Author Archives: Mollie

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 (tangledrootsfarm.com) 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 www.ruralvermont.org.


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
HempHistory

CELEBRATE HEMP HISTORY WEEK

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
SallyFallon

LEARN ABOUT NOURISHING TRADITIONS

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.

THIS JUST IN – SPECIAL ADDED PROGRAM:

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.
EventsOTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

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

Volunteer

CAN YOU LEND A HAND (OR A BRAIN)?
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!!!

PeoplePowerHELP US GROW OUR PEOPLE POWER

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, shelby@ruralvermont.org

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 shelby@ruralvermont.org.

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 www.tangledrootsfarm.com.

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 www.rutlandfarmandfood.org.

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 www.ruralvermont.org 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 www.ruralvermont.org.


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

By AMY HARMON and ANDREW POLLACK
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


06/12 Paneer, Caramel, and Ice Cream from Raw Goats’ Milk!

Raw Dairy Processing Class!
with Maeve Mangine & goats’ milk
Tuesday, June 12th, 1 – 4 pm
Tangled Roots Farm, Shrewsbury
Pre-registration required, $20-40 sliding scale
Presented by Rural Vermont and RAFFL

Learn how to make Paneer, Caramel, and Ice Cream from Raw Goats’ Milk! Class presented by Rural Vermont and taught by Maeve Mangine of Tangled Roots Farm. Tuesday, June 12th, 1 – 4 pm, Tangled Roots Farm, Shrewsbury, $20-40 sliding scale, pre-registration required. All proceeds benefit Rural Vermont. To sign up or for more info, call Rural Vermont at (802) 223-7222 or email shelby@ruralvermont.org.

Check out the event poster HERE!


VT Digger Op-Ed: Rogers: Without GE labeling, certified organic is a safe choice

May 20, 2012
By Dave Rogers
Full Article

By the end of April, when members of the Vermont House Agriculture Committee finally concluded weeks of testimony and discussion on H.722, a bill that would require foods made with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients to be labeled, one thing had become very, very clear: Many thousands of Vermonters have strong concerns about the unknown health and environmental impacts of GE foods and want them labeled so that they can know if the food they buy and feed to their families is, or isn’t, GE-free.

An estimated 75 percent of processed, packaged foods found on supermarket and natural food store shelves in Vermont and throughout the country contain GE ingredients derived from GE corn, soybeans, sugar beets or other GE plants. In 2010 these GE crops were planted on over 165 million acres of U.S. farmland. As the number of new GE grains, vegetables and animals continues to grow, so too will the prevalence of foods containing GE ingredients.

Unfortunately, H.722 was not passed by the end of this legislative session. But, of course, Vermonters’ longstanding concerns about GE foods remain and the number of people who desire to avoid them continues to grow.

So, it is not surprising that, in Vermont and throughout the country, the production and sales of USDA certified organic foods continues to expand. In fact, surveys conducted by the Organic Trade Association have found that over 80 percent of organic consumers cite avoidance of GE foods as a major reason for their purchases.

From the beginning of the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) in 2002, rules and standards that govern the production of certified organic crops, animals and processed foods have prohibited all methods “used to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes.” This means that all seeds, animals, food ingredients, animal feeds, and production inputs used in certified organic production must not be produced using genetic engineering.

In Vermont, the Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC (VOF), the certification program of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, inspects and certifies over 580 farms and food facilities. Operators must demonstrate compliance with these standards and present complete records, including, among other things, sales receipts and affidavits that prove the non-GE status of all purchased inputs. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to decertification.

Of course, no system is without challenges and opportunities for improvement. For example, in Vermont, as elsewhere in the world, GE crops are increasingly prevalent and pose serious risks of GE genetic contamination of certified organic seed stocks, ingredients and organic supply chains. Organic farmers, processors, certifying agencies and the National Organic Program are all working very hard to identify effective methods and standards to prevent and mitigate these risks.

Rigorous standards, professional third-party inspection and certification protocols, and continuous improvement are the hallmarks of USDA certified organic foods. They are what makes the USDA organic label the standard for consumers who care deeply about the safety and the integrity of the food that they buy and feed their families.


