeed, defendants have expressly declared that it is not their policy ‘to exercise patent rights where trace amounts of our seed … are present … as a result of inadvertent means.’”

News reports highlight Monsanto’s successful lawsuit against a seed cleaner who said he had no way to distinguish GMOs from regular soybeans.

Ravicher says that case, and others, show the judge’s statements are incorrect. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto filed 144 lawsuits. The giant has an annual budget of $10 million and a full-time staff devoted to investigating and suing farmers who don’t pay patent royalties. According to the Center for Food Safety, most people settle out of court because they don’t have the resources to fight, and the settlements are kept secret with confidentiality agreements.

In the ‘90s the company won a lawsuit against a journalist who did an investigation about the company’s growth hormones for livestock and got fired when Fox Corporation refused to air it. She filed a lawsuit and lost; the court said she had no whistleblower claim on Fox based on news distortion; falsifying news is not against the law. Dairies still don’t have to label milk from cows treated with growth hormone, and like GMOs, we don’t know the health consequences.

Patent Problem

In patent law, the question is, “Has a human being significantly changed what God gave us?” says Ravicher. “We agree with Monsanto that their seed is not natural. We believe that their seed is poison. It’s not the same as a seed from nature. It’s harmful. It’s bad technology. We don’t argue that it’s not patentable because it’s not created from nature. It’s very different from nature. It’s bad for society.”

Twenty-seven other countries farm GMOs: corn, wheat, soy, canola, cotton, tomatoes, papaya, cotton, potatoes and sweet pepper. If GMO pollen fertilizes a plant, each following generation will contain the modified gene – so GMOs will continue to spread.

Rutland Herald: The best milk you’ve never had

June 4, 2012
By Kris Smith
Full Article

On a sunny May Saturday — one which promised to be a good day at the market — I found myself instead walking down a forested path in Shrewsbury.

I wanted to take a pointed look at what was not at the market or, more precisely, what was banned from the market. My quest took me to Tangled Roots Farm, and the path led me to an open pasture where goats happily grazed.

Tangled Roots Farm is a diverse, beginning farm run by Lucas Jackson and Maeve Mangine. Nestled into the lush, forested hills of Shrewsbury, the farm sits on 110 acres that Maeve’s family has owned — un-farmed — for years. When you drive up, there’s a long-neglected orchard that Lucas is clearing and replanting. Farther down, stacks of logs sit in the woods waiting for shiitake mushrooms to appear. Cross the dirt road, and you’re back at the goat pasture and the real reason why I visited the farm: raw milk. Raw milk is simply unpasteurized milk, but it’s a lightning rod for controversy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is strongly against it, pointing out that three people have died in the last 23 years from illnesses traced back to raw milk. Yet, Vermonters, especially those from dairy families, have been drinking raw milk for generations. Advocates point out that raw milk is fresher, tastier and a way to support small dairy farmers that cannot afford expensive pasteurization machinery.

Without a doubt, big dairy farms need pasteurization to protect their customers and prevent disease. Large herds mean less individual attention and more sanitation concerns.

In contrast, Lucas and Maeve have a much more intimate operation. When Maeve walks into the goat pasture, her herd of goats flocks to her and nuzzles against her side. She knows each by name and can describe their individual quirks and attitudes. In the mornings and evenings, she milks the mama goats by hand in a meticulously clean milking shelter complete with tracking charts and daily measurements.

Despite their small scale and close attention to sanitation, Tangled Roots Farm cannot sell their milk at the farmers’ market or to any grocery store. Vermont laws mandate that raw milk must be bought directly from the farm. Even free raw milk “tastings” at the farmers’ market are banned. If your dairy happens to be on Route 7, your farm could put up a raw milk sign and benefit from a steady flow of raw milk enthusiasts and curious tourists. If, however, your farm is like Tangled Roots — down a long gravel road that most Shrewsburians don’t even know about — then you have a problem.

