Author Archives: Mollie

02/04 Food Sovereignty: Growing a Vibrant Local Food System Town-by-Town

Note Date Change!
Grange Hall, Northfield Street – Route 12 just south of Montpelier (physical address: 6612 Vt. Rt 12, Berlin)
5:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public, potluck to follow.

Food Sovereignty: Growing a Vibrant Local Food System Town-by-Town

Robb Kidd, Organizer for Rural Vermont, will discuss the Town-by-Town Local Food Sovereignty Campaign whose goal is to remove barriers to production, processing, sale, and purchase of local foods.

Sponsor: Capital City Grange
Contact: Marjorie Power 802-229-0782


AgrAbility

AgrAbility is a nationwide program designed to help farmers, and their family members, remain in agriculture when facing limitations due to aging, disease, injury, illness or other disability.

AgrAbility helps farmers remain productive in agriculture by making it easier or more comfortable to perform daily tasks. AgrAbility specialists analyze each situation and recommend practical solutions to address everyday challenges faced by agriculturalists. More info at http://www.vcil.org/services/agrability


12/16 Homegrown Potluck & Kitchen Table Conversation

6 pm
rsvp for address, WEST TOWNSHEND 

As part of its food sovereignty campaign, Rural Vermont continues its new series highlighting the traditional foods and connections that make each Vermont community unique. On Friday December 16th at 6 pm in West Townshend, 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 West Townshend 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 W. Townshend community’s food system, identify how and where opportunity for improvement exists, 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.


CBS: Maine farmer caught in local-state permit conflict

November 17, 2011
Full Article

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine farmer is headed for a legal showdown for ignoring state law and following a local ordinance that exempts farmers from state and federal regulations if they sell their products directly to consumers.

Dan Brown, owner of Gravelwood Farm in Blue Hill, was issued a three-count civil summons last week for selling milk and other food products without state licenses from his farm stand and at farmers’ markets.

Blue Hill is one of five towns where voters passed local ordinances this year allowing small-scale farmers like Brown to bypass state and federal regulations on foods sold directly to consumers. The attorney general’s office has issued an opinion stating the local laws were pre-empted by state and federal laws, thereby making them invalid.

Brown is the first farmer in those communities who’s been cited for not following state agriculture laws since the local ordinances passed, said Bob St. Peter, who owns a farm in Sedgwick and heads a group called Food for Maine’s Future, which advocates local food control. The outcome of Brown’s case likely will set a precedent on the legality of the local ordinances, he said.

“I think if Dan loses this suit and the state is able to require licenses from him, then anybody in our ordinance towns will be forced to comply,” St. Peter said. “That’s a concern to people.”

Brown declined comment Wednesday, saying he needs to hire a lawyer first. But he’s put a video on Facebook and YouTube in which he said he’s been selling milk and other products without a license for a couple of years — even before the local ordinance was passed in Blue Hill — without any problems.

“I didn’t change what I was doing,” Brown says in the video. “They changed the rules.”

Whitcomb’s office has been swamped with hundreds of emails from Maine and beyond the past two days, he said. Most emails have asked that the matter against Brown be dropped, with some people applauding the state for stepping in.

Maine has hundreds of small family farms that grow fruits and vegetables, raise cattle, sheep and pigs, and process food products such as strawberry jam, cheese and baked goods. They typically sell their food products at farm stands, from their farmhouses or at farmers’ markets.

Besides Blue Hill, townspeople in Penobscot, Sedgwick, Trenton and Hope passed ordinances this year exempting farmers from state and federal regulations as long as they’re selling their products directly to consumers.

Officials delivered a summons to Brown last week alleging he was in violation of Maine agriculture laws by selling milk and other foods at farmers’ markets and his farm stand without the necessary state licenses. It also said he was illegally selling unpasteurized milk in a container that wasn’t labeled as such. He faces a fine of up to $500 for each violation.

Supporters of the local ordinances say existing regulations are burdensome and cost-prohibitive, and that family farmers and food processors don’t pose a significant public health risk. A rally is planned on Brown’s behalf Friday in Blue Hill, and supporters have launched a letter-writing campaign urging people to write Whitcomb and Gov. Paul LePage asking that the lawsuit against Brown be dropped and that Blue Hill’s local ordinance be respected.

Organizations that work on issues affecting family farms say they’re aware of a small number of towns and counties in California, Washington and Arizona that have passed resolutions or ordinances aimed at streamlining the regulatory process for small-scale farmers and food producers.

