Author Archives: Mollie

Washington Post: Hemp supporters see mainstream support for legalizing crop in Kentucky, led by promise of jobs

By Associated Press, Published: April 5
Full Article

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Hemp isn’t legal in Kentucky yet, but the eclectic mix of people at a recent seminar in Lexington was evidence that support for the versatile plant may be taking root.

One by one, elected officials stepped forward to promote the virtues of hemp production, staking out a position that once might have sown political trouble back home. They were cheered by liberals and libertarian-leaning conservatives alike.

“We’ve come a long way,” said state Sen. Joey Pendleton, who has sponsored a string of unsuccessful bills seeking to reintroduce hemp in the Bluegrass state. “The first year I had this, it was lonely.”

Kentucky once was a leading producer of industrial hemp, a tall, leafy plant with a multitude of uses that has been outlawed for decades because of its association with marijuana. Those seeking to legalize the plant argue that the change would create a new crop for farmers, replacing a hemp supply now imported from Canada and other countries.

The plant can be used to make paper, biofuels, clothing, lotions and other products.

Despite bipartisan support, the latest hemp measures failed again this year in the Kentucky General Assembly. But this time, hemp advocates think they have momentum on their side and vow to press on with their campaign to legalize the crop.

Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, urged his fellow hemp supporters to lobby hard in preparation for another push in 2013.

“I think next year is the year,” said Pendleton, whose grandfather raised hemp in western Kentucky.

Hemp bills have been introduced in 11 state legislatures this year, but so far none have passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bills include allowing privately funded industrial hemp research, allowing hemp production under strict licensing programs and urging the federal government to allow hemp production for industrial uses.

Hemp’s reputation has undergone drastic pendulum swings in the U.S.

During World War II, the U.S. government encouraged farmers to grow hemp for the war effort because other industrial fibers, often imported from overseas, were in short supply. But the crop hasn’t been grown in the U.S. since the 1950s as the federal government moved to classify hemp as a controlled substance because it’s related to marijuana.

Imports include finished hemp products and hemp material turned into goods. U.S. retail sales of hemp products exceeded $400 million last year, according to industry estimates.

Pete Ashman, of Philadelphia, was among those at the Lexington hemp seminar, where he displayed a myriad of hemp products, from food, to toilet paper to shampoo. He claimed, “There’s nothing greener on God’s earth.”

Republican state Sen. Paul Hornback didn’t go that far, but the tobacco farmer from Shelbyville said in a phone interview that he sees industrial hemp as an alternative crop that could give Kentucky agriculture a boost if it ever gains a legal foothold.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer also supports legalization, arguing that industrial hemp could yield more per acre than corn and soybeans. He sees hemp as a viable alternative to tobacco, a once-stalwart crop that has been on the decline in Kentucky.

Comer, among the speakers at the Lexington seminar, said most Kentucky farmers have the equipment needed to produce hemp. He added that the crop needs no herbicides or pesticides, a plus for the environment and a cost savings for producers.

Hemp production would spin off new manufacturing, Comer said, creating jobs in parts of rural Kentucky where a once-thriving garment sector disappeared after the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect in the 1990s.

Once factories started churning out hemp products, farmers would flock to the crop, Comer predicted.

Comer, a Republican, said he’s been contacted by three “very legitimate industrial prospects” that would consider opening hemp production plants in Kentucky if the crop becomes legal to grow. One company wants to use hemp to make vehicle dashes, he said. Another wants to make ethanol, the other cosmetics out of hemp, he said.

John Riley, a former magistrate in Spencer County, sees hemp as a potentially lucrative crop that could become a renewable fuel source. It would be a big transformation for a crop once known as a major source for rope.

“I look forward to continuing to fight the fight,” Pendleton said. “We can make this happen in Kentucky.”

 


The New York Times: Tax Day Procrastination Links

By MARK BITTMAN
April 16, 2012
Full Article

For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. But public opinion is turning against Monsanto, and in November, a statewide citizens’ ballot initiative will give Californians the opportunity to vote for GMO labeling (a similar measure was introduced in Vermont, but is currently stalled by cowardly legislators). This is going to be huge.


