In this Alert:
Message from the Director
Update on Town Meeting Day Events
Dairy Processing Classes – NEW schedule available!
Activist and Volunteer Needs
Message From The Director
Dear Members and Friends:
Whew! We made it. Town Meeting Week! The Legislators have gone home for a week, you can probably find a parking place and a seat for lunch in Montpelier, and we all get to play a role in local democracy on Town Meeting Day!
>>>DON’T FORGET TO VOTE ON TUESDAY FOR YOUR LOCAL FOOD SOVEREIGNTY RESOLUTION & THE RESOLUTION SUPPORTING A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO END CORPORATE PERSONHOOD!
<<< Please let us know if YOUR town considers a Food Sovereignty resolution on March 6th. If you have questions or need help bringing up a resolution in your town, please contact Rural Vermont’s Organizer Robb Kidd or call the office 802-223-7222. You can learn more about Local Food Sovereignty and our Vermonters Feeding Vermonters Campaign on our website.
CORRECTION & APOLOGY: In preparation for Town Meeting Day, Rural Vermont organized a variety of what we called “Town Eating Day” events focused on promoting the Food Sovereignty Resolutions we helped place on several Town Meeting Day ballots. What we didn’t realize is that this phrase had already been claimed by a group of civic-minded residents of Norwich who have been organizing Norwich Town Eating Day for the past six years as a way to promote more participation in local affairs and Town Meeting Day. Our sincere apologies for borrowing a good idea!
Read the Update on Town Meeting Day Events below. Thanks to everyone who helped make them possible Also, please check out the brand new schedule of Raw Milk Dairy Processing Classes. I look forward to reporting to you on the results of our Town Meeting Day efforts next week.
VT Right To Know Genetically Engineered Food Act – H.722
Last week the House Agriculture Committee heard an introduction of the bill by its lead sponsor Rep. Kate Webb of Shelburne. The Committee members asked a variety of questions expressing strong interest in the bill. Unfortunately, Chair of the Committee, Rep. Carolyn Partridge of Windham, has decided that before taking any other testimony on the bill she wanted to hear from Assistant Attorney General Elliot Burg to get his opinion of the legal footing of the bill. Regrettably, Asst. AG Burg will not be available to the Committee until the week after the Town Meeting Break.
The VT Right To Know GMOs coalition (Rural Vermont, VPIRG and NOFA-VT) are working quickly to line up a diverse group of Vermont and national experts to offer testimony to the House Ag Committee as soon as they return after the break. You can help support this campaign right now by joining over 3000 Vermonters and signing the petition in support of the VT Right To Know GMOs campaign. Doing so will enable us to keep in touch with you about specific actions you can take to help pass this bill. We’re going to need all hands on deck to demonstrate that having the Right To Know whether food is genetically engineered is something that Vermonters want NOW! For more information contact Andrea or call Rural Vermont at 223-7222.
The Working Lands Enterprise Investment Bills – H.496 & S.246
Following the unanimous vote by the House Agriculture Committee, the House version of the bill H. 496 has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee where it will be considered after the Town Meeting break. You can read the latest versions of both bills and also learn more about them on the Vermont Council on Rural Development website. Rural Vermont supports the ambitious goal of these bills to create greater investment in and focus on the critical role that our working farm and forest lands play in sustaining Vermont and Vermonters. Please contact Andrea or call Rural Vermont at 223-7222 if you would like more information.
An Act Relating to Establishing a Vermont Farm Guest Worker Program – S.238 This bill, which seeks to address issues of justice and fairness for Vermont’s many migrant farm workers, was taken up in the Senate Agriculture Committee and passed unanimously last Friday. We don’t yet have access to the bill as passed by the Senate Ag Committee. Rural Vermont will be reviewing the details of the bill and will provide more information in our next Legislative Update.
UPDATE ON TOWN MEETING DAY EVENTS
At Town Meeting Day on March 6, 2012, several towns around the state will be considering a local “Food Sovereignty” resolution. In anticipation of this important vote and declaration of support for “Vermonters Feeding Vermonters”, Rural Vermont has partnered with local food justice activists to inform voters about the resolution language, build support for approval of the resolutions, and highlight great local food.
ATTENTION CALAIS RESIDENTS ! Tuesday, March 6th, lunchtime Town Hall, Gospel Hollow, CALAIS During the lunch hour at Town Meeting Day, help yourself to some “Food Sovereignty” fare showcasing Calais’ underground cuisine. Imagine a world, much like the vision outlined in Calais’ Food Sovereignty resolution, where anything and everything our neighbors can grow, raise, and process is legally available to the Calais community. If you’re a Calais resident and would like to contribute a dish to the spread, contact Peter Harvey at (802) 229-4026. Below are highlights from the events that have already happened – please thank and patronize the local businesses and farms that participated.
