Lessons from the Northeast Kingdom on local agriculture

While the USDA and the Obama administration are moving in the direction of doing more to help the local food movement, supporting industrial-scale agriculture remains a priority at the federal level. The financial and political clout of agribusiness in Washington ensures that.

However, as with so many other public policy issues, the most support for local agriculture is at the levels of local and state government.

At his Vermont News Guy site, Jon Margolis reports on the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (www.vsjf.org). The fund, created by the state legislature, is about to release a draft proposal on what the farm and food sector in the state might look like in 10 years.

This report is part of VSJF’s Farm to Plate Initiative, which collected input from more than 1,000 Vermonters over the past year at eight regional summits, 24 focus groups, a statewide summit, and six day-long working sessions.

According to the VSJF website, the goal is “to create a strategic plan for agricultural economic development to achieve the overarching goals of strengthening our local food system and stimulating economic development in Vermont’s farm and food sector.” …

According to the VSJF, jobs throughout the entire Vermont food system represent 20 percent — or 54,334 — of all private-sector jobs and are connected to 31 percent — or 9,166 — of all private establishments.

Consumers are more and more interested in knowing where their food came from and  in supporting the people who made it. This interest in producing and consuming locally grown food has made local agriculture more economically viable.

The story of Hardwick, the little town in the Northeast Kingdom  has become a national example of how local food can revive a struggling economy.

(Full Article) http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site02/story.php?articleno=1942&page=2

Vermont native affairs panel seeks new members

Written by ASSOCIATED PRESSWednesday, 28 July 2010 11:42

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – Vermont’s commission on Native American Affairs is seeking nine new members.
A new state law that sets up a process for state recognition of Native American tribes also has revised the makeup of the commission and expanded it from seven to nine members.
Gov. Jim Douglas’ office says he’ll be appointing nine new members to the commission by Sept. 1, provided that a sufficient number of qualified candidates have submitted applications to the governor.
The new law requires that eligible applicants must have lived in Vermont for a minimum of three years and that appointments should reflect a diversity of affiliations and geographic locations in Vermont.


Vermont Resort Cuts Carbon Footprint with ‘Cow Power’

The Equinox resort will eliminate about 212 metric tonnes of carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions through its partnership with theCentral Vermont Public Service’s “Cow Power” program, which promotes the development of renewable energy in Vermont generated from cow manure.

As the only large resort in Vermont to be a part of CVPS Cow Power program, both the Equinox’s 1811 House and Cottage will be powered by cow manure. The cows will be located at a local farm and the electricity will be imported by the resort as needed for electricity requirements.

One cow’s waste can produce enough electricity to light two 100-watt light bulbs 24 hours a day. It will take approximately 62 cows to meet the electricity needs of these two Inns of The Equinox.

(full article) http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/07/28/vermont-resort-cuts-carbon-footprint-with-cow-power/

Gov: Conn. funding likely for high-speed rail

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS July 27, 2010, 11:26AM ET

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell says $260 million in state funding to upgrade train service from New Haven to Springfield, Mass., is expected to win approval from the state Bond Commission next month.

The state funding would nearly match a request for $220 million in federal money for the project. Connecticut is working with Massachusetts and Vermont to establish high-speed rail service in the region.

Rell said at a news conference Tuesday at the Wallingford train station that high-speed trains from New Haven to Springfield are expected to reduce traffic on Interstate 91 and spur economic development.

The project is part of a multibillion-dollar national initiative kicked off by President Barack Obama.

A public meeting on the project is scheduled for Thursday in Hartford.

High-speed rail meeting in Hartford Thursday‎ – Brattleboro Reformer

The ObamaCare tax on your existence

McClaughry: The ObamaCare tax on your existence

ObamaCare mandates that by 2014 almost every American must prove to the IRS
that he or she is enrolled in a government-approved health plan. Absent that
proof, the IRS will hound the luckless citizen for a "penalty" of 2.5 percent of
his or her income (by 2016), or $695 a year, whichever is greater.

Evslin: The end of the age of incentives

Whether you think government incentives are essential to guiding private
choices, think that they are a complete waste of time and often misguided, or
are somewhere in the middle, it’s time to consider life with less incentives.
Without government incentives, people and businesses are probably just going to
do what makes economic sense to them. That won’t be all bad.