The Herald of Randolph Op-Ed: ‘Fable Farm’ in Barnard: Making Farming Fun for All

‘Fable Farm’ in Barnard: Making Farming Fun for All
By Josey Hastings
4/12/12
Full Article

The Piana brothers came to Bar­nard five years ago looking to create a new story for their lives.

“We weren’t born on the farm” Christopher Piana told me, as I sat at his kitchen table looking out over Silver Lake. “We grew up in an out­sourced ‘American Dream.’ What we’re working towards is a local­ized agrarian dream.”

His younger brother, Jonny Piana, added, “What we’re trying to do is learn from the past, and apply it now. A lot of what we’re trying to do has already happened before. It’s not a novel idea. We’re just trying to live on the farm again. We want to get back to living within our means, and are quickly learning what we can produce ourselves and what we need to trade for.”

According to Jonny, he and his brother were looking for “a place to set our roots, to live and farm.” After a conversation and a hand­shake, Joe LaDouceur of Bowman Road Farm plowed up two acres of his best pastureland for “the veggie boys,” as he called them, to plant a garden. And thus, Fable Farm was born.

Now in its fifth season, Fable Farm sells produce, flowers, and herbs through a CSA (Commu­nity Supported Agriculture). CSA members, of which there were 85 last season, not only pick up their produce on Thursday evenings, but also have the opportunity to stay and celebrate the weekly harvest, with a lively exchange of story, food, music and art.

Both CSA members and non- members alike come to Fable Farm’s Thursday gatherings. “Ev­eryone is welcome,” commented Jonny. “There’s a convergence of lots of different people from all walks of life,” added Christopher. “That’s really the goal.”

Something important happens at these Thursday gatherings, some­thing to do with community and in­terrelationship. According to Jonny, “People come to pick up vegetables, listen to music, and have dinner.

“Relationships form, people make connections. It’s so rewarding for us to start by building the wholism of our farm and then bring that to a gathering place, an arena for com­munity and creativity.”

This focus on community has been important to the Pianas since the beginning.

“It’s our intention to grow food with the surrounding ecology and the surrounding community in mind, and to make farm-fresh, healthy food affordable directly from the farmers,” commented Jon­ny. “We don’t turn anybody away based on lack of funds,” added Christopher.

The Pianas are farmers who don’t own land. Their vegetable fields are scattered throughout the hills of Barnard on leased or borrowed land.

“There are landowers who are generous enough to let their land be used agriculturally,” commented Jonny. “Having access to farmland that we don’t have to buy is cru­cial,” added Christopher. “The list of people who have helped us along the way is incredible.

“We’re trying to be stewards of the soil, learning how to build or­ganic matter and nutrients and give back what we take,” commented Jonny. “Actually, we try to take that a step beyond and give back what we’ve been taking from the soil for the last 100 years, if we can.”

For many young people hoping to farm in Vermont, the most diffi­cult question is, “Can I really make a living?” The Piana brothers are not only making a living, but doing so with their ideals and sense of inspi­ration intact.

“We didn’t have debt when we started Fable Farm,” commented Jonny, “And the CSA model enabled us to acquire financial investment from our community in the begin­ning.” Both brothers also worked lots of hours at multiple jobs to get the start-up capital they needed.

“We haven’t yet had families to support, we live very cheaply, and we don’t have a lot of overhead,” said Jonny. “We recognize that we need to make money, but money isn’t always going to mean some­By

What will always mean some­thing is our relationships within our community.

“We strive to make farming fun. Quality of life is more important to me than anything else.”

The new, or old, story that the Piana brothers have found, and created, is one of seeds, soil, food, community, and relationship. Ac­cording to Christopher, “That’s true security.”

“I simply find salvation in the soil and working alongside others,” added Jonny. “That’s what it comes down to. I want to be able to subsist on the farm and live within a thriv­ing rural culture.”


VT Digger: Scores testify in favor of GE food labeling bill

by Carl Etnier
April 12, 2012
Full Article 

Hundreds of people, many of whom traveled in buses from the far corners of the state, jammed the Statehouse Thursday night to tell the House Agriculture Committee to pass the bill mandating labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food sold in Vermont.

“It reminded me of Barack Obama saying, ‘Pass this bill,’” said Rural Vermont executive director Andrea Stander about the litany of testimony. She said 112 people testified by the end of the evening.