The goal is to make it easier for farmers to sell food to their neighbors, while giving the public more access to locally grown foods, said Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

“But as far as passing ordinances, Maine is farther along than other states,” he said.


11/17 Update & Alert

In this Alert
* Food Sovereignty Solidarity
* “Art for Agrarians” Art Auction
* Rural Vermont Events
* Activist and Volunteer Needs

Dear Friends,

As you may recall, last spring Rural Vermont invited Maine farmer and activist Bob St. Peter to keynote our annual meeting and talk about the organizing efforts in passing Local Food and Self Governance Ordinances in the communities of Sedgwick and Blue Hill, Maine. Following their example, Rural Vermont embarked on a Vermont-based local food sovereignty campaign. Now, months after celebrating these communities’ actions, Maine’s Department of Agriculture is suing small farmers for following the ordinances adopted by their local communities. To show solidarity with farmers in Maine, you can join Rural Vermont and declare your own town’s local food sovereignty.

Back in March, the town of Blue Hill passed the “Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance” to legally authorize community-based farmers to distribute their products amongst their neighbors without meeting costly federal regulations. Just like Vermont, Maine faces overreaching federal regulations that prohibit local sourcing of food, and these Maine communities took it upon themselves to act. However, shortly after the Maine communities passed their ordinances, Maine’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Walter Whitcomb, informed them that state and federal laws pre-empted the rights of their local communities. Instead of cow-towing to these threats, communities and farmers continued to provide locally sourced products in conformance with the community-based ordinances. The following is an excerpt from the Local Food Local Rules press release on the issue:

“On Wednesday, November 9, Dan Brown, a family farmer in Blue Hill, Maine, was served a summons to answer three charges being filed against him by the State of Maine and Commissioner Whitcomb. The charges all stem from his selling food without licenses…The safety or quality of Farmer Dan Brown’s food is not being questioned. What is being questioned, or rather challenged, is the right of the citizens of Blue Hill to operate in this manner.” (click here for details).

Rural Vermont encourages you to show your solidarity with Farmer Brown by:

1. Declaring your town’s local food sovereignty (for more info, contact robb@ruralvermont.org).

2. Spreading this message to friends and family (especially in Maine) and encourage them to contact Maine’s Governor at 207-287-3531, 888-577-6690, or governor@maine.gov.

3. Joining the “We Are All Farmer Brown,” movement on Facebook.

We hope our combined efforts will allow us to realize local food sovereignty and that bold actions taken by communities throughout Vermont will turn the tide and allow us to fully embrace our local food systems.

Finally, please see our upcoming events section below for information about local food sovereignty events, as well as our very important fundraisers, including this Sunday’s Storytelling event in Chester with Annie Hawkins and our 3rd annual “Art for Agrarians” Online Art Auction, open through Dec 9th. We hope to see you at a Rural Vermont event soon and please be sure to stay in touch.

Best,

Rural Vermont Staff

P.S. Rural Vermont is seeking a new director! If you or anyone you know is interested in applying for the directorship, learn more about the position and how to apply HERE. Application deadline is November 22nd.

NOW OPEN!! RURAL VERMONT’S 3rd ANNUAL “ART FOR AGRARIANS” ONLINE ART AUCTION

Mon, October 24th – Fri, December 9th at 5pm

There’s only a few weeks left for Rural Vermont’s “Art for Agrarians” auction! If you haven’t checked it out yet, make it a priority to take a look. You’ll see 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 you can come preview all of the artwork live and bid onsite at the following locations:

* Capital City Thanksgiving Farmers’ Market: Saturday, November 19th, 10 am – 2 pm, MONTPELIER High School (look for us in the lobby)
* After the Flood: Stories of Heart & Hope: Sunday, November 20th, 7 pm, the Songyard, CHESTER (“art gallery” reception following the performance)
* Burlington Farmers’ Market: Saturday, December 3rd, 10 am – 2 pm, Memorial Auditorium, BURLINGTON (look for us in the lobby)

All auction proceeds benefit Rural Vermont.

Events
Rural Vermont Events

*** HOMEGROWN POTLUCK & KITCHEN TABLE CONVERSATION

TONIGHT!! Thursday, November 17th at 6 pm
rsvp for exact location, NEWBURY

JUST ADDED!! Friday, December 16th at 6pm

RSVP for exact location, WEST TOWNSHEND

Visit this page for more information.

* More dates and locations coming soon.