Yet, Lucas and Maeve are making the best of their situation. A month ago they postered Rutland with info about their milk, and on June 12, they’re hosting a Paneer, Caramel and Ice Cream Workshop in partnership with Rural Vermont and Rutland Area Farm and Food Link to highlight all the tasty treats that can be made from their milk.

They’re also using their website ( to explain the benefits of raw goat milk: it has more calcium than cow milk, can help with lactose intolerance and can be drunk fresh or used to make cheeses. Plus, raw goat milk never goes bad. When it begins to sour, it can be used as a buttermilk substitute or made into yogurt.

In other words, Lucas and Meave have a delicious product but are inhibited in selling it by the laws surrounding raw milk.

Thus, like many of the 150 raw milk farmers in Vermont, Tangled Roots Farm’s story starts and ends with the land. Lucas and Maeve are beginning farmers with a tight budget. The land that they have access to is perfect for goats but is located down a road less traveled. They both believe their sales would increase if they could sell their milk at a more visible spot, like the farmers’ market. Maeve also continually laments that she cannot offer tastings at the market or at Pierce’s Store in Shrewsbury. She believes that once you taste her milk, you’ll be hooked. I can’t disagree.

Products that are banned from farmers’ markets often straddle the line of public safety and economic opportunities. With Lucas and Maeve, I have no doubt that they could sell their milk at the market safely, but how do you make sure that’s true of all raw milk? I can appreciate the debate that the Vermont Agency of Agriculture struggles with when developing their regulations, though, I wish they could come up with a solution that would better support small dairy farmers.

Since nobody can buy raw milk from the market currently, my advice for anyone seeking raw milk is to do your research: tour the farm, ask questions and make sure you’re buying from a reputable farm.
Tangled Roots Farm is an easy drive up Cold River Road to Stagecoach Road, and their stand is self serve. To reserve some milk, call Maeve at 236-1178. If you’re interested in attending Tangled Roots Farm’s workshop on how to make paneer, caramel sauce and ice cream, sign up at

05/31/12 Alert

Message From The Director   Dear Members and Friends:

Tornadoes in Vermont? What’s next? Locusts? I certainly hope not. On the positive side, I had my first local strawberries last night – they were a delicious if unusually early pleasure.

We are still basking in the glow of all the great camaraderie at the Annual Celebration. We are very grateful to everyone who joined us at The Wilder Center and especially for all the wonderful food, conversation and contributions. THANK YOU!

Another gift of the Annual Celebration was the helpful information we gathered from the Survey and the “Pie Exercise.” Stay tuned for more opportunities to contribute your ideas to our strategic planning for the coming year.

We’re taking the energy generated at the Annual Celebration and carrying it forward into a diverse schedule of summer events. The upcoming ones are listed below.

I’m personally looking forward to hitting the road and spending time in all areas of the state over the next few months to meet you and hear what you think about Rural Vermont. I also look forward to sharing some ideas about how you can help us accomplish our shared goals.

Andrea Stander


Cultivating Economic Prosperity Through Hemp


Thursday, June 6, 7 – 9pm

Addison County Regional Planning Commission Office

14 Seminary St., Middlebury, VT

Rural Vermont is hosting this special presentation by Netaka White of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in honor of Hemp History Week 2012. Learn the history of hemp in America and the diverse economic opportunities available through the cultivation of industrial hemp.
For more details, click here, contact Robb or call 223-7222


Sally Fallon Morell Visits Vermont: June 7-9
Rural Vermont is proud to co-sponsor, with Shelburne Farms and many other great organizations, a 3-day visit by the author of “Nourishing Traditions” and one of the country’s foremost proponents of the benefits of raw milk.

All events are free and open to the public but registration is required as space is limited. Rural Vermont is grateful for the generous support of the The Forrest C. and Frances H. Lattner Foundation for these events.

You can see all the details on our website.


Friday, June 8 – Hand Milking!