Committee member Will Stevens, I-Shoreham, echoed her. “One hundred percent wanted us to pass the bill. Some said tonight, some said tomorrow.”

Committee Chair Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham, said after Thursday’s hearing that the committee will be discussing the bill Friday morning, and she expects it to pass in some form. She thinks it will need examination by the Judiciary committee.

“We have two weeks left in the session,” she said. “I think it’s important, if nothing else, to set up a model bill and do our best to create a defensible bill.”

The hearing was scheduled for the House chamber to accommodate the large crowd expected. The House was still on the floor, however, at the beginning of the hearing, so the hearing opened in Room 11, the next largest meeting room in the building. “Welcome to the people’s house,” began Partridge. “I’m sorry we’re not meeting in the living room, but at least we’re in the den.”

While the crowd waited for committee members to arrive from a roll-call vote on the House floor, they spoke to each other of why they were there, with committee staffer Linda Leehman taking a microphone around the room.

Rachel Nevitt, a farmer at Full Moon Farm in Hinesburg, cautioned, “This is an incomplete bill. … It would tell you what processed foods have GMOs in it. It wouldn’t tell you which animal products are derived from animals that are fed genetically modified feed. We still have to keep fighting for more. Ask your farmers what they feed their animals.”

The bill, H. 722, applies to all food sold in Vermont and amends the definition of “misbranded” food to include food that is produced with genetic engineering but not labeled as such. The bill defines genetic engineering to include a number of breeding techniques that breach normal barriers between species, and it applies to both raw agricultural commodities, like vegetables, and processed foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients. It would also prohibit any labeling of genetically engineered food as “natural.” Not included in the law would be meat, milk, and eggs from animals fed genetically engineered feed or treated with genetically engineered drugs such as bovine growth hormone.

When formal testimony began, one of the first to testify was VPIRG consumer protection advocate Falko Schilling, who presented the committee with a petition to pass the bill that he said was signed by 4,001 Vermonters in two months of collecting signatures.

Committee members did not need the hearing to learn that Vermonters want to know whether their food contains genetically engineered ingredients. Survey results were presented by Jane Kolodinsky, director of community development and applied economics at the University of Vermont. In four surveys taken since 2001, a minimum of 94 percent of Vermonters have said that they want labeling for GE food. The most recent survey was taken last month, she reported.

Will Allen, an East Thetford farmer on the policy board of the Organic Consumers Association, has charged that Thursday’s hearing was a way for the Legislature to “run out the clock” before the end of the session. According to Allen, the extended testimony schedule is the committee’s way of “dragging its feet” and avoiding passing a bill that would bring legal costs to the state.

Rachel Lattimore, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who has represented the Biotechnology Industry Association, Monsanto, and other biotechnology companies, told the committee and one of its attorneys that Vermont would face a lawsuit from the industry if it passed this bill.

Stevens indicated over the weekend that he is impatient, as well. He said he was ready to discuss the bill with his committee and make a decision on it, without any of the testimony scheduled for the public hearing or other testimony scheduled for this week.

“We are not afraid of the threat of a suit,” Stevens said. “We knew from the get-go that any meaningful bill would be subject to a lawsuit.”

Vermont could still lead the nation with the bill, if it goes through the rest of the legislative process — passage out of committee, on the House floor and in the Senate — presumably after review by the Senate Agriculture Committee. Stevens was uncertain whether the bill would need much review by the House Judiciary Committee, which is what committee members expected two weeks ago. The penalty associated with breaking the labeling law is something that triggers automatic review by Judiciary, they said.

In other recent testimony, Dr. Robert Merker of the Center for Food Additive Safety at the Food and Drug Administration, told the committee about the FDA review process. Though a number of earlier witnesses had talked about studies on GE food safety done by the FDA, Merker said, “On submissions to the FDA on safety, FDA has never done its own testing. We don’t have the budget.”

Merker mentioned only one exception to the FDA’s no-testing policy: StarLink corn. The GE corn, produced by Aventis, was intended only for animal feed, but some of it was used in food for direct consumption by humans, including at Taco Bell.

