Author Archives: Mollie

Rural Vermont and Post Oil Solutions Partner to Develop Local Food Sovereignty

For immediate release: 10/12/11
Contact Person: Robb Kidd, (802) 223-7222, robb@ruralvermont.org

Rural Vermont and the Brattleboro area’s Post Oil Solutions announce a collaboration to facilitate discussions about local food sovereignty in the Brattleboro community.

The first meeting will be held at the Marlboro Graduate Center, Room 2 East, 28 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, on November 3 at 7pm. A half hour video presentation featuring Bob St Peter’s discussion about Sedgwick, Maine’s Local Food and Self Governance Ordinances will be aired to stimulate the conversation. Bob St Peter organized the passing of the ordinance in Sedgwick, Maine, is the Executive Director of Food for Maine’s Future and is currently on the board of the National Family Farm Coalition. Light refreshments will be available.

Rural Vermont, a statewide advocacy organization, has embarked on a campaign to facilitate discussions with local partners on developing local food sovereignty. Over the past 26 years, Rural Vermont has been engaged in advocating for agricultural policy change in Vermont, and continues to face enormous hurdles with federal and state policies and a commodity food system that undervalues local sourced food. Rural Vermont is working with communities all throughout Vermont in their campaign to support food sovereignty. Robb Kidd, Rural Vermont Organizer, states that “too many times food policy discussions take place in small meeting rooms in Montpelier, and inadvertently leave the communities out of the discussion. Rural Vermont is bringing food discussions back to the local community, where it belongs.”

Collaborating with Post Oil Solutions, Rural Vermont is excited to work with a local, community-based organization addressing solutions to the challenges of modern society. Tim Stevenson, Founding Director of Post Oil solutions, states that “food sovereignty means food democracy, the right of a people to choose how we will feed ourselves. It means reclaiming our right as communities to control our food system, from seed to table, to produce, process, sell and purchase our local foods as we decide.  As an organization dedicated to building a regional community-based food system, Post Oil Solutions believes that food sovereignty is second to none to fulfilling this mission.”

Rural Vermont and Post Oil Solutions welcome input from the Brattleboro community. Part of the agenda of the meeting is to begin a process for Brattleboro and Windham County communities to cultivate local food sovereignty as each community feels appropriate. Whether the approach is to adopt local food sovereignty ordinances similar to what the community of Sedgwick, Maine passed last March, or to proceed with Vermont’s tradition of Town Meeting Day advisory resolutions, we hope to build upon the success of the growing international movement for food sovereignty.

Rural Vermont is a nonprofit advocacy group founded by farmers in 1985 that advocates, activates, and educates for living soils, thriving farms, and healthy communities. For more info, call (802) 223-7222, visit www.ruralvermont.org, or email robb@ruralvermont.org.

Post Oil Solutions is a group of citizens from the Southeast Vermont bio-region who began meeting in June 2005. Post Oils Solutions works in the communities that straddle the Connecticut River between Southeastern Vermont, Southwestern New Hampshire and Northwestern Massachusetts, though most of the work centers on the more populated towns of Brattleboro and Bellows Falls. In working toward the vision of sustainable and socially just communities, they are inspired by what they value most.  For more info, call 802.869.2141, visit www.postoilsolutions, or email info@postoilsolutions.org.


11/20 AFTER THE FLOOD: STORIES OF HEART & HOPE with Annie Hawkins

AFTER THE FLOOD: STORIES OF HEART & HOPE
WITH STORYTELLER ANNIE HAWKINS

7pm, The Songyard, 295 Main Street, CHESTER
Admission is $5-$10 sliding scale, and all proceeds benefit Rural Vermont.

Rural Vermont again partners with master storyteller Annie Hawkins for the third annual storytelling benefit in Chester, Vermont. “After the Flood: Stories of Heart and Hope” will feature a series of tales from past generations and distant cultures that speak to the resolve, compassion, and valor displayed by Vermonters in the aftermath of the floods. Adults and older children are welcome to join Annie and Rural Vermont on Sunday, November 20th at 7 pm at the Songyard, located at 295 Main Street in Chester. (Please note this is a different location than years past.) Admission is $5-$10 sliding scale, and all proceeds benefit Rural Vermont.

In explaining how Annie conjured up this year’s theme, she says that, “After the flood, I have been thinking a lot about community and connectiveness. I have been awed by Vermonters’ resiliency, perseverance, kindness and courage. There is also a need for solace. I have been remembering stories from many cultures that speak to our own culture in the here and now and celebrate those attributes that have been so much in evidence after the flood. I also desire to provide hope and solace via these lovely old stories that have nurtured humans for generations.”