 New Village Farm, a quick 3 minute drive from the REAL Milk workshop location will be offering hand milking of goats and cows prior to the workshop.  The group will meet in the parking lot near the train station on Harbor Rd. at 7:30 am and carpool to New Village Farm.  If you are interested contact Tre McCarney  First come first served.  Space is limited to 20 people.

Raw Dairy Processing Class!
with Maeve Mangine & goats’ milk
Tuesday, June 12th, 1 – 4 pm
Tangled Roots Farm, Shrewsbury - see all the details here

* stay tuned for more classes and Ice Cream Socials!
June Green Drinks – Benefit for Rural Vermont
Tuesday, June 12th, 6 – 8 pm
Montpelier Skinny Pancake – 89 Main Street
Thanks to local food champion Benjy Adler (Skinny Pancake owner), the restaurant invites you to buy local beer to benefit our Vermonters Feeding Vermonters campaign.

SAVE THE DATE – 2012 Tour de Farms – 5th Anniversary!
A collaborative fundraiser for Rural Vermont, Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition, and ACORN
Sunday, September 16th
Shoreham Green, Shoreham, VT


As a grassroots organization, one of Rural Vermont’s greatest assets is our talented, committed and generous team of volunteers.  Throughout the year, we need help with a variety of projects. Please consider volunteering with Rural Vermont to help spread the word about our Vermonters Feeding Vermonters campaign!

Current Volunteer Opportunities:   

Office Volunteer – Can you travel to Montpelier one day a week or a month and help us with our important campaign work? A few hours a week or every other week helps a lot.

Event Support – There are hundreds of events throughout the state that  we would love to be a part of, but with limited time we can only commit to a few. Would you be able to represent Rural Vermont at an event in your community? It’s fun and rewarding!

Graphic Design- We need a volunteer to help us design materials in print and electronic forms. Are you creative?

Email Robb, or call 802-223-7222 to get involved today!!!


We tried this last month and it worked. Can you help us do it again??

Rural Vermont’s Facebook Page is now just a few clicks away from reaching 1100 “likes.” (That would be over 100 new friends in less than a month!) Can you put us over the top again by liking and sharing our page with your friends?

AND… You can help in an even more valuable way by joining our full mailing list or better yet: BECOME A MEMBER!

Rural Vermont, RAFFL, and Tangled Roots Farm Host a Raw Dairy Processing Workshop

Learn to Make Paneer, Caramel, and Ice Cream on June 12th in Shrewsbury

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 31, 2012

Contact Person: Shelby Girard, (802) 223-7222,

Tangled Roots Farm teaches dairy processing class on June 12th. Design credit: Ben Jackson

As temperatures heat up, take a minute to imagine sitting down with a big bowl of homemade ice cream topped with deliciously hot and gooey caramel that you’ve made yourself using the freshest raw milk from a neighbor. Learn everything you need to know (and more!) to make this image a reality when Rural Vermont partners with the Rutland Area Food & Farm Link (RAFFL) to bring its popular dairy processing series to Rutland County. Host Maeve Mangine of Tangled Roots Farm will lead participants through the process of making paneer, caramel, and ice cream from fresh, raw goats’ milk. The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12th from 1 – 4 pm at Tangled Roots Farm in Shrewsbury.

The fee for the class is $20-$40 sliding scale, and all proceeds will benefit Rural Vermont. Pre-registration is required and classes often sell out quickly, so be in touch today to reserve your spot! Registration fees are not refundable, and classes are subject to cancellation due to low enrollment. For more information, to sign up, or to be added to Rural Vermont’s mailing list, call (802) 223-7222 or email

The class will cover the basics of dairy processing with raw milk, and serve as a good introduction for beginners, as well as an information sharing session for those who have some experience. Following the instruction and some delicious dairy taste testing, Maeve and her partner Lucas will lead folks on a tour of Tangled Roots Farm, including a meet and greet with the gracious goats providing the milk for the workshop.