Merker said that the FDA reviewed the scientific literature and the data on genetically modified crops that seed companies had provided. In-house scientists at the FDA review experiment design, and most tests are carried out by independent labs certified for Good Laboratory Practices, and the tests are paid for by the seed company. In almost every case, the FDA has determined that there is no material difference between GE food and conventional food. Where there is a material difference — Merker mentioned soybeans modified to produce an oil more like canola oil or olive oil — then the FDA does require labeling. Congress has given the FDA no statutory authority to require labeling based on the process of breeding the food, Merker said.

Committee members brought up studies they were familiar with, including one showing the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein in umbilical blood of fetuses, to ask about health effects on humans from some GE foods. Bt is a bacterium that can kill pestilent butterflies and moths; the Bt protein that kills is incorporated into some GE corn and other crops. Whenever Bt was mentioned, Merker deferred to the Environmental Protection Agency, as Bt is a pesticide and the EPA regulates pesticides.

Jerry Greenfield, making clear he spoke for himself and not for the ice cream company he co-founded, Ben & Jerry’s, told the committee that he supports the bill strictly as a consumer right-to-know measure.

“I am in strongly in support of consumers having a right to know what is in their products. Whether they have health concerns, safety concerns, environmental concerns, religious concerns … people have a right to know what they’re eating and putting into their body,” he said.

He described the legal battle that Ben & Jerry’s fought and won with four states when they labeled their products as not containing recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). But, he acknowledged, “Ben & Jerry’s is not GMO free. Maybe it would be detrimental to companies like Ben & Jerry’s to have to label their product as having GMOs. That’s OK. I say let the chips fall where they may; just tell people the truth and let people make their own choices.”


Brownfield: Organic groups will appeal Monsanto ruling

March 29, 2012
By Bob Meyer
Full Article

A group of organic farmers and seed dealers has filed notice it plans to appeal a judge’s decision in their suit against Monsanto. The group challenged Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seeds and technology alleging the company could sue farmers for violating those patents if pollen from gm plants drifted and contaminated non-gm plants. U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York threw the case out last month calling it an “effort to create a controversy where none exists.” The group is seeking review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C.


VT Digger: Bill requiring labeling of genetically engineered food saved from procedural death

By Carl Etnier
March 19, 2012
Full Article

A bill that would require labeling of genetically engineered food was given further life in the Legislature even though the House Agriculture Committee missed Friday’s “crossover day” deadline. Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell OK’d the bill for consideration later in the session, and the House panel plans to continue work on the bill next week.

The bill (H. 722) amends the definition of “misbranded” food in Vermont law to include food that is produced with genetic engineering but not labeled as such.

Some food is excepted, such as meat, milk and eggs from animals fed genetically engineered feed or treated with genetically engineered drugs, such as bovine growth hormone. If the animal itself has been created through genetic engineering, however, its meat or other products would be required to be labeled as genetically engineered.

The bill defines genetic engineering to include a number of breeding techniques that breach barriers between species, and it applies to both raw agricultural commodities, like vegetables, and processed foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients. It would also prohibit any labeling of genetically engineered food as “natural.”

The agricultural use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has ballooned in the U.S. since it began in the early 1990s. According to testimony before the committee, more than 80 percent of the corn, soybeans and canola grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered, and more than 70 percent of all processed foods contain some GMO ingredients.

Witnesses, even those opposed to labeling food as genetically engineered, told the committee last week that 80 percent to 90 percent of consumers want to know whether the food they buy contains GMOs.

Proponents of labeling also cite GMOs’ environmental effects. Gary Hirshberg, chairman of organic yogurt producer Stonyfield Farms, said that crops with a gene for resistance to a widely used herbicide, glyphosate (sold under the trade name Roundup), have resulted in herbicide-resistant “superweeds” on over 13 million acres of farmland in 26 states. This leads, he said, to greater use of stronger defoliants like 2,4-D.

Hirshberg promoted labeling so consumers can to choose not to support practices that lead to these environmental effects. “This gives a voice to the consumer-driven food economy that wants the transparency that only labeling can bring,” he said.

Committee member and organic farmer Will Stevens, I-Shoreham, was interested in the marketing opportunity for farmers. Stevens’ questions led witnesses opposed to the bill to acknowledge that labeling could, indeed, change the market.