Following the one-hour performance, stay for a reception with homemade refreshments and mingling. Meet Annie, learn more about Rural Vermont’s advocacy work on behalf of farmers, and peruse the gallery of artwork that makes up Rural Vermont’s 2011 “Art for Agrarians” online art auction. Artwork reflects Rural Vermont’s vision for food with dignity, and bids can be placed online through December 9th at www.ruralvermont.org.

Proceeds from the door fee will benefit Rural Vermont, and the organization’s work to secure economic justice for Vermont’s farmers. In support and solidarity with the farmers impacted by Tropical Storm Irene, the event will also raise funds for farmer flood relief through tee shirt sales and free will donations. A tee designed by Springfield artist Jamie Townsend will be available for purchase for $20, and a “farm flood relief” donation bucket will be passed. All tee proceeds and relief donations will benefit the Vermont Community Foundation’s Farm Disaster Relief Fund.

Annie Hawkins began her storytelling life when she was a wee sprite dressed in Doctor Denton pajamas and regaling her parents’ dinner guests with her fantastical made-up stories. Since 1989 she has performed at universities, theatres, museums, nature centers and other venues all over the country. Although she no longer wears pajamas when she performs, Annie still brings a child’s sense of exuberance and wonder to the stage. She is also the author of published short stories, poems and essays. Her column Renegade Poet was published in The Kennett Paper, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania for five years and won a Keystone Press Award. She currently writes a monthly column for The Weekly Commons in Brattleboro, VT.


12/07 & 12/14 Farmhouse Cheddar Curds, Mozzarella, Yogurt, & Butter

BEYOND MILK: RAW DAIRY PROCESSING!
Same class, two different dates!
Wednesday, December 7th & 14th
1 – 4 pm
Apple Ledge Farm, COVENTRY
$20-40 sliding scale, advance registration required

More classes coming soon! 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 shelby@ruralvermont.org.

** SEEKING HOSTS & TEACHERS! If you’re a raw milk dairy and would like to host a class OR a raw milk enthusiast eager to share your kitchen skills with others, please contact shelby@ruralvermont.org or call (802) 223-7222.


11/17 Homegrown Potluck & Kitchen Table Conversation

November 17, 6 pm
rsvp for address, NEWBURY

As part of its food sovereignty campaign, Rural Vermont kicks off a new series highlighting the traditional foods and connections that make each Vermont community unique. On Thursday November 17th at 6 pm in Newbury, join neighbors and friends for an old-fashioned family-style meal that celebrates the area’s agricultural roots, and then stay for a conversation about what makes this foodshed special, and what changes could make it even better! The event is free. Please RSVP to shelby@ruralvermont.org or (802) 223-7222 for exact location.

Consider the potluck supper to be a delicious depiction of the greater Newbury community’s food culture and food system. Bring food with a story! This might be something that is homegrown/raised, or it might be a traditional dish from the area’s collective past. Wild game? Organ meats? Homemade bread & butter? Fermented veggies? The possibilities are endless!

After appreciating and enjoying the bountiful homegrown supper, the group will embark on a discussion that will examine the greater Newbury community’s food system, identify how and where opportunity for improvement exist, and begin the process to address these shortcomings. Folks should expect to walk away with full bellies, a sense of accomplishment, and some clear direction for moving this community towards food sovereignty.

Rural Vermont’s food sovereignty campaign seeks to declare the right of communities to produce, process, sell and purchase local foods. Vermonters have employed a food system based on community and intimate connections between farmers and their neighbors for generations. The advent of modern industry has forced many of these community-based food systems underground, and in many places has even destroyed them. Rural Vermont’s food sovereignty campaign seeks to recognize, revitalize, celebrate, and support these community-based food systems.

* More dates and locations coming soon. If you’d like to host an event at your home, get in touch with Shelby.


10/26/2011 Alert

In this Alert
Message from the Director

Greetings! Here at the Rural Vermont office, we continue to organize and move forward on our Food Sovereignty efforts, connecting with activists all over Vermont as we work to embrace our agricultural heritage and grow vibrant local economies town-by-town.