Among the products being taught are ice cream and caramel, which of course go hand-in-hand and are a favorite summertime treat for many. Less familiar to folks might be paneer, a cheese of Indian origin, that is fresh, crumbly, and versatile enough to use in both sweet and savory dishes. One of paneer’s most interesting qualities is that it doesn’t melt, so it’s a perfect addition to summertime meals – toss it into a garden veggie stir-fry or grill it alongside kebabs! When it’s time for dessert, drizzle it with caramel for a unique treat.

Tangled Roots Farm in Shrewsbury, VT is co-owned and co-managed by Maeve Mangine.  It is a small, diversified farm focusing on heritage breed, grass and forest-fed pigs and chickens, dairy goats, and shiitake mushrooms. Their small herd of Alpine and Oberhasli goats provide farm-fresh milk from their days spent browsing and grazing the land. Their gourmet shiitake mushrooms are grown outdoors, shaded by the hardwood forest. More information about the farm and products available at

The Rutland Area Food & Farm Link (RAFFL) is the leading nonprofit helping to build a resilient local food system in the Rutland region – one in which fresh, healthy produce from local farms is readily available to all. For more info, visit

Rural Vermont will be scheduling additional dairy processing classes, as well as a couple of its ever-popular Ice Cream Socials, throughout the summer months. Stay tuned for the full schedule, to be posted at or call (802) 223-7222.

Rural Vermont is a statewide nonprofit group founded in 1985. For the last 25 years, Rural Vermont has been advancing its mission of economic justice for Vermont farmers through advocacy and education. For more info, call (802) 223-7222 or visit

Marketplace: States consider labeling GMO foods

by Jane Lindholm
May 23, 2012
Listen to the audio and read the complete here

Jane Lindholm: At Full Moon Farm in Vermont, David Zuckerman and Rachel Nevitt help six-year-old Addie climb a tree in the backyard. The organic farmers work hard to keep genetically modified foods out of their daughter’s mouth.

Zuckerman: We bought a bag of organic lollypops at the co-op. And if Addie comes home with candy from Valentine’s Day or a birthday party or whatever, we trade to keep the GMOs out of her. So she isn’t denied sugar and sweet. But she doesn’t get all that corn syrup.

Zuckerman and Nevitt have been very vocal in support of a GMO labeling law introduced this session in the Vermont legislature. It didn’t pass. And Rachel Nevitt is:

Nevitt: Furious. I’m furious because it’s an issue that’s really important to a lot of people; we’ve made that really clear. We have a right to know what’s in our food. Period.

Four separate polls found more than 90 percent of Vermonters support labeling food made with genetically modified seeds. So why wouldn’t such a feel-good law pass?

Chuck Ross is the Vermont Secretary of Agriculture. He says lawmakers worried about the reaction from Monsanto and other large multinationals. But close to 20 other states are still considering GMO labeling.

Ross: But they run the same risk that the state of Vermont does in it being a suit. And that’s a costly proposition to engage in. This is an issue that would be best dealt with by Congress with a national standard.

To that end, the Food and Drug Administration has received a record-breaking 1 million public comments on a national petition.

The FDA recently said it needed more time to reach a decision on the petition, but supporters say labeling laws are already common in Europe and it’s only a matter of time before the U.S. adopts them too.

New York Times: Battle Brewing Over Labeling of Genetically Modified Food

May 24, 2012
Full Article

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — On a recent sunny morning at the Big Y grocery here, Cynthia LaPier parked her cart in the cereal aisle. With a glance over her shoulder and a quick check of the ingredients, she plastered several boxes with hand-designed stickers from a roll in her purse. “Warning,” they read. “May Contain GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms).”

In San Francisco, a gathering of supporters of a California ballot proposition requiring genetically modified foods to be labeled.

For more than a decade, almost all processed foods in the United States — cereals, snack foods, salad dressings — have contained ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a laboratory. Regulators and many scientists say these pose no danger. But as Americans ask more pointed questions about what they are eating, popular suspicions about the health and environmental effects of biotechnology are fueling a movement to require that food from genetically modified crops be labeled, if not eliminated.

