Author Archives: Mollie

Channel 3000: Judge's Ruling Against Raw Milk Producer Flares Divide

Republican Legislator Vows To Reverse Restrictions With Legislation
Full Article

MADISON, Wis. — A decision by a Dane County judge to block a northeastern Wisconsin farm from selling raw milk might have reignited a longstanding debate over free taste and health safety.

Kay and Wayne Craig, owners of Grassway Farm in Calumet County, had sued a state department after it shut down a membership program established for the farm’s customers. The Craigs created the memberships so customers would become part-owners of the farm, claiming that complied with a state law that a farm’s owners could legally drink unpasteurized milk from their own cows.

The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection ended the farm’s plan because it allowed a regular base of customers to buy raw milk, which is illegal. DATCP officials said that state law wasn’t meant to extend to dozens of farm members and the judge agreed, WISC-TV reported.

Dairy farmers’ families have consumed unpasteurized milk for decades, and they’re not unhealthy, said state Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend. Grothman has sponsored a bill, co-sponsored by other state Senate Republicans, to legalize most raw milk sales from licensed producers.”It’s an archaic law,” he said. “I think we can look forward to the day, hopefully this time next year, where everything can be above board.”

Sellers now must sell at night or use tactic such as the Craigs’ to avoid the law. Raw milk producers contacted by WISC-TV for this story declined comment, and said they feared state inspectors would shut down their operations down, too.

Both houses of the state Legislature passed a similar version to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk last year. But then-Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed the legislation, citing its negative health consequences.

11/09 Camembert, Mozzarella, and Queso Blanco- Note date change!

RESCHEDULED for Wednesday, November 9th/ 10 am-1 pm
Macora Farm, WOODSTOCK
$20-40 sliding scale, advance registration required

Lea Calderon-Guthe teaches the next installment of Rural Vermont’s Beyond Milk: Raw Dairy Processing series on Wednesday, October 19th from 10 am – 1 pm at Macora Farm in Woodstock. If you’d like to learn to make a variety of cheeses for your family and the dinner table, then join us to learn the ins and outs of camembert, queso blanco, and mozzarella.

The class will cover the basics of cheese making, and Lea will demystify the process by leading participants through every step. Of course the day will also include the opportunity to taste the end products. The day will wrap up with a tour of Macora Farm where folks can meet the lovely ladies providing the milk, and also purchase some to take home and start making their own cheese!

Camembert is a soft, creamy, surface-ripened and aged cow‘s milk cheese that was first made in the late 18th century in Normandy in northern France. Queso blanco means “white cheese” in Spanish, and is a creamy, soft, and mild unaged white cheese that originated in Spain and spread to Mexico and other American countries. Mozzarella is familiar to most everyone, and is a staple in Italian cooking and a really fun cheese to make!

The fee for the course is $20-40 sliding scale, and all proceeds will benefit Rural Vermont. Pre-registration is required and space is limited, so be in touch today to reserve your spot! For more information or to sign up, give Rural Vermont a call at (802) 223-7222 or email

Macora Farm is named after Chantal and Mike’s two daughters. The family raises laying hens, meat birds, cows, pigs, goats, ducks for entertainment, and a small garden. They sell roaster chickens, raw milk, and have just added hand spun wool to their offerings. Their milkers are Opal, a Geurnsey, and Josie, a Dutch belted Lackenvelder (red and white). Though the farm is not certified organic, all the animals are pastured and fed certified organic grain and organic hay. They have just recently cleared 10 acres that were previously wooded to turn into pasture.

Lea Calderon-Guthe is a Middlebury College student with a sincere interest in the art and science of cheesemaking. She has trained with, and worked under, Cindy West of the renowned Hillsborough Cheese Company in Orange County, North Carolina. She loves sharing her passion for cheesemaking with Vermonters!