As part of this effort, we have some exciting events coming up that you might be interested in participating in. From the Environmental Action Conference this weekend, where organizer Robb Kidd will present a workshop on Food Sovereignty, to community gatherings in Waitsfield and Brattleboro, please consider joining us in this historic effort! Rural Vermont can only be successful if folks like you are willing to take part in the grassroots advocacy and community initiatives that move agriculture forward in Vermont. To that end, take a look at our website for information about Food Sovereignty in your area, check out the draft resolutions that are already being proposed for Town Meeting Day, and consider getting more involved yourself.

Also, I wanted to let you know that Rural Vermont’s annual Art Auction is live! Please take a moment to check out the wonderful art that is available in this year’s auction by clicking here. If you see something you like, you can bid securely online!

Thanks in advance for your support!

Best,

Jared

ArtNOW OPEN!! RURAL VERMONT’S 3rd ANNUAL

“ART FOR AGRARIANS” ONLINE ART AUCTION

Monday, October 24th – Friday, December 9th at 5pm

Check out and bid on more than a dozen pieces of artwork donated by Vermont artists that reflect Rural Vermont’s vision for Food with Dignity! This year’s auction includes a great mix of pieces and price points, so there is something for everyone …. original oils, black & white photos, woodwork, hand-forged steel, and much more. The bidding will take place online, but look for one or several pieces on display through November at the following farmstores:

  • WAAWWE in Chester, “Blue Jersey”
  • Mootique, Turkey Hill Farm in Randolph Center, agricultural jug
  • Family Cow Farmstand in Hinesburg, Fred Tuttle photo & “Autumn Grazing”
  • Applecheek Farmstore in Hyde Park, “Cleaning up their Grain”

All of the artwork will be available for preview at the Capital City Thanksgiving Farmers’ Market at Montpelier High School on Saturday, November 19th and at the Storytelling Benefit, November date TBD, in Chester. All proceeds benefit Rural Vermont.

fsevents

Food Sovereignty Event Series

Environmental Action Conference – Food Sovereignty Workshop
October 29, 8am-6pm
Vermont Technical College, RANDOLPH

Rural Vermont will be leading a workshop on how to grow local food sovereignty in your community. Click here for more details.

Food Sovereignty Meeting

November 2, 5:30-7pm

Big Picture Theater, WAITSFIELD

Rural Vermont will be meeting with folks in the Mad River Valley to discuss how to grow local food sovereignty and explore the option of passing Town Meeting Day resolutions. Please RSVP to robb@ruralvermont.org, or for more information.

Food Sovereignty Meeting

November 3, 7pm-9pm

Marlboro Graduate Center, BRATTLEBORO

In collaboration with the Post Oil Solutions Network, Rural Vermont will be facilitating a local food sovereignty discussion with communities in the Brattleboro area. Email robb@ruralvermont.org for more information.


Homegrown Potluck & Kitchen Table Conversation
November 17, 6 pm
rsvp for address, NEWBURY

Rural Vermont kicks off a new series highlighting the traditional foods and connections that make each Vermont community unique. Bring and share food you’ve grown or raised yourself, or a traditional dish from Vermont’s collective past. Wild game? Organ meats? Homemade bread & butter? Pickled any/everything? Pull up a seat around the kitchen table and join neighbors and friends from the greater Newbury community for a supper that celebrates the area’s existing food culture and a conversation about defining this area’s local food system, adopting a long-term vision for this foodshed, and declaring food sovereignty. RSVP to shelby@ruralvermont.org or call (802) 223-7222.
* More dates and locations coming soon. If you’d like to host an event at your home, get in touch with Shelby.

Food Sovereignty Meeting
January 19, 6pm-7:45pm
Kellog Hubbard Library, MONTPELIER

Rural Vermont will be facilitating a discussion with Transition Town Montpelier about how communities can grow local food sovereignty. In preparation for Town Meeting Day articles, discussion will highlight Montpelier’s Food Sovereignty Resolution and other methods to raise awareness about the campaign.

If you are interested in having Rural Vermont facilitate a food sovereignty discussion in your community, please contact robb@ruralvermont.org.

Events

Rural Vermont Events

 

BEYOND MILK: RAW DAIRY PROCESSING !

Rescheduled! Camembert, Queso Blanco, & Mozzarella
with Lea Calderon-Guthe
Wednesday, November 9th
10 am – 1 pm
Macora Farm, WOODSTOCK

Farmhouse Cheddar Curds, Mozzarella, Yogurt, & Butter
Wednesday, December 7th
1 – 4 pm
Apple Ledge Farm, COVENTRY

More classes coming soon! 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 shelby@ruralvermont.org.

