In this Alert
* Food Sovereignty Solidarity
* “Art for Agrarians” Art Auction
* Rural Vermont Events
* Activist and Volunteer Needs
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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! **