MONTPELIER’S THREE PENNY TAP ROOM SUPPORTED LOCAL FOOD SOVEREIGNTY Last Thursday, one of Montpelier’s premier watering holes for local food enthusiasts hosted an evening of good beer, good food and good conversation about Article 41, Montpelier’s Local Food Sovereignty Resolution. Many thanks to Three Penny Taproom’s Wes, Scott, and Matt for contributing a portion of the evening’s proceeds to support Rural Vermont’s Vermonters Feeding Vermonters Campaign.
CHESTER’S FULLERTON INN HOSTED “LEAP FOR LOCAL” Rural Vermont extends a sincere THANK YOU to Fullerton Inn proprietors Bret and Nancy Rugg and their head chef James Belliveau for hosting a wonderfully tasty evening (on Leap Day) that showcased the food products of many Chester area farms. Key to the evening’s success (in spite of an impending 10″ snowstorm) was the tireless organizing and outreach by farmer Lisa Kaiman of Jersey Girls Dairy and WAAWWE Farm Market. It was great to meet so many Chester area folks and to sample all the great food that Chef Belleiveau prepared from the local farm products. Many of the items from this special tasting menu are now available on the Fullerton Inn’s regular dining menu – if you missed the event or you’re hungry for more, make a reservation for the Fullerton Inn!
GROTON’S BROWN’S MARKET BISTRO PIZZA PARTY IN SUPPORT OF FOOD SOVEREIGNTY On Feb 13, more than a dozen Groton voters converged on Brown’s Market Bistro to share pizza and discuss strategy for passing their Town Meeting Day Local Food Sovereignty resolution. Rural Vermont is grateful for the assistance of Mary Berlejung in organizing such a tasty way to promote local civic participation, and to Zach Reid for donating the Bistro space.
>>> BEYOND MILK: RAW DAIRY PROCESSING CLASSES
The inquiries about Rural Vermont’s next round of dairy classes have been rolling in! The chilly temperatures today are reminding me of a recent, similarly cold afternoon that I spent making ricotta cheese from milk purchased at my local farm, which I then assembled into a creamy, gooey, delicious lasagna. If today’s brisk temps are finding you craving nourishing, wholesome foods, then Rural Vermont’s dairy classes are just what you’ll need to warm your soul. Sign up today!
Back by popular demand! Feta, Soft Cheese, Yogurt, & Kefir
with the Metta Earth team & cows’ milk
Sunday, March 25th from 1 – 4 pm
Metta Earth Institute Inc., LINCOLN
Mozzarella, Ricotta, & Butter
with Ben Crockett, Ashlyn Bristle, & cows’ milk
Saturday, March 31st from 1 – 4 pm
Black Dog Farm, NEWFANE
* please note NEW date & addition of butter!
Mozzarella, Ricotta & Ice Cream
with Karen Nicholson & goats’ milk
Wednesday, April 11th from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Stepping Stone Farm, STOWE
Farmer’s Cheese, Brie-style Cheese, & Chevre
with Elizabeth Moulton & goats’ milk
Wednesday, April 25th from 10 am – 1 pm
Popplewood Farm, ANDOVER
Butter, Yogurt, & Mozzarella
with Tamara Martin & cows’ milk
Wednesday, May 9th from 1 – 4 pm
Chandler Pond Farm, WHEELOCK
Cottage Cheese & Yogurt Panna Cotta
with Margaret Osha & cows’ milk
Wednesday, May 23rd from 1 – 4 pm
Turkey Hill Farm, RANDOLPH CENTER
All classes require advance registration and space is limited. $20-$40 sliding scale. All proceeds benefit Rural Vermont. To sign up, contact Shelby at (802) 223-7222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Activist and Volunteer Needs
As a grassroots organization, Rural Vermont relies on the generosity and commitment of volunteers to help us accomplish our goals. Throughout the year we need your help advancing our issues in many ways. Consider working with Rural Vermont to help spread the word about our Vermonters Feeding Vermonters campaign!
Current Volunteer Opportunities:
Town Meeting Day – Tues. March 6 – is an excellent opportunity to meet and chat with your neighbors. In addition to promoting Local Food Sovereignty Resolutions, we could use your help distributing info regarding the Vermont Right to Know GMOs campaign.
Posters – If you live near one of our upcoming events, please contact us if you can help hang posters in your community! Right now, we especially need help for the March dairy classes. If you live in or around Lincoln or Newfane and can hang posters, please be in touch asap!
Recruiters – Are you good at talking to people and getting them excited about important issues? Consider helping Rural Vermont recruit new members and activists.
Email Robb, or call 802-223-7222 to get involved today!!!
Rural Vermont communicates with its supporters in a number of ways – email, mail, and phone. To ensure that you’re not missing any important updates, please join the full mailing list here. You can sign up to be a dues-paying member of Rural Vermont by visiting this page.