** SEEKING HOSTS & TEACHERS! If you’re a raw milk dairy and would like to host a class OR a raw milk enthusiast eager to share your kitchen skills with others, please contact shelby@ruralvermont.org or call (802) 223-7222.

DEVIL MAKES THREE: STOMP & SMASH IRENE

A BENEFIT CONCERT FOR VT FARMERS

with the Toughcats & Wooden Dinosaur

Friday, October 28th at 7:30 pm

Vermont College Gymnasium, MONTPELIER

$20 – Advance tickets at:
http://goodnightirene.eventbrite.com/

All proceeds benefit the Vermont Community Foundation’s Farm Disaster Relief Fund

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to support flood-impacted farmers and rock out to powerhouse Americana folk-punk trio Devil Makes Three! Come early and visit the Rural Vermont booth – sign the Montpelier Food Sovereignty resolution petition, get campaign updates, and buy your “Support VT farmers” flood relief tee featuring “Blue Jersey”, an original oil painting featured in Rural Vermont’s art auction, by VT artist Jamie Townsend. All tee sale proceeds benefit the VCF Farm Disaster Relief Fund! More info about the band here.

AFTER THE FLOOD: STORIES OF HEART & HOPE

WITH STORYTELLER ANNIE HAWKINS

NOVEMBER DATE & LOCATION TBD, CHESTER

Rural Vermont is once again partnering with Grafton treasure Annie Hawkins to host the 3rd annual storytelling event and benefit for Rural Vermont. Join us for an evening of stories from generations past and far-away cultures that speak to the resiliency, perseverance, kindness and courage that Vermonters displayed in the aftermath of the floods. Coffee and cake reception to follow. Event appropriate for adults and children of all ages, however not well-suited for the very young. $5-$10 sliding scale – all proceeds benefit Rural Vermont.

Volunteer

Volunteer and Activist Needs

Windham/Windsor County- If you live in this area, can you hand out fliers advertising Rural Vermont’s Art Auction and Storytelling event at your upcoming Thanksgiving Farmers’ Markets?

Local Food Sovereignty Campaign: As we gear up the local food sovereignty campaign, we need your help gathering signatures to place local food sovereignty articles on Town Meeting Day ballots. Contact Robbfor petitions or information to get an article on your Town Meeting Day agenda.Office Support-We have a few small projects that need to be done at the office this week. Can you help us with designing a display, data entry or helping make invite calls?

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

**Want to help but not interested in the above activities? Contact us and we’ll see how we can plug you in! **


11/02 Food Sovereignty Meeting

 

November 2, 5:30-7pm
The Big Picture Theater, Waitsfield
RSVP highly recommended

 

Rural Vermont will be meeting with folks in the Mad River Valley to discuss how to grow local food sovereignty and explore the option of passing Town Meeting Day resolutions. Please RSVP to robb@ruralvermont.org, or for more information.


 


The Guardian: GM crops promote superweeds, food insecurity and pesticides, say NGOs

Report finds genetically modified crops fail to increase yields let alone solve hunger, soil erosion and chemical-use issuesBy John Vidal

Genetic engineering has failed to increase the yield of any food crop but has vastly increased the use of chemicals and the growth of “superweeds”, according to a report by 20 Indian, south-east Asian, African and Latin American food and conservation groups representing millions of people.

The so-called miracle crops, which were first sold in the US about 20 years ago and which are now grown in 29 countries on about 1.5bn hectares (3.7bn acres) of land, have been billed as potential solutions to food crises, climate change and soil erosion, but the assessment finds that they have not lived up to their promises.

The report claims that hunger has reached “epic proportions” since the technology was developed. Besides this, only two GM “traits” have been developed on any significant scale, despite investments of tens of billions of dollars, and benefits such as drought resistance and salt tolerance have yet to materialise on any scale.

Most worrisome, say the authors of the Global Citizens’ Report on the State of GMOs, is the greatly increased use of synthetic chemicals, used to control pests despite biotech companies’ justification that GM-engineered crops would reduce insecticide use.

The report, which draws on empirical research and companies’ own statements, also says weeds are now developing resistance to the GM firms’ herbicides and pesticides that are designed to be used with their crops, and that this has led to growing infestations of “superweeds”, especially in the US.

Ten common weeds have now developed resistance in at least 22 US states, with about 6m hectares (15m acres) of soya, cotton and corn now affected.

Consequently, farmers are being forced to use more herbicides to combat the resistant weeds, says the report. GM companies are paying farmers to use other, stronger, chemicals, they say. “The genetic engineering miracle is quite clearly faltering in farmers’ fields,” add the authors.