Vermont's Local Banquet: A Tasty Tour

By Matt Burke
September 2011
Full Article

Year One: A Good Cause. Managing our farm, my wife and I try to respect a Sunday off, cultivating diversity in our lives as we do in our fields. So in September 2008, a neighbor and I chose to ride the first annual “Tour de Farms,” an Addison County bike-to-farms ride of various lengths, organized by Rural Vermont, the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN), and the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition. Having chosen the 30-mile loop, the rolling hills of Addison County on that clear morning were stunning. The farms that welcomed riders each had a unique character and offered plenty of smiles and samples: bread, maple syrup, meats, cheeses, yogurt, wine, apples, and cider donuts. Having treated ourselves, I was home in time to feed the pigs.

Year Two: Friends and Family. Word was out: The Tour is Vermont quality, accessible to all. Family members joined me in 2009, choosing the shorter 10-mile loop, but afterward they felt they could have gone farther. I repeated the 30-mile, taking in more details of the land. A few farms had changed, a few were added. There were many more riders, better coordination, improved road signs, and the post-ride gathering at the Shoreham town green was a larger event, offering music, food and celebration. I returned home in time to move our sheep to fresh pasture.

Year Three: Local Abundance. I chose the 25-mile loop last year. I enjoyed the change and saved more energy for the last few challenging hills. Summers in Vermont come and go too quickly to allow me more than a handful of rides each growing season; most of my “cycling” is done from house to field and field to house. But during this third tour, I stayed on longer at the farms, talking with other growers. I made some scribbled notes on the back of the map: varieties, techniques, phone numbers. The ride offered me a rare opportunity to visit a handful of skilled producers during the height of the growing season. Having moved the sheep early that morning, I lingered at the green.

Year Twenty? Feed the Revolution. The ride—set to take place this year on Sunday, September 18—also offers plenty of opportunity to quietly consider the land, as it is now, and as it could become. I can imagine a future Vermont of farms, forests, rivers, hilltops, and towns, all served by dedicated bike paths, well constructed and well marked—a true rural transportation alternative. The trails would connect town to town across the state, linking inns, B&Bs, ski resorts, natural areas, and of course, working farms. The Vermont bike trail system would become a destination for visitors, a link for communities, a path for wildlife, and a market opportunity for farm stands and pick-your-owns. Locals and visitors alike would appreciate the quiet and beauty of the working landscape, while pedaling from point to point, powered by the energy of local produce. That’s a picture of sustainability.

Burlington Free Press: Tons of Burlington Intervale produce to be plowed under

September 10, 2011
By Sally Pollak
Full Article

Andy Jones stood in a field of butternut squash at the Burlington Intervale on Friday morning and marveled at the amount of crop — about three acres and 55,000 pounds worth — that needs to be dumped in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

“The really impressive and incredibly depressing thing is how much food we’re leaving in the field,” said Jones, a 42-year-old vegetable grower who has farmed in the Intervale for two decades.

Federal regulations forbid crops that have been in floodwater from being sold for human consumption. The law applies to crops grown above ground, and to root crops that are below the surface of the soil.

It even applies to butternut squash — a vegetable with a thick, smooth skin that can be washed with soap and water, sanitized (with an approved organic sanitizer), and is peeled and cooked before it is eaten.

“If this flood had happened 25 years ago, people might have said we shouldn’t eat the lettuce,” Jones said. “But, OK, that butternut squash is a pretty good bet as far as being able to be safe.”

How much risk?

Vern Grubinger, vegetable and berry specialist with the University of Vermont’s Extension Service, said he hasn’t seen studies about the effects of floodwater on butternut squash.

But Grubinger, who has a Ph.D. in vegetable crops and 21 years experience with the extension service, said there is “a more robust set of studies” than he had been aware that suggest there is some risk to eating flooded crops.

“People think you can just take samples and understand what’s going on,” Grubinger said. “One thing scientists are clear on: It takes a very large number of samples to have any confidence in what you find.”

The studies typically involve replicating flooded conditions by intentionally inoculating certain fields and testing soils and vegetables, Grubinger said.

“It’s clear there’s some level of risk,” he said. “It’s not clear what our level of risk is here. And I can understand the FDA, whose role is to protect the public health, erring on the side of caution. It’s very frustrating to have to throw food away. Especially food that’s going to be cooked and peeled.”

In the field of butternut squash, which was flooded when the Winooski River rose above its banks as Irene inundated Vermont on Aug. 28, you can see the water mark on some of the squash: the silty line that shows where the river rose.