Labeling bills have been proposed in more than a dozen states over the last year, and an appeal to the Food and Drug Administration last fall to mandate labels nationally drew more than a million signatures. There is an iPhone app: ShopNoGMO.

The most closely watched labeling effort is a proposed ballot initiative in California that cleared a crucial hurdle this month, setting the stage for a probable November vote that could influence not just food packaging but the future of American agriculture.

Tens of millions of dollars are expected to be spent on the election showdown. It pits consumer groups and the organic food industry, both of which support mandatory labeling, against more conventional farmers, agricultural biotechnology companies like Monsanto and many of the nation’s best-known food brands like Kellogg’s and Kraft.

The heightened stakes have added fuel to a long-simmering debate over the merits of genetically engineered crops, which many scientists and farmers believe could be useful in meeting the world’s rapidly expanding food needs.

Supporters of labeling argue that consumers have a right to know when food has been modified with genes from another species, which they say is fundamentally different from the selective breeding process used in nearly all crops.

Almost all the corn and soybeans grown in the United States now contain DNA derived from bacteria. The foreign gene makes the soybeans resistant to an herbicide used in weed control, and causes the corn to produce its own insecticide.

“It just makes me nervous when you take genetic matter from something else that wouldn’t have been done in nature and put it into food,” said Ms. LaPier, 44, a mental health counselor whose guerrilla labeling was inspired by the group Label It Yourself. She worries that her daughter, 5, could one day suffer ill effects like allergies.

The F.D.A. has said that labeling is generally not necessary because the genetic modification does not materially change the food.

Farmers, food and biotech companies and scientists say that labels might lead consumers to reject genetically modified food — and the technology that created it — without understanding its environmental and economic benefits. A national science advisory organization in 2010 termed those benefits “substantial,” noting that existing biotech crops have for years let farmers spray fewer or less harmful chemicals, though the emergence of resistant weeds and insects threatens to blunt that effect.

But some food experts argue that food manufacturers have an obligation to label. Consumers “have a right to take genetic modification into consideration,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “And if the companies think consumer objections are stupid and irrational, they should explain the benefits of their products.”

Until now, Americans have made little fuss about genetically modified crops on the market compared with Europeans, who require that such foods be labeled. Demonstrators in Britain are threatening to destroy some genetically modified wheat being grown in a research trial near London.

The current push for labeling in this country stems in part from a broadening of the genetically modified menu to include herbicide-resistant alfalfa and the possible approval this year of a fast-growing salmon, which would be the first genetically engineered animal in the food supply.

Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield Farms, the organic yogurt company, has raised more than $1 million for the Just Label It campaign to influence the F.D.A. after fighting approval of engineered alfalfa, arguing that cross-pollination would contaminate organic crops fed to cows.

“This is an issue of transparency, truth and trust in the food system,” Mr. Hirshberg said.

Rather than label food with what consumers might regard as a skull and crossbones, the companies say food producers may ultimately switch to ingredients that are not genetically modified, as they did in Europe.

If the California initiative passes, “we will be on our way to getting GE-tainted foods out of our nation’s food supply for good,” Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association, wrote in an letter in March seeking donations for the California ballot initiative. “If a company like Kellogg’s has to print a label stating that their famous Corn Flakes have been genetically engineered, it will be the kiss of death for their iconic brand in California — the eighth-largest economy in the world — and everywhere else.”

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents major food brands, declined to comment on what members would do if the California measure passed. But Rick Tolman, chief executive of the National Corn Growers Association, said after meeting with food executives this month that he had the “strong impression” that they would rather reformulate their ingredients than label their products genetically engineered. “They think a label will undermine their brand,” he said.

When asked if they wanted genetically engineered foods to be labeled, about 9 in 10 Americans said that they did, according to a 2010 Thomson Reuters-NPR poll.

