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2018 year in review

GREETINGS FRIENDS AND MEMBERS OF RURAL VERMONT:

At Rural Vermont, we believe that Vermont is stronger when we live and work in solidarity with one another. That’s exactly why we devoted much of the past year to strengthening the relationships that are essential to cultivating local agricultural and food systems that nourish the very communities in which they are nested. We also believe that every Vermonter deserves access to locally-produced, nutrient dense food, and that every Vermont farmer deserves equal right to prosper. And we believe that every Vermont community should (and can!) be economically vibrant, ecologically sound, and embracing of all.

Our work towards these goals cannot be accomplished in isolation, nor without the support of you, our many hundreds of members, private donors, and the philanthropic foundations that make our work possible. It is truly humbling (and heart warming!) to realize the breadth, depth, and commitment of this network of support. Thank you, one and all. We are deeply grateful for your faith in us.

As we embark on our 35th year, we at Rural Vermont are more committed, energized, and flat-out excited than ever. We are steadily growing our capacity, continuing to forge new alliances and strengthen existing ones, and maintaining our steadfast presence in the State House. We plan to be present in communities throughout the state. Wherever we go, we will be sure our constituents’ voices are heard, and we will keep our ears open, because we know that listening is perhaps the most critical aspect of our work. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments, or feedback. And once again, thank you so, so much for your support.

Onward,

The Staff and Board of Rural Vermont

Photo Credit: Suzanne Long, Luna Bleu Farm

Photo Credit: Suzanne Long, Luna Bleu Farm

highlights from our 2018 community organizing and events:

highlights from our 2018 coalition work:

Highlights from our 2018 Legislative session:

  • Collaboration with a diversity of organizations and sectors to pass the Agricultural Enterprise Bill, a bill to provide statewide consistency in how accessory on-farm businesses are regulated by municipalities giving farmers more opportunities to develop additional income for their farms.

  • Advocated to create the Hemp Pilot Program, an opportunity to participate in research on cultivating, harvesting, processing and marketing hemp.

  • Support of the passage of the Right to Forestry legislation, which provides some basic protection from nuisance lawsuits for small-scale, non-permanent legal forestry operations.

  • Organizing the VT AG’s office to respond to the proposed Bayer / Monsanto Merger

  • Collected 250 surveys on Rural Vermont’s policy priorities for the 2019 Legislative Session. Read the results here.

  • Collected 114 surveys sent to Vermont’s registered hemp producers and all the folks in the Rural Vermont database who have identified themselves as interested in hemp. Read the results here.


Snapshots from the Field:

Rural Vermont is a key partner and member of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network. As the lead of the Farmland Access and Stewardship Working Group, [Rural Vermont/Graham] has helped the group dig deeper into the intersection of farm viability and environmental sustainability. Both within and beyond the Working Group, Rural Vermont is a constant advocate for economic justice and an invaluable source of information on cross-cutting issues.
— Sarah Danly, Network Manager, Vermont Farm to Plate

Rural Vermont has been dedicated over the long haul to bringing hemp agriculture to the state. When I think of the work that RV has done to move the dial on hemp in Vermont, persistence is the first thing that comes to mind.  Their consistent outreach, education and policy efforts have helped raise the voice of Vermont’s independent farmers into action and positive change. We would not have the opportunities with hemp we have today had it not been for Rural Vermont’s leadership.
— Netaka White, Hemp Entrepreneur
The Farm Between hosted a farm tour, pesticide information panel, and the NOFA pizza oven in the fall of 2018. We shared our no-spray regenerative organic fruit farm practices for about an hour. It’s great that Rural Vermont puts together these types of events around the state to bring people together to share ideas about the future of agriculture.
— Nancy Hayden, The Farm Between
Photo Credit: Cat Buxton

Photo Credit: Cat Buxton


And finally, did you know…

  • We had 13 Partner Members in 2018! Read more about our Partner Member program here!

  • We sold 236 Make America Graze Again Stickers that went to 24 states and Canada. Need one? Check out our Merchandise page here!

  • 59% of Rural Vermont's 2018 income came from our members and donations. Want to support us? Donate here.

  • Our 2018 Annual Meeting & Celebration hosted Rural Vermont members in Dummerston and celebrated the beloved and late Enid Wonnacott with the Jack Star Award for her many contributions to the Vermont agricultural community!Thank you, Enid!

Photo Credit: Shelby Girard

Photo Credit: Shelby Girard