Jones, manager of Intervale Community Farm, said he and his crew will plow under about 55 tons of food to comply with federal regulations. The 530-member community-supported agriculture farm feeds 1,500 to 2,000 people a week, Jones said. He’ll plant a winter cover crop, as farming at the Intervale has come to an abrupt end at the height of the harvest.

“As much as it pains me to look at 50 or 60 tons of food I have in the fields, I have a long-term concern,” Jones said. “Climate change is the concern. If there’s going to be hotter and wetter weather — more extreme weather — the logical conclusion is that there could be more flooding.”

There are preliminary estimates of well over half a million dollars of crop loss at the Intervale, said Travis Marcotte, executive director of the Intervale Foundation. The dollar amount will grow, as not all of the dozen farms have reported their losses, he said.

Statewide, about 10 percent of Vermont’s 500 vegetable farms saw flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Irene, Grubinger said.

“I have personally received reports of about $2 million of losses in vegetable farms,” Grubinger said. “I estimate that it’s likely to be twice that.”

At the Intervale on Friday, a handful of vegetable farmers met with Chuck Ross, the state’s Secretary of Agriculture.

Standing in the muddy fields farmed by Diggers Mirth Collective, the farmers raised concerns about the federal regulations that forbid them from selling any vegetables, including root vegetables and crops that were to be harvested in four or five weeks.

They questioned the basis on which the determinations are made. They wondered about soil testing, and specific criteria that would indicate something about the safety of the food. They are interested in flood-specific data that is particular to Vermont.

Flood research

There was talk at the Intervale of developing a research project related to contaminants and flooding; of finding collaborators at the university and in the agriculture department; of attempting to the turn the disaster into an opportunity for Vermont to be in the forefront of farm-flood management.

“Seize that opportunity as you try to respond and restore and rebuild your farm,” Ross said. “I don’t underestimate the double whammy of that.”

Grubinger had what he called a “common-sense solution.” He suggested compensating growers for avoiding the health risks to consumers.

“The problem is we don’t have a mechanism in place for adequately compensating growers if we’re going to ask them to throw away their crops,” Grubinger said. “That’s actually the simplest way forward, rather than trying to measure risk on every farm, with every waterway being different and every soil being different.”

Vermont could also develop and propose a system that allows for exemptions to the one-size-fits-all FDA rule. In this way, site assessments can be made that demonstrate a lack of significant sources of contamination, Grubinger said.

Another important factor is for growers to “ramp up” handling of produce after the harvest. This means triple washing of vegetables and applying surface sanitizers, Grubinger said.

“All the big boys do these things,” Grubinger said. “Washing is good. More washing is better.”

Grubinger suspects the level of risk to Vermont’s flooded crops lies somewhere between those who say there’s little problem with the food and those who say it would be extremely risky to eat it.

“We’re in a kind of no-man’s land where nobody has the data for Vermont, and you can say anything you want,” Grubinger said, “and it’s not a good place to be.”

The Journal: In focus: War of words over plan to ban ‘raw milk’

Full Article

A GROUP of artisan foodmakers are at odds with the government’s food safety body over plans to ban the sale of unpasteurised ‘raw’ milk – rejecting claims that the ban is a logical move to reduce health risks.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has recommended that the government restore an outright ban on the sale of such milk, which had been originally introduced in the mid 1990s but overturned by a European directive in 2007.

Opponents of the proposed ban – including some of Ireland’s best-known restaurateurs – believe there is no reason for the ban, arguing that the government should instead try to educate people on how to avoid some of the potential health risks posed.

“The primary reason why we don’t think the ban should go ahead involves choice,” said Elisabeth Ryan, of Sheridan’s Cheesemongers in Co Meath, who is leading a campaign urging the government not to ban the sale of raw milk.

“We think people are educated enough and clever enough to be able to read – we’re not saving raw milk should be sold from every single farmer around Ireland! Our suggestion is that small dairy farmers, who have regulations on them, be allowed to sell raw milk – and people be allowed to buy it.”