It might not change the market in a way that benefits small producers and manufacturers who now avoid GMOs, according to Laggis. Before Vermont’s rBST-labeling law, she said, Booth Brothers was the only milk labeled rBST-free.

“What ended up happening is, now almost all milk is labeled as BST-free, and that probably would not have happened if Vermont had not focused so much consumer attention on it,” Laggis said. “Booth Brothers might have actually captured a larger, more significant share.”

According to Hansen at Consumers Union, more than 50 countries containing a third of the world’s population require some sort of labeling of food containing GMOs. Hirshberg said that countries requiring labeling include all of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea and Russia.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require labeling and, Agriculture Committee Chair Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham, said, no state does, either. Hirshberg said that 21 states are working on similar bills.

The committee is clearly hesitant to make Vermont the first state in the nation to pass a law opposed by biotechnology giants like Monsanto, a company with a track record of aggressive litigation to protect their products. The committee asked Ryan Kriger of the state Attorney General’s Office about various grounds for challenging the bill’s constitutionality.

They also asked him about the cost to the state of defending a 1994 law requiring milk containing genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBST) to be labeled, a law that was ultimately struck down by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. (Kriger said that the cost was impossible to calculate for a case that long ago.)

Others warned the committee to steer clear of repeating the state’s experience with the 1994 law.

A number of the witnesses against the bill said they would be less opposed to a labeling requirement developed at the federal level, that would be uniform in all states. Stonyfield Farm’s Hirshberg said he spent Thursday at the White House as part of an effort to persuade the FDA to require labeling of genetically engineered food. He said he also supported the state-level efforts.

Laggis said a Vermont-only labeling requirement could harm small Vermont producers. She pointed to Bove’s, a producer of tomato sauce that sells in both Vermont and New York state. She said that since producing two labels is expensive, Bove’s would use its Vermont label in New York state, too. But New York-based tomato sauce producers that don’t sell in Vermont would not be required to label their produce as genetically engineered, and Bove’s would lose sales.

The witnesses who opposed the bill all said they did not object to voluntary labeling of food that does not contain GMOs. While FDA guidelines discourage the use of “GMO-free,” they allow statements like, “Our tomato growers do not plant seeds developed using biotechnology.”

Partridge, the committee chair, said that the committee will use its reprieve from the crossover deadline to hear next week from the lawmakers’ attorneys, Legislative Council, about what legal options they have and what the effects might be of various provisions. In addition to passing the bill as written, lawmakers have discussed making the bill take effect when a certain number of other states pass similar bills or amending the bill to encourage voluntary labeling of food that is not genetically engineered.


04/10 GMO Hearing Action Alert

Do You Want The Right to Know
If Your Food Is Genetically Engineered?

Now’s The Time to Make Your Voice Count!
JOIN US
at the Public Hearing on H.722,
The Vermont Right To Know GMO Food Labeling Bill
Thursday, April 12, 2012
6:30-8:30PM
House Chambers, Vermont State House, Montpelier
Dear Members & Friends,

 

Rural Vermont is working with the VT Right to Know GMOs coalition to demonstrate the overwhelming public support for H.722. This bill would simply require that food sold in Vermont that is genetically engineered be labeled. We all have the right to know what is in our food.
Help us convince the House Committee on Agriculture
that they should pass this bill NOW!
PUBLIC HEARING
VT RIGHT TO KNOW GMO FOOD LABELING BILL – H. 722
Thursday, April 12. 6:30pm- 8:30pm
House Chambers, Vermont State House

Montpelier

>>If you plan to testify please show up by 5:45PM to sign up
and be sure to check in with Rural Vermont staff<<

Please click here for detailed information on the Public Hearing. If you have additional questions or need assistance, please email Robb
or call Rural Vermont at 223-7222

PLEASE NOTE: Vermont GMO activists are organizing FREE buses from several locations to help people get to the hearing.

Help us spread the word and stay in touch with the

VT Right To Know GMOs Campaign by “LIKING” VT Right To Know GMOs on Facebook

Thanks for your help!
Andrea Stander
Rural Vermont Director

P.S. Can’t make it to Montpelier on Thurs? Join us on Tues. April 17th at locations around the state for a special screening of “You Wanted to Be a Farmer: A Discussion of Scale.” This new 30 min. documentary features Dan Brown, a farmer in Maine who is challenging assumptions about how to create resilient community-based food systems. You can find all the details here.


