Author Archives: Mollie

05/09 Butter, Yogurt, & Mozzarella

Raw Dairy Processing Class!
with Tamara Martin & cows’ milk
Wednesday, May 9th from 1 – 4 pm
Chandler Pond Farm, WHEELOCK
Pre-registration required, $20-40 sliding scale


04/11 Mozzarella, Rocotta & Ice Cream with Goats’ Milk

Raw Dairy Processing Class!
with Karen Nicholson & goats’ milk
Wednesday, April 11th from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Stepping Stone Farm, STOWE
Pre-registration required, $20-40 sliding scale


03/31 Mozzarella, Ricotta & Butter

Raw Dairy Processing Class!
with cows’ milk
Saturday, March 31st from 1 – 4 pm
Black Dog Farm, NEWFANE
Pre-registration required, $20-40 sliding scale

Learn how to Make Mozzarella, Ricotta, and Butter from Raw Cows’ Milk! Class presented by Rural Vermont and taught by the kind folks at Black Dog Farm.  All proceeds benefit Rural Vermont. To sign up or for more info, call Rural Vermont at (802) 223-7222 or email shelby@ruralvermont.org.

 


Food Democracy Now: I Stand with Farmers vs Monsanto Video

Watch the video here.

On January 31, 2012, 55 farmers and plaintiffs traveled to Manhattan to hear oral
arguments regarding Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers
and Trade Association (OSGATA) vs. Monsanto.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the threat that family farmers face due to genetic trespass on their fields as a result of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GMO) seed and the aggressive enforcement of the biotech seed and chemical giant’s alleged patent rights.

In court, Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald declared that she would rule on the motion to dismiss the trial or move forward in the next 60 days or by March 31st.


03/25 Feta, Soft Cheese, Yogurt, & Kefir

Raw Dairy Processing Class!
with the Metta Earth team & cows’ milk
Sunday, March 25th from 1 – 4 pm
Metta Earth Institute Inc., LINCOLN
Pre-registration required, $20-40 sliding scale

Back by popular demand! Learn how to Make Feta, Soft Cheese, Yogurt, & Kefir from Raw Cows’ Milk! Class presented by Rural Vermont and taught by the team at Metta Earth Institute. Sunday, March 25th, 1-4 pm, Metta Earth Institute, Lincoln, $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.


Washington Times: Feds shut down Amish farm for selling fresh milk

By Stephen Dinan
February 13, 2012
Full Article 

The FDA won its two-year fight to shut down an Amish farmer who was selling fresh raw milk to eager consumers in the Washington, D.C., region after a judge this month banned Daniel Allgyer from selling his milk across state lines and he told his customers he would shut down his farm altogether.

The decision has enraged Mr. Allgyer’s supporters, some of whom have been buying from him for six years and say the government is interfering with their parental rights to feed their children.

But the Food and Drug Administration, which launched a full investigation complete with a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and a straw-purchase sting operation against Mr. Allgyer’s Rainbow Acres Farm, said unpasteurized milk is unsafe and it was exercising its due authority to stop sales of the milk from one state to another.

Adding to Mr. Allgyer’s troubles, Judge Lawrence F. Stengel said that if the farmer is found to violate the law again, he will have to pay the FDA’s costs for investigating and prosecuting him.

His customers are wary of talking publicly, fearing the FDA will come after them.

“I can’t believe in 2012 the federal government is raiding Amish farmers at gunpoint all over a basic human right to eat natural food,” said one of them, who asked not to be named but received weekly shipments of eggs, milk, honey and butter from Rainbow Acres, a farm near Lancaster, Pa. “In Maryland, they force taxpayers to pay for abortions, but God forbid we want the same milk our grandparents drank.”

The FDA, though, said the judge made the right call in halting Mr. Allgyer’s cross-border sales.

“Intrastate sale of raw milk is allowed in Pennsylvania, and Mr. Allgyer had previously received a warning letter advising him that interstate sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal,” agency spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said.

 

Fans of fresh milk, which they also call raw milk, attribute all kinds of health benefits to it, including better teeth and stronger immune systems. Raw milk is particularly popular among parents who want it for their children.

In a unique twist, the movement unites people on the left and the right who argue that the federal government has no business controlling what people choose to consume.

In a rally last year, they drank fresh milk in a park across Constitution Avenue from the Senate.

The FDA began looking into Mr. Allgyer’s operations in late 2009, when an investigator in the agency’s Baltimore office used aliases to sign up for a Yahoo user group made up of Rainbow Acres customers.