05/20 Update: Annual Celebration Highlights & May 23 Dairy Class Openings

Openings Still Available for May 23rd
Raw Dairy Class in Randolph
Our Wed 5/23 dairy class, 1-4 pm is at Turkey Hill Farm in Randolph Center.

Margaret Osha will be teaching how to make cottage cheese with cow’s milk, a product that we’ve gotten numerous requests for but haven’t been able to offer often, and yogurt panna cotta – a brand new product for our dairy class inventory!

Pre-registration required, $20-40 sliding scale

If you’d like to register please contact Shelby or call 223-7222 ASAP.

We had a blast – hope you did too!
Rural Vermont’s 2012 Annual Celebration on May 16th  was a huge success. If you were there, THANK YOU! and we hope you had a great time. If you missed it here are some highlights:

The Wilder Center in Wilder VT was bursting at the

seams with music, laughter, lively discussion, and the kind of potluck spread that can only be found at a gathering of farmers and their friends. An energetic crowd of about 150 Rural
Vermont members and supporters convened to celebrate, catch up with friends, and get inspired by farmer and author Ben Hewitt and his humorous and iconoclastic talk titled “The Future is in the Dirt: Growing a Culture of Vermonters Feeding Vermonters.”
Before the formal program began, guests’ taste buds were tickled by everything from homemade bread and butter to grass-fed meatballs and BBQ spareribs to a rainbow of fermented and pickled veggies. During the feasting, Upper Valley musicians Nancy and Mike Wood played some great tunes on mandolin and guitar, closing with a song written by Nancy specifically in honor of Rural Vermont!
Rural Vermont’s Director Andrea Stander welcomed the crowd and unveiled a huge new banner, handmade of hemp fabric by farmer/member Peter Harvey of East Calais, depicting Rural Vermont’s iconic wood block print cow logo. Suzanne Lupien of Norwich, the farmer and artist who created the logo, came
on stage to sign the banner to enthusiastic applause.
In highlighting Rural Vermont’s accomplishments over the past year, Andrea spoke of the phenomenal public support that was built around the VT Right To Know GMO Food Labeling bill campaign. One of the key individuals behind this effort, Will Allen of Cedar Circle Farm

, was honored for his activism on this issue. Will received the prestigious Jack Starr Award for his dedication and marshaling of resources to support the campaign  “It was really great to see Will Allen receive the recognition he deserves,” said Enid Wonnacatt, director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of VT.

Rural Vermont’s membership welcomed Rachel Schattman and Randy and Lisa Robar to the Board of Directors. Rachel owns and operates Bella Farm, a vegetable farm in Monkton; and Randy and Lisa own Kiss the Cow Farm in Barnard, where they milk a small herd of Jerseys.

Ben Hewitt was the rock star of the evening with his entertaining and thought provoking presentation “The Future’s in the Dirt: Growing a Culture of Vermonters Feeding Vermonters.”   Ben stirred the pot by presenting some “Big Fat Lies” about the industrial food system and then he invited the audience to offer their thoughts and ideas too – it was a very lively discussion. On her way out, Cat Buxton of Sharon and Education Coordinator at Cedar Circle Farm said, “I am really glad I came; I’m a new fan of Ben Hewitt. I love seeing the faces of change in agriculture all in one room!”

Rural Vermont’s Annual Celebration would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Please help us show our appreciation by patronizing them and thanking them for their support for Rural Vermont.

NOFA-VT, Upper Valley Food Co-op, Cedar Circle Farm, Chelsea Green Publishing, Building a Local Economy (BALE), Edible Green Mountains, Vermont Grass Farmers’ Association, Bob White Systems, High Mowing Seeds, Sterling College, South Royalton Market, Vermont Compost Company, Local Banquet, and Way Out Wax.

Stay tuned for more updates, the winners of the fabulous Farm Fresh Five Raffle and more photos!

Join

THANKS – LET’S KEEP IT GOING!

We made it to 1050 “likes” in honor of our Annual Celebration. Please help us keep building our network of people who care about family farms and Vermonters feeding Vermonters.

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who might be interested in Rural Vermont.

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