Rural Vermont Presents New Film “You Wanted to be a Farmer” about Small Farm Policy

Multiple Screenings throughout Vermont on April 17th

On Tuesday, April 17th, Rural Vermont partners with local supporters to bring “You Wanted to Be a Farmer: A Discussion of Scale” to various locations across the state. This special date was chosen to coincide with the International Day of Peasant Struggle, and the events are being brought to Vermont with the support of Food for Maine’s Future, No Umbrella Media, and the Sap Pail. All of these events are free and open to the public.

This new documentary exposes the regulatory challenges that small farms face by chronicling the lawsuit against two Maine farmers for selling unlicensed food. Farm and food policy that is blind to size or scale is an issue that many folks can identify with, and one whose urgency is building among the masses. Get an up-close and personal look at how these barriers are hindering the local foods movement, and then stay to learn more about Rural Vermont’s work to enhance a cultural and regulatory climate that recognizes, validates, and supports Vermonters feeding Vermonters.

“You Wanted to be a Farmer” will be screened at the following locations:

RIPTON, Addison County – Ripton Church, Rte. 125 at 7 pm

SOUTH WHEELOCK, Caledonia County – Chandler Pond Farm at 7 pm.

Please RSVP to Tamara at tamarapmartin@yahoo.com.

BURLINGTON, Chittenden County – 21 Decatur Street at 8 pm.

Please RSVP to Cecile at creuge@gmail.com.

FAIRFIELD, Franklin County – Bent Northrop Memorial Library, 164 Park Street at 7 pm

SAINT ALBANS, Franklin County – Cosmic Bakery & Café, 30 South Main Street at 7 pm. Please RSVP to Denise at denisebsmith@comcast.net.

RANDOLPH, Orange County – Vermont Technical College’s Red House School Building, on the corner of S. Randolph Road and East Bethel Street at 7 pm

NEWPORT, Orleans County – The Brick House, 42 Central Street, #202 at 7 pm.

Please RSVP to Kristopher at (215) 584-3150.

WELLS, Rutland County – Larson Farm, 69 South Road at 7:30 pm

MONTPELIER, Washington County – Kellogg Hubbard Library, 135 Main Street at 6 pm. Co-sponsored by Food Works and Central Vermont Food Systems Council.

CHESTER, Windsor County – Peace of Paradise on the Chester Green at 7 pm. Co-sponsored by Jersey Girls Dairy.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Windsor County – Upper Valley Food Co-op, 193 North Main Street at 7 pm. Co-sponsored by the Co-op.

Rural Vermont staff, Board, or interns will be on-hand at the Fairfield, South Wheelock, Burlington, Randolph, White River Junction and Montpelier events to facilitate a conversation about the huge segment of Vermont’s local food economy that has been unfairly driven underground by bad farm and food policy. Join the conversation and the movement to stand up for good food, stand by your farmer, and let Vermonters feed Vermonters!

“You Wanted to Be a Farmer: A Discussion of Scale”, by No Umbrella Media and the Sap Pail in association with Food for Maine’s Future, profiles Dan and Judy Brown of Gravelwood Farm in Blue Hill, Maine, and the issues surrounding the lawsuit filed against them by the State of Maine and Maine Department of Agriculture, soon after their town was one of six that passed the Local Foods Community Self-Governance Ordinance. The film features “inside-the-barn” interviews with Dan and Judy as well as conversations with their farm patrons. Topics range from the importance of producing food locally to the control over food policy by corporate-influenced government regulatory agencies. “You Wanted to Be a Farmer” is a revealing bottom-up look at food policy that raises important questions about the need for scale-appropriate regulation for neighbors feeding neighbors.

Inspired by the passage of the Local Foods Community Self-Governance Ordinance in several Maine towns, eight Vermont towns passed Food Sovereignty resolutions at Town Meeting 2012. The April 17th film screenings follow on the heels of these resolutions that declared overwhelming support for Vermonters feeding Vermonters. Stay involved with this ongoing conversation about food justice at Rural Vermont’s Annual Celebration on Wednesday, May 16th from 6:30-9pm at the Wilder Center in Wilder. Keynote address “The Future’s in the Dirt: Growing a Culture of Vermonters Feeding Vermonters” by Ben Hewitt will dig more deeply into the challenges and potential of Vermont’s rapidly growing local foods movement.