The investigator placed orders for fresh milk and had it delivered to private residences in Maryland, where it was picked up and documented as evidence in the case. By crossing state lines, the milk became part of interstate commerce and thus subject to the FDA’s ban.

At one point, FDA employees made a 5 a.m. visit to Mr. Allgyer’s farm. He turned them away, but not before they observed milk containers labeled for shipment to Maryland.

After the FDA first took action, Mr. Allgyer changed his business model. He arranged to sell shares in the cows to his customers, arguing that they owned the milk and he was only transferring it to them.

Judge Stengel called that deal “merely a subterfuge.”

Liz Reitzig, a mother who has become a raw-milk activist and is an organizer of the group, said the lawyers who pursued the case against Mr. Allgyer ought to “be ashamed.”

“Many families are dependent on the milk for health reasons or nutritional needs, so a lot of people will be desperately trying to find another source now,” she said.


02/13 Alert

In this Alert:
Grant availability for emergency feed Irene relief
Raw Milk Debate with Sally Fallon Morell

Dear Members and Friends:

We try to send just one email message a week but below are two very different but equally time-sensitive opportunities. The first is about available grants for emergency feed for farmers affected by Tropical Storm Irene and the second is a chance to hear a debate about Raw Milk featuring Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation. We hope you find them useful.
PLEASE SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH FARMERS IN YOUR AREA WHO MIGHT NEED HELP

Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund

Announces new grant round for emergency feed assistance
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS FRIDAY FEB. 17, 2012

The Vermont Community Foundation and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture announced that the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund is accepting applications for a new grant round focused on providing funding for emergency feed purchases.

Applications are available on www.vtfloodresponse.org and will be due February 17. Checks will be mailed to selected farmers the first week in March. The fund will continue to hold grant rounds for emergency feed assistance as long as funding remains available.

Farmers who sustained other losses or damages from the storm and have not received a grant from the fund are encouraged to contact Ryan Torres, philanthropic advisor at the Vermont Community Foundation, at 802-388-3355 ext. 289, or rtorres@vermontcf.org.

Farmers with surplus feed for sale or feed they are willing to donate are encouraged to contact the Agency of Agriculture. The Vermont Community Foundation will post information about available feed donations on its website, www.vtfloodresponse.org.

To date, the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund has awarded $1,576,300 to 177 farmers affected by Tropical Storm Irene. As of January 25, total contributions received or pledged to the fund exceeded $2.41 million.

The grant committee includes representatives from the Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, NOFA Vermont, Rural Vermont, Vermont Farm Bureau, Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, and University of Vermont Extension.

___________________________________________________________________________


Harvard Law School Food Law Society Hosting a Raw Milk Debate

Thursday, February 16, 2012, 7:15 pm – 8:45 pm

featuring Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation

(see below for information on how to access the live streaming of this event)

At one time, everyone drank raw milk. But with the invention of pasteurization and its alleged safety benefits, consumption of raw milk in this country almost completely disappeared. In fact, in some states it is illegal to sell raw milk. But a growing segment of the population is clamoring for increased access to raw milk, citing its nutritional benefits and recently discovered inbuilt safety mechanisms. Opponents are skeptical of such nutritional claims and believe the safety risks of unpasteurized milk are simply too high.

Join the Food Law Society as we present a debate covering the legal, health, and nutritional merits of raw milk. The participants are:
                                            Fred Pritzker, Pritzker & Olson Law Firm

Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, Director, Dairy & Food Inspection Division, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
vs.
Sally Fallon Morell, President, Weston A. Price Foundation
David Gumpert, Author, The Raw Milk Revolution

When: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 7:15 pm – 8:45 pm
Where: Harvard Law School, Langdell South Classroom. For those that can’t make it, the event will be live-streamed.  Live Stream Information. Video will also be available after the event.

Contact: Jonathan Abrams, jabrams@jd12.law.harvard.edu

If you have any questions about this information or any of Rural Vermont’s work please contact me andrea@ruralvermont.org or 223-7222.
Regards,

Andrea Stander


The Brattleboro Reformer: Mooving more raw milk

By HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN
February 4, 2012
Full Article 

BRATTLEBORO — A 2009 law that allowed Vermont farmers to sell more raw milk should be amended to break down any further barriers toward increased sales, a farmer advocacy group says.

Rural Vermont recently released a report on how Act 62, the law that enabled the sales of raw milk to consumers, has helped farmers.