Ryan explained that the largest consumers of raw milk are farming families who drink the produce of their own dairy herds – and that statistics from the time the original ban was introduced showed suggested that as many as 100,000 Irish families drank raw milk.

The Bridge: The Right to Choose What We Eat

Rural Vermont Drafts Food Sovereignty Resolution
By Sylvia Fagin
Full Article (See page 5)

Does an individual really have the right to eat whatever he or she wants to eat? This is the fundamental question behind Rural Vermont’s food sovereignty campaign. Rural Vermont, the statewide group dedicated to advancing economic justice for Vermont farmers through advocacy and education, is ramping up a campaign to encourage towns and villages to consider the issue of food sovereignty at their 2012 town meetings, according to Robb Kidd, an organizer with the group. Sovereignty means supreme authority. Considering the
issue of food sovereignty, Rural Vermont takes this position:

“We declare the right of communities to produce, process, sell and purchase local foods. In recognition of Vermont’s traditional agricultural systems, we assert these vital principles
as the foundation of local Food Sovereignty.”

This current effort stems from Rural Vermont’s past statewide advocacy work on issues including meat-processing regulation and the right to buy and sell raw milk. Much of
Rural Vermont’s work focuses on ways consumers can purchase food directly from farmers. “In a lot of our work, we’re running into legislative dead ends and federal rules and regulations that don’t allow any more growth in the market,” Kidd said. He noted that the recently released Farm-to-Plate plan reports that only 5 percent
of the food consumed in Vermont is produced in Vermont.

“How are we going to change that?” Kidd asked. “Big food trucks still rumble into Montpelier daily.”

In order for Vermonters to be able to buy more food from their farmer-neighbors, some regulations, both state and federal, will have to change, Kidd said. The first step is educating more people about the issues.

“Even though there’s a lot of support from Vermont politicians, we feel there needs to be a vast culture change,” Kidd said. “One way to do this is in communities themselves. This
campaign is about bringing the message to town halls, to get this issue talked about on a greater level.”

Town Meeting Day discussions serve to inform a greater number of Vermonters on the details of a particular issue, Kidd said, citing past Town Meeting Day topics such as nuclear
power. Rural Vermont is encouraging towns and villages to consider a food sovereignty resolution at their town meeting in 2012 and to adopt resolution language that speaks specifically to the individual community’s history and direction regarding
food and agriculture. “For example, a town may have had a slaughter facility and want to address that issue,” Kidd said.

As a first step, Kidd has convened a group of Montpelier residents to draft a food-sovereignty petition to present to Montpelier voters on Town Meeting Day in March 2012.

The Montpelier group continues to meet to discuss how to build support for this petition. Kidd hopes that the Montpelier petition will build momentum that will spread to other communities. A lot of people are interested, he said. “I could see 15 to 50 towns taking
it on,” he estimated. “Ideally, I’d like to have 250 towns take it on. Even if they all rejected it, they’d have had a conversation about it.”

With this campaign, Rural Vermont aims to build grassroots community support to enable legislators to take a stronger stand on tough agricultural issues, Kidd said. “We want to give legislators the political capital to make tougher decisions or address issues that aren’t being addressed now.”

Kidd introduced the food sovereignty campaign at the Growing Local Fest in Montpelier on September 10. Many attendees were supportive of the effort.

“This is an issue that unites left and right, because there is nothing more fundamental than feeding ourselves,” said Josh Schlossberg of East Montpelier. Rich Scharf of Duxbury agreed: “The decisions about what

Rural Vermont statement on the detention of migrant farm workers

Rural Vermont statement on the detention of two migrant farmworkers detained after traffic stop.

For immediate release: 09/21/11
Contact Person: Jared Carter (802) 223-7222,

Rural Vermont supports the right of all farmers to earn a decent living and support themselves and their families irrespective of where they are from or the color of their skin. “The recent detention of hard working migrant farmers runs counter to our vision of an agricultural system that celebrates our diversity and interdependence,” says Jared Carter, Executive Director of Rural Vermont. “As an organization dedicated to the goal of economic justice for farmers, we cannot pick and choose which farmers are worthy of that goal,” adds Carter. Rural Vermont stands ready to work with any and all toward our vision of economic justice for farmers and a vibrant local food system that nurtures people and animals with wholesome, natural products and supports thriving farms and communities.