*** THIS WEEKEND!! AFTER THE FLOOD: STORIES OF HEART & HOPE WITH STORYTELLER ANNIE HAWKINS

Sunday, November 20th at 7 pm

the Songyard, 295 Main St. (above Moon Dog Cafe), on the green in CHESTER

We’re counting down to one of Rural Vermont’s favorite events of the year! Once again, we are 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 past generations and distant cultures that speak to the resiliency, perseverance, kindness and courage that Vermonters displayed in the aftermath of the floods. Come early and grab a hot drink and tasty treat from the Moon Dog Cafe (extending their hours til 7 pm on this special day) and stay late for a coffee and cake reception after the performance — meet Annie, check out the “Art for Agrarians” gallery, and buy your farmer flood relief tee. Event most appropriate for adults and older children. $5-$10 sliding scale – all proceeds benefit Rural Vermont. Visit this page for more information.

*** BEYOND MILK: RAW DAIRY PROCESSING ! Farmhouse Cheddar Curds, Mozzarella, Yogurt & Butter

Wednesday, December 7th from 1 – 4 pm

Apple Ledge Farm, COVENTRY

SOLD OUT! but there’s good news …

Due to an overwhelming initial response, this class will be repeated the following Wednesday, December 14th!

Farmhouse Cheddar Curds, Mozzarella, Yogurt & Butter

Wednesday, December 14th from 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.

STILL 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. We’ve got a specific need for teachers in the counties of LAMOILLE and ADDISON/RUTLAND!

*** GROWING LOCAL FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
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.
Volunteer
Volunteer and Activist Needs

Phone Callers and Activist Leaders-The Vermont Legislature will soon be back in session, which means we may need to rely on your help making phone calls to engage others into action. We will also be looking for activists to testify at hearings and other events. Please contact Robb to learn how you can play a role in ensuring the success of Rural Vermont’s campaigns and supporting family farmers.

Local Food Sovereignty Campaign – As we gear up the local food sovereignty campaign, we need your help gathering signatures to place local food soveignty articles on Town Meeting Day ballots. Contact Robb for petitions or information to get an article on your Town Meeting Day agenda.

Winter Conferences-We need volunteers at these upcoming winter conferences! The Vermont Grass Farmers Association (Jan 20-21) and NOFA-VT (Feb 11-13). Are you already registered for next year’s conferences ? Please volunteer to help Rural Vermont with our informational and activist tables at these busy events. If you will be available on any of those days, email Robb to volunteer for a time slot.

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! **


Local Food Local Rules: We Are All Farmer Brown

November 13, 2011
Full Article

On Wednesday, November 9, Dan Brown, owner of Gravelwood Farm in Blue Hill, Maine, was served notice that he is being sued by the State of Maine for selling food and milk without State licenses. Blue Hill is one of five Maine towns to have passed the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance, a local law that permits the types of sales Brown was engaged in. By filing the lawsuit, the State of Maine and Walter Whitcomb, Maine Agricultural Commissioner, are disregarding the Local Food and Community Self-Governance passed nearly unanimously by the citizens of Blue Hill at their town meeting on April 4. Residents of Blue Hill will be attending the Selectmen’s meeting on Friday, November 18 to enforce the provisions of the Ordinance. The Blue Hill residents will be instructing the Town of Blue Hill to send a letter to the Maine Department of Agriculture requesting the State withdraw the lawsuit and recognize the authority of the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance.

A rally and press conference will take place Friday at the Blue Hill Town Hall. Details about this event and schedule for press calls will be released Monday, November 14.


Capital News Service: Raw Milk Advocates Protest Outside FDA (Poll)

November 4, 2011
By Brandon Cooper
Capital News Service
Full Article

SILVER SPRING—A group of Maryland moms served raw milk and cookies in front of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters on Tuesday, urging the agency to drop its longstanding ban on selling unpasteurized milk across state lines.

The group of about 15 mothers and other supporters—calling themselves the “Raw Milk Freedom Riders”—purchased raw milk from a Pennsylvania farm and caravanned to Silver Spring to protest the ban.

The mothers were protesting a 1987 regulation issued by the FDA that prohibits the transportation of raw milk across state lines in order to sell it.

But raw milk tastes better than pasteurized milk and has health benefits for children, said Liz Reitzig, a mother and co-founder of the Farm Food Freedom Coalition, which sponsored the protest.

“The [FDA] is undermining our authority as parents,” she said.

While the interstate sale of raw milk is illegal, the sale of it within each state varies. According to the FDA, 20 states prohibit raw milk sales, while 30 allow it in some form. The sale of raw milk is legal in Pennsylvania, but not in Maryland.

At FDA headquarters on Tuesday, protesters welcomed the caravan with chants like “Hey, hey, FDA! Raw milk is here to stay!”