About 150 farms across the state sell raw milk directly to consumers, according to the report, and in 2011, raw milk sales contributed approximately $1 million in gross revenues to farmers.

Still, the law set restrictions and forced the farmers to comply with costly regulations, which Rural Vermont organizer Robb Kidd says are forcing some farmers to stop selling raw milk.

“Passing Act 62 was a very positive step because it protected the rights of farmers to sell raw milk,” Kidd said. “On the other hand, we’ve identified some areas where farmers are seeing the law as prohibitive and we hope some changes can be made to the law.”

Before the Legislature passed Act 62, farmers who sold 25 quarts or less were exempt from conducting costly test.

The 2009 law grouped all raw milk sales together, and now any farmer who sells raw milk is required to have their milk tested, even if they are having it tested to go into the commercial market.

Robb said Rural Vermont wants the 25-quart exemption adopted once again.

“We did this survey to show the Legislature a picture of how the law has made a difference,” Kidd said. “We found that while more farmers are selling raw milk, there is a need for some improvement.”

Rural Vermont also wants farmers to be able to sell raw milk at farmers’ markets, and the group says farms should be able to produce and sell value added products such as yogurt, butter and cheese.

House Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham, said that while the Rural Vermont report contained some useful information, she did not think the Legislature was ready to make changes to the law at this point.

Partridge acknowledged that the debate over Act 62 caused some contentious discussions in the usually quiet agriculture committee room.

With raw milk sales bringing in additional revenue, and no health issues raised so far, Partridge said lawmakers are likely to put their energies into other agriculture topics during this session

“When we did the bill we put in some additional safeguards, and added requirements, and I think at this point we are in good shape,” Partridge said. “There were serious concerns raised when we talked about this, and I think we will probably leave this bill alone.”

The Rural Vermont survey found that raw milk costs, on average, $6.10 per gallon.

Of the 69 farms that provided figures, a total of almost 65,000 gallons were sold in 2011, with an average farm selling 937 gallons.

Farmers, according to the report, want fewer restrictions on sales, and want to be able to deliver the milk, and be able to sell it at farmers’ markets.

Rural Vermont Director Andrea Stander said she wants to put a comprehensive bill together for next session to address some of the concerns raised in the report.

The report found that even during the recession, raw milk sales remained stable, and Stander said the state should remove as many barriers as possible to help put more money into the pockets of farmers who want to sell raw milk.

“We need to take a look and see which of these things are most doable,” Stander said. “There has been a very clear and growing consumer demand, and many farmers said they saw a significant improvement in their bottom line. There should be some changes and we need to figure out how we can do that.”