Rural Vermont’s vision is for a Vermont local food system which is self-reliant and based on reverence for the earth. It builds living soils which nurture animals and people with wholesome, natural products, supporting healthy, thriving farms and communities. These communities in turn work to encourage and support current and future farmers, continuing our Vermont heritage.

Cheddar and Manchego Cheesemaking Class

October 7th at Pine Meadow Farm in Cornwall

Contact Person: Shelby Girard, (802) 223-7222,

Luscious and creamy Jersey raw milk being prepared for the cheesemaking process.

Rural Vermont has been hosting its Beyond Milk: Raw Dairy Processing Classes for several years now, and almost everyone who has attended has requested that hard cheeses be included in the offerings. Well, the time has come! On Friday, October 7th from 1-4 pm, join Rural Vermont and Lea Calderon-Guthe for a session about making cheddar and manchego from raw milk at Pine Meadow Farm in Cornwall.

The class will cover the basics of hard cheese making, demonstrate the process for cheddar and manchego, and include recipes and info about making other types of hard cheeses. Folks can also expect a tour of Pine Meadow Farm and raw milk will be available for purchase from the farm, so that participants can bring it home and start practicing their new cheesemaking skills right away!

All Vermonters know and love cheddar, but for those who aren’t as familiar with manchego, it is a Spanish cheese with a firm and compact consistency and a buttery texture, and often contains small, unevenly-distributed air pockets. The cheese has a distinctive flavor; it is well developed but not too strong, creamy with a slight piquancy.

The fee for the course is $20-40 sliding scale, and all proceeds will benefit Rural Vermont. Pre-registration is required and space is limited, so be in touch today to reserve your spot! For more information or to sign up, give Rural Vermont a call at (802) 223-7222 or email

Pine Meadow Farm is a family-run dairy farm that is home to a small herd of Jersey cows. Dave Rising, along with his wife Sharon and son Sean, care for their girls like family. Their rich and creamy raw milk feeds 20-30 families in and around Addison County, and they’re welcoming new customers!

Lea Calderon-Guthe is a Middlebury College student with a sincere interest in the art and science of cheesemaking. She has trained with, and worked under, Cindy West of the renowned Hillsborough Cheese Company in Orange County, North Carolina. She loves sharing her passion for cheesemaking with Vermonters!

09/12 Action Alert

In this Alert

Message from the Staff

Rural Vermont is pleased to announce that the Vermont Community Fund Farm Disaster Relief Grants are ready for distribution. If you are a farmer who has been impacted by the flooding, please do not delay in applying, the deadlines are September 19th and September 30th. Please click HERE for the application form.

Rural Vermont will be directly involved with distribution of these funds. Decisions will be made in consultation with representatives from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, NOFA-VT, Vermont Farm Bureau, Rural Vermont, Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, and University of Vermont Extension. Decisions will be made within one week of the application deadline and checks will be mailed within two weeks of the deadline.

If you were not impacted by the flood, please consider making a contribution to the VT Community Foundation Farm Disaster Relief Fund to help Vermont farmers who have suffered damages. Make your donation by clicking HERE, and scroll down to “VT Farm Disaster Relief.”

This week, Rural Vermont volunteers will be at the Intervale helping Arethusa Farm recoup after the flood. Please email to sign up for Rural Vermont’s Rapid Farm Response Brigades for Wednesday, September 14th at 9:30 am at Arethusa Farm in the Intervale in Burlington. If you’d like to join the Intervale Farm Brigade, you MUST sign up in advance. It’s very important, and therefore worth repeating, that volunteers must be registered in advance – please do not just show up! Confirmed volunteers will receive more details (what to bring, where to meet, etc.).

Also, anyone who would like to raise funds for farm relief efforts and volunteer, check out the Big E fair ( in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is seeking volunteers for this event. The contact at the Agency is Chelsea Lewis at, and there will be a donation area in the Vermont Building at the Big E . Over 1 million people, all of whom are familiar with the damage that Irene caused in Vermont and many who want to help the efforts to rebuild, will walk through this building between September 16th and October 2nd. Please email for more details.