The current call for transparency has resonated among some Americans upset by reports of BPA (a chemical used in plastics) in food packaging and pink slime (an ammonia-treated additive) in meat. Ms. LaPier has made an effort to label Kashi cereals, which advertise themselves as natural, since learning they contain genetically modified soy. Since discovering the Label It Yourself Facebook page in March, she has added several of her own pictures to its gallery of handmade labels on grocery store shelves across the nation.

Depending on the jurisdiction, such labeling could constitute a trademark violation against the manufacturer or a trespass against the store. No one has been prosecuted, but also, no one has been caught, according to a spokesman for the group.

So far, the F.D.A. has said only that it is studying the labeling petition; none of the state-level labeling bills proposed over the last year have passed.

For labeling proponents, California, where the Legislature would be bypassed by a direct popular vote, is the big prize.

A decade ago in Oregon, a similar measure that appeared to have the support of two-thirds of voters was rejected after a last-minute spending blitz by labeling opponents. With the financial backing of the organic industry, labeling supporters in California say they will be better prepared.

Burlington Free Press: Full-fat and unprocessed: Author advocates ‘traditional’ foods

By Melissa Pasanen
May 25, 2012
Full Article

Sally Fallon Morell, co-author of “Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats” and founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, will be in the Burlington area, June 7-9, to present a three-day program of activities sharing the philosophy and practice behind a diet of traditional foods.

Fallon Morell bases her nutritional approach on the work of Weston A. Price, a dentist, who traveled around the world studying traditional diets in the early 20th century. In 2008, the Washington Post wrote about the increasing and broadening appeal of the Weston A. Price Foundation’s dietary recommendations despite — or, perhaps, because of — “the foundation’s unorthodox ideas about healthful eating.”

During Saturday’s program, a lunch will be served of local foods prepared according to Weston A. Price Foundation guidelines. In the afternoon, local chefs and farmers including Doug Flack of Flack Family Farm, Margaret Osha of Turkey Hill Farm and chef/butcher Frank Pace of Catamount Hospitality will demonstrate recipes for foods like fermented vegetables, bone-based broths and organ meats, and soaked grains, nuts and seeds.

All events are free but pre-registration is required.

Fallon Morell spoke with the Free Press from her home in Washington D.C.

Burlington Free Press: For those who are not familiar with the basic concepts of Weston A. Price Foundation and your book, “Nourishing Traditions,” can you summarize them briefly and share why you believe a return to “traditional” foods is beneficial to 21st century Americans?

Sally Fallon Morell: Starting with the second part of the question, the traditional foods are the food that the human body needs for health and if we don’t eat them we will not be healthy. We’re seeing the results of not eating these foods in our health crisis today, especially among children. [Regarding our basic concepts], we have identified 11 principles of healthy traditional diets. The key general principle is that in nutrient density, agricultural practices, food choices and preparation techniques, the diet is designed to maximize the nutrient value of the foods. We focus particularly on those that are especially high in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K that are found in certain types of seafood, in organ meats and in the fats of animals raised outside on pasture.

BFP: While the Weston A. Price approach focuses on whole, unprocessed foods and recommends avoiding refined grain products, sugars and trans-fats similar to prevailing nutrition advice, it also celebrates foods like butter, lard, liver and raw (unpasteurized) full-fat dairy products and criticizes foods such as soy. Your website cites a variety of peer-reviewed scientific research, but, in general, it appears the majority of health and nutrition professionals have not been converted to this point of view. Why do you think that is?

SF: Because they have been heavily propagandized by the food industry and the pharmaceutical industry either to think that diet has nothing to do with health or to believe that a healthy diet is a diet that excludes animal fats. There is no research that shows that animal fats are not good for us. [To put it another way], consumption of animal fats has been declining while diseases like heart disease and cancer have been going up. The group that’s really suffering is children. They really need nutrient-dense, full-fat foods to thrive and enjoy normal growth.

06/12 Rural Vermont Benefit at the Skinny Pancake!

June 12, 6-8PM
Green Drinks at The Skinny Pancake in Montpelier

Benefit for Rural Vermont