04/12 Public Hearing on VT Right to Know GMO Food Act (H.722)

Thursday, April 12 6:30pm- 8:30pm
>>Due to expected large attendance, if you want to give testimony, please plan to arrive by 5:45 to sign up<<
House Chambers (2nd floor) Vermont State House Montpelier
PLEASE READ more information HERE.
Stay up to date by ‘liking’ the Right to Know Facebook page.


04/17 Film Screenings: “You Wanted to be a Farmer: A Discussion of Scale”

Film Screenings at various locations around VT (and the country)
Free and open to the public!

RIPTON, Addison County – Ripton Church, Rte. 125 at 7 pm

SOUTH WHEELOCK, Caledonia County – Chandler Pond Farm at 7 pm.
Please RSVP to Tamara at tamarapmartin@yahoo.com.

BURLINGTON, Chittenden County – 21 Decatur Street at 8 pm.
Please RSVP to Cecile at creuge@gmail.com.

FAIRFIELD, Franklin County – Bent Northrop Memorial Library, 164 Park Street at 7 pm

SAINT ALBANS, Franklin County – Cosmic Bakery & Café, 30 South Main Street at 7 pm. Please RSVP to Denise at denisebsmith@comcast.net.

RANDOLPH, Orange County – Vermont Technical College’s Red House School Building, on the corner of S. Randolph Road and East Bethel Street at 7 pm

NEWPORT, Orleans County – The Brick House, 42 Central Street, #202 at 7 pm.
Please RSVP to Kristopher at (215) 584-3150.

WELLS, Rutland County – Larson Farm, 69 South Road at 7:30 pm

MONTPELIER, Washington County – Kellogg Hubbard Library, 135 Main Street at 6 pm. Co-sponsored by Food Works and Central Vermont Food Systems Council. More info included on this poster.

CHESTER, Windsor County – Peace of Paradise on the Chester Green, 7 pm. Co-sponsored by Jersey Girls Dairy.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Windsor County – Upper Valley Food Co-op, 193 North Main Street at 7 pm. Co-sponsored by the Co-op. More info included on this poster.

Rural Vermont staff, Board, or interns will be on-hand at the Fairfield, South Wheelock, Burlington, Randolph, White River Junction and Montpelier events to facilitate a conversation about the huge segment of Vermont’s local food economy that has been unfairly driven underground by bad farm and food policy. Join the conversation and the movement to stand up for good food, stand by your farmer, and let Vermonters feed Vermonters!

“You Wanted to Be a Farmer: A Discussion of Scale”, by No Umbrella Media and the Sap Pail in association with Food for Maine’s Future, profiles Dan and Judy Brown of Gravelwood Farm in Blue Hill, Maine, and the issues surrounding the lawsuit filed against them by the State of Maine and Maine Department of Agriculture, soon after their town was one of six that passed the Local Foods Community Self-Governance Ordinance. The film features “inside-the-barn” interviews with Dan and Judy as well as conversations with their farm patrons. Topics range from the importance of producing food locally to the control over food policy by corporate-influenced government regulatory agencies. “You Wanted to Be a Farmer” is a revealing bottom-up look at food policy that raises important questions about the need for scale-appropriate regulation for neighbors feeding neighbors.

Inspired by the passage of the Local Foods Community Self-Governance Ordinance in several Maine towns, eight Vermont towns passed Food Sovereignty resolutions at Town Meeting 2012. The April 17th film screenings follow on the heels of these resolutions that declared overwhelming support for Vermonters feeding Vermonters. Stay involved with this ongoing conversation about food justice at Rural Vermont’s Annual Celebration on Wednesday, May 16th from 6:30-9pm at the Wilder Center in Wilder. Keynote address “The Future’s in the Dirt: Growing a Culture of Vermonters Feeding Vermonters” by Ben Hewitt will dig more deeply into the challenges and potential of Vermont’s rapidly growing local foods movement. More information here.