In the meantime, Rural Vermont would also like to invite you to our upcoming events. This weekend is the 4th annual Tour de Farms! You can register to ride on the day of the event, and can find more details here. If cycling isn’t your fancy, visit the Rural Vermont Booth Thursday through Sunday at the famous Tunbridge World’s Fair! Stop by and get involved with our campaigns promoting local food sovereignty. If you’re a milk producer (or aspiring to be one) and have interest in the current raw milk law, come to New Village Farm in Shelburne for Rural Vermont’s Farmer to Farmer Workshop, details below. Hope to see everyone out and about and enjoying this beautiful fall weather.


Shelby, Robb and Mollie

ArtCall for Art!Rural Vermont will host its annual “Art for Agrarians” art auction fundraiser this fall, and we are now welcoming art donations that reflect Rural Vermont’s Vision for Food with Dignity! The deadline for submission is Friday, September 30th. Any media is acceptable, but we do ask that it is in final form (matted, framed or otherwise “hang-ready”). If you are an artist who would like to support Rural Vermont’s vision to build living soils, thriving farms, and healthy communities, please consider donating! For more info or to make arrangements, please contact our office at (802) 223-7222 or email
** this weekend !!! ** tdfThe 4th Annual Tour de Farms

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Shoreham Green, Addison County, VT

RAIN OR SHINEthe weather forecast is calling for beautiful biking weather – lots of sun and cool temps!

But don’t worry — you can register onsite at the Shoreham Green. There is no cap on the number of cyclists who can join in the fun!

day-of reg: $50 adults/$20 kids 12 & under, kids in trailers and bikeseats free!

The Tour de Farms is an annual event and collaboration among Rural Vermont, the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition, and ACORN (Addison County Relocalization Network). Choose between 30, 25, and 10 mile routes (staggered starts; see website for details) and take a leisurely bike ride that includes sampling at various farm stops along the way. The 2011 tour is sponsored by Earl’s Cyclery, Wolaver’s Organic Brewery, American Flatbread Middlebury, and Vermont Fresh Network. New this year – area restaurants Vergennes Laundry, Tourterelle, and Antidote prepare samples using local farmers’ goodies, and NOFA’s mobile pizza oven cooks & sells pizza to hungry cyclists! For more info, click here or email Shelby.

Tour de Farms
Check out this Youtube
video documenting the
2010 Tour de Farms!

Rural Vermont Events

Farmer2farmerFarmer to Farmer Workshop Series
From Cow (and Goat) to Customer: Producing Raw Milk for Direct Sale

Rural Vermont is hosting the final workshop of a series aimed to help current and aspiring raw milk farmers learn about the regulations governing the sale of raw milk, and provide an opportunity for folks to see them in practice on a successful raw milk micro dairy, while learning about animal care and microdairy management.

* THIS WEEKEND! Saturday, September 17th

11 am – 3 pm

New Village Farm, SHELBURNE

note: New Village milks both cows and goats!

$10 for Rural Vermont members, and $20 for all others (no one turned away for lack of funds). For more information click here. Pre-registration is highly recommended. Sign up by calling Rural Vermont at (802) 223-7222 or email Shelby.


Back-to-Back Raw Milk Webinars on Sept. 21

Two webinars hosted by UVM Extension New Farmer Project and the VT Pasture Program, moderated by Jenn Colby of the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Pasture Program. Rural Vermont’s comprehensive seller’s guide is available for download prior to the webinars.

* 11:30 am – 12:15 pm — 2011 Updates on Marketing and Selling Raw Milk in Vermont, presented by Rural Vermont director Jared Carter

* 12:30 – 1:15 pm — Best Management Practices for Raw Milk Handling, presented by Agency of Ag Dairy & Energy Chief Dan Scruton

Newcomers to online learning are welcome. All you need to participate is internet access and a computer that you can hear sound through.