As police looked on, protesters maintained that transporting milk from Pennsylvania to Maryland and serving it for free was illegal. They held signs that said, “I drink raw milk. Arrest me!”

An FDA spokesperson said the agency defines “interstate commerce” to include both the sale of raw milk and giving it away for free. But there were no arrests made Tuesday.

The protesters gathered around Sally Fallon Morell, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit nutrition organization, who spoke about the importance of raw milk was to children’s health.

“Our children need this milk,” Fallon Morell said. “We can’t go on with another generation eating industrial foods.”

Joel Salatin, a leading advocate of sustainable farming and the owner of Virginia’s Polyface Farms, told protesters that individuals—not the government—should be able to choose to drink raw milk.


Daily Breeze: Foodies push for homemade food sales law in California

By Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, The Associated Press
11/05/2011
Full Article

Mark Stambler’s handcrafted bread was a favorite at Los Angeles specialty food shops until public health officials cracked down on the crusty loaves leavened in his garage and baked in a wood-burning oven in his backyard.

The home-baked operation ran afoul of strict food preparation laws that prevent Californians from selling homemade goods.

Foodies are fighting back with so-called cottage food laws. At least 30 states now have laws that allow sales of home-made goods – about half passed since the Great Recession began in 2007.

Stambler is now looking for a lawmaker to introduce a bill next year that would allow cash-strapped California residents to make a little scratch from scratch cooking. Currently, even bake sales are illegal here unless they benefit a charity.

By comparison, homemade foods have a $100 million impact on the economy of West Virginia, a state with fewer than 2 million residents and high poverty rates, said Buddy Davidson, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture. The state even teaches home chefs how to market everything from pumpkin butter to baking mixes.

Said Janelle Orsi, a lawyer with Oakland, Calif.-based Sustainable Economies Law Center, “With a really high unemployment rate it’s kind of impractical to assume that people will eventually just find jobs and it’s important for communities and individuals to be able to take their livelihoods into their own hands.”

Orsi is working with Stambler on a more permissive cottage food law for California that would allow casual cooks and aspiring pros to sell shelf-stable homemade goods like breads, cookies, cakes, jams, candy, granola, coffee, tea and baking mixes.

California’s law would be modeled after an Ohio law, Orsi said, which allows chefs the freedom to succeed because there is no cap on how much someone can make off their ventures. Michigan, in contrast, imposes a $15,000 annual limit.

Standing in the way of this commerce now are long-standing public health and food preparation regulations that require permits, inspections and stringent sanitary standards.

Clean hands, hair nets (or hats) and vermin control measures are some of the obvious rules to prevent food contamination and illness. Commercial kitchens are required to have stainless steel food preparation surfaces, easily cleanable equipment and nonporous floors, walls and ceilings.

Current regulations force wanna-be bakers and chefs to go through a rigorous approval process and use commercial kitchens, which rent for as much as $75 an hour, said Iso Rabins, a local food advocate. That’s money that could be spent on the finest ingredients.

“I’ve worked in restaurants most my life and restaurant kitchens are generally far dirtier than any home kitchen you’ll encounter – some are clean, but a lot are disgusting,” Rabins said.

Rabins is a founder of ForageSF, a group that circumvented state laws by billing its Underground Market event in San Francisco as a club. The $5 admission was considered a membership fee to purchase from food entrepreneurs who didn’t go through the permitting process required of other retailers.

It drew 50,000 visitors before health officials shut it down in June and issued a cease and desist order, though Rabins still hopes to open it again.

Others have skirted the law with food swaps – no money changing hands means no enforcement. Home chefs in Los Angeles and San Francisco barter jars, bottles and other individually packaged foods with each other.

The gatherings first gained popularity in Brooklyn, N.Y., with a group called BK Swappers, where co-organizer Jane Lerner says she’s never heard of someone getting sick from any of the food swaps, which are held in cities all over the country including Minneapolis, Austin, Seattle and Detroit.

“The crux of the event is to admire the food you see and then meet people who made it,” said Lerner. The dishes tend to be brag-worthy, carefully prepared and unique – like spicy mango pickles or homemade Italian cookies.

“There is definitely an element of showoff happening, but it’s very friendly and sweet.”

Many of those who try to sell homemade food as a sideline hope to make it a career.


11/10 Alert

In this Alert
Share Your Story

Dear Friends,

As you know, Rural Vermont has been working on the issue of Farm Fresh Meat and on-farm slaughter for several years now.  After successfully advocating for passage of Act 207 in 2008, “The On-Farm Slaughter bill,” an act that allows for consumers to contract with a farmer to raise animals and slaughter directly on the farm (without expensive facilities), we have been continuously working to see that the on-farm slaughter law becomes an effective model of what is possible when farmers, consumers and activists come together to promote real change.