Food Safety News: Raw Milk Debates Underway in Several States

By Dan Flynn
2/6/12
Full Article

The raw milk games are just getting underway in statehouses across America. Legislative sessions are annual opportunities to make changes in the crazy quilt that is raw milk regulation in this country, as the states all pursue their own unique courses when it comes to the sale of unpasteurized milk.
As in past years, there is no predicting when or where raw milk wars are going to break out. Indiana’s General Assembly this year has seen one of those unexpected skirmishes, where surprise definitely has had the advantage.
Indiana Senate Bill 398 was drafted to be all about some changes in the duties and responsibilities of the state chemist. Then a 76-line amendment was proposed for SB 398.
With that language added to bill, a licensed milk producer with 20 or fewer cows would be allowed to sell raw milk without much additional regulation. The on-farm sales would have to be made under signs telling the public that “raw milk products are not pasteurized” and bottles will require “raw milk” labels.
But that’s about it. Indiana’s current law allows raw milk only to be sold as pet food.
The amendment language was adopted and SB 398 is on the Indiana Senate’s second reading calendar, which means it could be brought to the floor for a final up or down vote whenever leaders want to bring  it forward.
On-farm sales of unpasteurized milk are currently legal in 15 states. Another 10 states allow retail sales, just like pasteurized milk.
Indiana senators who want to relax restrictions on raw milk spoke fondly of their own experiences with the beverage, mostly when they were growing up.
In New Jersey, where attempts to liberalize raw milk sales have been hung up since at least 2010, advocates are trying again.
Consumers not involved with the current underworld of raw milk are getting exposed to it through some recent media reports. The Camden Courier Post, for example, paints a picture of cash being exchanged for illicit milk in a dimly lit garage. Orders are picked up in reusable bags, and driven away quickly in the night.
The garage in question is a distribution center for raw milk produced in nearby Pennsylvania, where dairy farms have long provided the product to customers who come from the New Jersey side of the border.
New Jersey has one of the oldest bans on the sale and distribution of raw milk.  Those prohibitions were put in place after raw milk was found responsible for massive outbreaks of foodborne illness early in the century.
The New Jersey Assembly voted 71-6 last year to allow some commercial sales of raw milk.   But the Senate Economic Growth Committee sat on the bill, waiting until December  to hold a hearing before allowing the measure to die.
In testimony before the vote, those opposed to the bill criticized it for not requiring raw milk dairies to test for pathogens, and for potentially costing the state more to oversee the dairies and investigate outbreaks.
Sponsor of the bill, Republican John DiMaio of Hackettstown, said he wasn’t worried about health concerns, and that the measure establishes the standards a licensee must maintain in order to get a permit and protect consumers.
In Wisconsin, where only a veto by former Gov. Jim Doyle prevented the commercial sale of raw milk after a liberalization bill passed the Legislature, a big date for advocates will be Feb. 22.
That’s the day the newly formed Wisconsin Raw Milk Association is holding its lobbying day in Madison.
The group is supporting Senate Bill 108, which would end most state regulations for licensed producers  who opt to sell raw milk to the public.
Spokesmen for Walker say the governor, who is currently fighting a union-backed recall, would likely sign a raw milk bill if it lands on his desk.
While Doyle set up a task force that proposed recommendations for how raw milk might be safely produced and sold in the state, that legislative sponsors of SB 108 have largely ignored that work.
In Kentucky, a bill to legitimize cow-share arrangements has been sent to the Senate floor.
Sharing ownership of a herd of cows to gain access to unpasteurized dairy products is not expressly prohibited in Kentucky, where Department of Public Health regulations ban the retail sale of milk that hasn’t been pasteurized. But the bill would clarify their legality.
The measure is opposed by the Kentucky Dairy Development Council, which fears it would be a step closer to allowing raw milk sales with no regulatory oversight.
Indiana, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Kentucky will not be the only states that see raw milk action during legislative sessions this year.

February 20th: American Flatbread Hosts a Benefit Bake for Rural Vermont

Fresh Wood-fired Flatbread for a Good Cause

On Monday, February 20th, American Flatbread will graciously donate a portion of every flatbread sale to support Rural Vermont’s mission of economic justice for farmers. Four dollars of every large flatbread and two dollars of every small purchased in the restaurant and through take-out between the hours of 5 and 10 pm will be donated to Rural Vermont. Diners will also have the opportunity to pick up Rural Vermont materials and chat with Rural Vermont staff and long-time members. American Flatbread is located at 115 St. Paul Street in Burlington.

American Flatbread restaurants regularly host Benefit Bakes to raise both funds and consciousness about community issues they feel deserve attention. Rural Vermont is honored to be American Flatbread’s February partner. Bring friends, family and neighbors for this special occasion and enjoy American Flatbread’s fresh-out-of-the-oven flatbread topped in a bounty of nourishing ingredients, including organic tomatoes and many organic and locally-farmed meats, vegetables, and cheeses.

At the Benefit Bake, information will be available about Rural Vermont’s latest campaign, entitled Vermonters Feeding Vermonters, which draws together all of the past and current issues under the common thread of food sovereignty. The principles of food sovereignty call for food for all people that is healthy and accessible, valuing our food providers, and localizing our food system as well as the decisions that are made around it. As part of this campaign, Rural Vermont is organizing towns all over the state to pass Town Meeting Day resolutions that will prioritize the interests of communities over those of the corporate food regime. On Town Meeting Day, several Vermont towns will vote on resolutions, specific to their food systems, that demand food sovereignty. Keep your eyes peeled for one in your town and come to the Benefit Bake for more information!

American Flatbread is a local business with three fun and bustling restaurants located throughout the state that offer wholesomely delicious flatbread pizza as well as beer brewed in-house with care. American Flatbread has been striving to provide good, flavorful and nutritious food since 1985 and continues to this day to be one of the most popular and highly regarded restaurants in the state.

Rural Vermont was founded by farmers in the same year (1985) to advocate, activate and educate for living soils, thriving farms and healthy communities that contribute to the vitality of local businesses such as American Flatbread. For more info or to be added to Rural Vermont’s mailing list, call (802) 223-7222, email shelby@ruralvermont.org, or visit www.ruralvermont.org.