The companies have succeeded in marketing their crops to more than 15 million farmers, largely by heavy lobbying of governments, buying up local seed companies, and withdrawing conventional seeds from the market, the report claims. Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta, the world’s three largest GM companies, now control nearly 70% of global seed sales. This allows them to “own” and sell GM seeds through patents and intellectual property rights and to charge farmers extra, claims the report.

The study accuses Monsanto of gaining control of over 95% of the Indian cotton seed market and of massively pushing up prices. High levels of indebtedness among farmers is thought to be behind many of the 250,000 deaths by suicide of Indian farmers over the past 15 years.

Vandana Shiva, director of the Indian organisation Navdanya International, which co-ordinated the report, said: “The GM model of farming undermines farmers trying to farm ecologically. Co-existence between GM and conventional crops is not possible because genetic pollution and contamination of conventional crops is impossible to control.

“Choice is being undermined as food systems are increasingly controlled by giant corporations and as chemical and genetic pollution spread. GM companies have put a noose round the neck of farmers. They are destroying alternatives in the pursuit of profit.”


NPR: A Legal Loophole For Raw Milk Lovers: Call It ‘Pet Food’

NPR
By Maria Godoy
10/13/2011
Full Article 

Food fresh from the farm is undeniably appealing. Raw milk enthusiasts take it one step further: They like their milk fresh from the cow — skipping pasteurization.

But it’s illegal to sell raw milk in stores in most U.S. states, and fans have been known to go to great lengths to buy dairy in its purest form. Last year, we told you about one Maryland mom who regularly drives almost two hours to a farm in Pennsylvania to buy unpasteurized milk for her family — paying $5 to $7 per gallon.

In a handful of states that ban raw dairy sales for human consumption, however, it seems some aficionados are taking advantage of a legal loophole: It’s perfectly legit to buy it as pet food. 

That appears to be the case in Florida, where about a dozen new farmssigned up to sell raw milk as “commercial feed” in the past year, bringing the total number of registered farms to 46, according to the Sun Sentinel. Of course, it’s impossible to know how much of this “pet milk” is getting slurped up by Fido or by his masters. But “state officials acknowledge that there’s an underground supply chain” for human consumption, the paper reports.

In fact, labeling raw milk as pet food is one of several known “moo-nshine” strategies employed by farmers looking to circumvent state and federal legal bans. “FDA is aware of reports like those in the Florida Sun Sentinel,” FDA spokesperson Stephanie Yao tells The Salt.

Such subterfuge is necessary in a “dysfunctional” legal landscape, argues Pete Kennedy, the president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which represents some 2,000 individual farmers across the U.S. who sell raw milk, and some 3,000 members of raw milk-buying clubs.

“The consumption of raw milk is legal in every state in the country,” Kennedy says. “But you have 20 states where the sale is illegal. So you have this right with some people unable to exercise it.”

But advocates for raw milk say it’s worth the risk. It has a creamier, more complex flavor than the pasteurized variety. They say pasteurization — in which milk is heated to 161 degrees Fahrenheit to kill microbes — also kills vital nutrients, a claim the FDA dismisses.

It’s up to individual states to decide how raw milk is sold within their boundaries, and 30 of them allow it in some form, according to a recent survey by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.


01/19 Food Sovereignty Discussion

6pm-7:45pm
Kellogg Hubbard Library, Montpelier

Join the Rural Vermont statewide discussion on growing local food sovereignty. These discussions are designed to assist in (1) defining a particular food shed’s current food system, (2) identifying gaps and barriers, and (3) creating a long-term vision. Also, learn how Vermont’s tradition of Town Meeting Day resolutions can help communities like Montpelier develop local food sovereignty as a way to further support our agricultural heritage.

Robb Kidd is an organizer at Rural Vermont, a non-profit farmer’s advocacy organization, which has recently launched a local food sovereignty campaign to further elevate discussions outside traditional legislative platforms and back into local communities. Joining Robb will be a farmer to fill in with personalized stories of farming in Vermont.

Co-sponsored by Transition Town Montpelier and Kellogg-Hubbard Library. This is the November Third Thursday Transition Speaker Series at the Library.


11/03 Local Food Sovereignty Discussion

7pm-9pm
Marlboro Graduate Center, Brattleboro

In collaboration with the Post Oil Solutions Network, Rural Vermont will be facilitating a local food sovereignty discussion with communities in the Brattleboro area. Email robb@ruralvermont.org for more information.