In light of our frustration over moving this issue forward, we have decided it is time to engage you in a conversation that will hopefully move us toward a satisfactory resolution of the on-farm slaughter issue.  To that end, we are asking that you help by providing us with stories about your experiences with locally raised and on-farm slaughtered meat.  We believe that by compiling your stories and providing them to key policy makers in Vermont, we can have a real impact on the state level policy discussion of on-farm slaughter.

Maybe you have tried to purchase meat from a farm and have been told it is illegal, maybe you are a farmer who would like to provide farm-slaughtered meat to your neighbors, or maybe you are a new farmer trying to develop your farm business.  Whatever your story is, Rural Vermont wants to hear it as we attempt to move the ball forward on this vital policy issue. Please let us know if you have a story to tell or an opinion to voice.  We will work to amplify your voice with state policy makers!

By demonstrating that there is a widespread concern for this issue on the part of farmers and consumers alike, we will be successful in jump-starting our effort to bring the economic opportunity of locally raised on-farm slaughtered meat to the struggling agricultural community.

Please consider helping by providing Rural Vermont with your on-farm slaughter story, whatever it may be. Stories can be emailed to robb@ruralvermont.org or mailed to Rural Vermont, 15 Barre St, Suite 2, Montpelier, VT 05602. Please get your stories to us by Tuesday, November 15th.

Thank you, we look forward to hearing from you all.

Sincerely,

The Staff at Rural Vermont

ArtNOW OPEN!! RURAL VERMONT’S 3rd ANNUAL“ART FOR AGRARIANS” ONLINE ART AUCTION

Mon, October 24th – Fri, 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 Nov 19th, at the Storytelling Benefit at the Songyard in Chester on Nov 20th, and (*just added!*) at the Burlington Farmers’ Market on Dec 3rd. All auction proceeds benefit Rural Vermont.

Events

Rural Vermont Events

BEYOND MILK: RAW DAIRY PROCESSING !

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.  We’ve got a specific need for teachers in the counties of LAMOILLE and ADDISON/RUTLAND!

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.

Visit this page for more information.

* More dates and locations coming soon.

 storyAFTER THE FLOOD: STORIES OF HEART & HOPE

WITH STORYTELLER ANNIE HAWKINS

Sunday, NOVEMBER 20 at 7 pm

the Songyard, 295 Main St., on the green in 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 past generations and distant cultures that speak to the resiliency, perseverance, kindness and courage that Vermonters displayed in the aftermath of the floods. Coffee and cake reception will follow — meet Annie, check out the “Art for Agrarians” gallery, and buy your farmer flood relief tee. Event most appropriate for adults and older children. $5-$10 sliding scale – all proceeds benefit Rural Vermont.  Visit this page for more information.        

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. Email robb@ruralvermont.org for more information.

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

Volunteer

Volunteer and Activist Needs  

Baking and event support for the Chester Storytelling EventWe have a few tasks that we could use your help with in support of this annual fundraiser. We need volunteers to bake some yummy treats, put up posters, and assist us on the day of the event. 

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 Robb for petitions or information to get an article on your Town Meeting Day agenda.

Winter Conferences-Vermont Grass Farmers Association.(Jan 20-21), NOFA-VT,(Feb 11-13) Are you already registered for next year’s conferences ? Please volunteer to help Rural Vermont with our informational and activist tables at these busy events. If you will be available on any of those days, email Robbto volunteer for a time slot.
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! **

LobbyTraining: Vermont Lobbying & Communications Bootcamp
November 15,  9-3 pm,
Vermont Statehouse, Montpelier Vermont. 

Are you interested in learning how to become an effective advocate and how to influence policy in Vermont? Rural Vermont counts on activists to move our issues forward, and this is a great opportunity to learn the process or polish your skills before the 2012 legislative session begins.

Cost: $25.00

Click here for more details.

**Please note this is not a Rural Vermont event, the training is presented by Common Good Vermont and KSE Partners, LLP government affairs & strategic communications.**


Vermont Farm Viability Program

The Farm Viability Program has helped more than 350 farmers to increase profits, improve farm management, develop new, value-added products, and plan for farm transfers. Farmers are matched with consultants to provide individualized business assistance. The Program is also currently enrolling farmers to work on storm recovery plans. More information can be found online at www.vhcb.org/viability or by calling 802-828-3370.