To participate, please click here at about 11:15 am EST on September 21, 2011 and click on “Webinars” on the left-hand menu. For more information, contact or call 802-223-2389×203. If you require accommodations to participate in this program, please let Jessie Schmidt know by Sept. 14 at 802-223-2389 or 1-866-860-1382 (toll-free in VT) or

Creating Nutritious Food AND Feed, From the Soil Up
September 27, 4 -7 pm
Earthwise Farm & Forest, 341 MacIntosh Hill Road, BETHEL

Recommended donation of $10 to support Rural Vermont and Vermont Grass Farmers Association (no one turned away for lack of funds).

After having taken the Nutrient Dense Farming Crop Production Course offered through the Real Food Campaign, Rural Vermont Board Member Lisa McCrory applied what she had learned to her farm and has documented the results from pasture and vegetable plots, and maintained records of applications and all expenses in order to share that information with other farmers seeking to improve marginal lands on a budget. Supported by the VT Farm Women’s Fund and USDA Risk Management. For more info, Jenn Colby, (802) 656-0858,

You’ve been asking for hard cheeses … here they

* Cheddar & Manchego with Lea Calderon-Guthe
Friday, October 7th / 1-4 pm
Pine Meadow Farm, CORNWALL

Fall schedule coming soon! All classes require advance registration and space is limited. $20-$40 sliding scale. All proceeds benefit Rural Vermont.
To sign up OR to host/teach a class, contact Shelby at (802) 223-7222 or email

Activist and Volunteer Needs

Tour de Farms event support this Sunday Sept 18th- Just a few open spots left for volunteers! Have fun, help out and get a free event tee! This highly successful event reaches out to lots of people and gets more exciting every year. Help with registration, parking or assisting the farmers along the routes.

Tunbridge Fair Table Support-Friday Sept 16th & Sat Sept 17th- Join us at the exciting Tunbridge World’s Fair! Tablers needed to engage fair goers with Rural Vermont campaigns! Your help is greatly appreciated. A few time slots are still needed.

THIS WEEK OFFICE HELP- Rural Vermont is busy with a lot of events this week and could really use your help in the office! Can you donate some time at the Rural Vermont office this Thursday to help with a variety of tasks?

Farm Relief- Rural Vermont is coordinating with different farms about getting volunteers to join our Rapid Response Brigades to assist in the recovery process. Contact us to help out in your community today!

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! **

The Cornucopia Institute: Dust Flying in Countryside Over USDA Animal ID Proposal

August 31st, 2011
Farmers and Ranchers Appeal to Vilsack for Adequate Time to Respond
Full Article

Austin, TX:  Forty-nine advocacy groups representing the interests of family farmers, ranchers, and consumers have formally requested that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack extend the public comment period for a controversial new proposal that would require livestock producers in the U.S. to incur significant expense tracking animals that cross state lines.  The comment period on the proposed, “Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate,” is scheduled to end on November 9, and the organizations have requested an additional 60 days.

“The period for public comment coincides with the fall harvest and comes during the worst drought ever recorded in some major livestock production regions,” said Judith McGeary, Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance and vice-chair of the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health.  “Our farmers and ranchers are struggling to get their crops in and save their animals, and they need more time to assess the impacts of the proposed rule.”

The groups’ letter to Secretary Vilsack pointed out that many farmers and ranchers are not online, slowing the speed of communication.  “According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, more than 40% of farms do not have internet access,” they noted in the letter.

“We have a significant number of Amish and Mennonite members who can only be contacted by mail or through print publications,” explained Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.  “They, in turn, will have to mail their comments to USDA.  If the agency actually wants to hear from these livestock owners, it needs to extend the comment period.”

Some groups have questioned the agency’s willingness to respond to producers’ concerns.

“A coalition of cattle groups presented USDA with a reasonable plan for cattle identification, but the agency persists in proposing unworkable rules,” contends R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.  “The least the agency can do is extend the comment period so that the cattlemen can comment on the proposal when they’re not in the middle of the calf-weaning and shipping seasons.”

The proposal has raised concerns about the economic impacts on both livestock producers and related businesses.

Gilles Stockton, a member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils said, “It will take a significant amount of time to pencil out the true costs of this proposal.  Livestock producers, sale barns, and states deserve adequate time to figure these costs and give comment.”