Maude Barlow – Thursday, July 29, 2010

As you know, clean, plentiful water supplies are essential to our lives and our livelihoods  — in Vermont and around the world. Yet, globally, fresh water is threatened by pollution, depletion and privatization. 

Next Thursday, find out how when Maude Barlow — expert, author, activist, and former U.N. special advisor on water — will provide eye-opening insight on this pressing issue. 

When: Thursday, July 29, 2010 

    Reception: 5:30-6:30 p.m. 
    Maude Barlow Presentation and Discussion: 
6:30-8:00 p.m.

Where: Main Street Landing Film House and Lake Lobby 

For more information, visit www.vnrc.org or call 802-223-2328. 

Vermont Natural Resources Council9 Bailey Avenue * Montpelier, VT 05602http://www.vnrc.orgTo unsubscribe: email alert@vnrc.org with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

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VPIRG’s working hard to reform chemcial policy

VPIRG’s working hard to reform chemcial policy here in Vermont, winning victories and banning chemicals like BPA, phthalates, lead and DECA, but we need reform at the federal level too, so that all families are protected.

Please take one more moment and ask the Vermont delegation to support the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act. We need to ensure all chemicals (new and old alike) used in products will be safe, use 21st century science to assess a chemical’s safety and take immediate action to stop the most dangerous toxic chemicals from entering our lives.

To take action visit: http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5980/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2099

The Flashbulb Institute for urban technology

This is a great organization! Check out their web site, sign up for a course:  


(about) The Flashbulb is a Burlington, Vermont based job training and skill building program to move towards ecologically sound, community based, local economies.

This school was started in 2009 based on the idea that YOU are responsible for the people, circumstance, and ultimately the reality that surrounds you. We want to live in a world, nation, state, neighborhood, where each individual can fully take care of themselves, and better yet, can take care of and help the people and life around them.

To this end, we are offering courses that enable people to be more autonomous, ambitious, independent, and ultimately happier. We hope you join us.

Vermont activists want EPA to take lead on wastewater cleanup

By Louis Porter
Vermont Press Bureau – Published: July 23, 2010

MONTPELIER — Saying the state is still not doing enough to enforce the Federal Clean Water Act, an environmental group renewed its push Wednesday for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take over that job.

If the EPA agrees, and that decision may be some time off, it could have a significant effect on large farms, municipal wastewater plants and on the state’s Agency of Natural Resources that now has that authority. If EPA does not act soon, his organization may file a federal lawsuit to force it to, said Chris Kilian, head of the environmental law nonprofit in Vermont

“The reality is the pollution problems are continuing,” Kilian said. “There has really been no change in the intervening two years on the enforcement issues.”

(full article)


movie presentation: “Tapped” showing in Brattleboro!

The Vermont Natural Resources Council and Food & Water Watch present an encore screening of the acclaimed documentary Tapped in Brattleboro.

The  documentary “Tapped” from the producers of “Who Killed the Electric Car” and “I.O.U.S.A” will be shown at the Hooker Dunham Theater in downtown Brattleboro, Wednesday July 21st at 6:30 PM. The event is free and open to the public. The screening is co-sponsored by VNRC and Food & Water Watch.

Stephanie Soechtig’s debut feature is an unflinching examination of the big business of bottled water. The film asks the question: Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce? This timely documentary is a behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never to become a commodity: our water.

For more information, contact VNRC at 802-223-2328 or visit the website atwww.vnrc.org. Come to the Brattleboro premiere – and don’t forget to bring your friends!

CLF gives proof of Entergy’s inadequate response to Vermont Yankee leaks in new testimony

July 6th, 2010 by Claire Morgenstern

In new testimony filed last Friday, CLF offered proof from two experts that Entergy’s inadequate monitoring and prevention measures at Vermont Yankee have allowed unlawful contamination of groundwater and the environment. Moreover, the testimony shows that Entergy knew about the potential for leaks years before they occurred and is failing now to take steps to prevent leaks and clean up the site.

The testimony’s bottom line? You guessed it. Shut down the plant.

From CLF attorney Sandra Levine:

“Entergy’s response to the leaks is too little and too late. The continued contamination of groundwater and the Connecticut River must stop.  Entergy is shortchanging Vermont and leaving an expensive hazardous waste site to clean up in the future.”

Full Article – http://www.clf.org/blog/uncategorized/clf-gives-proof-of-entergys-inadequate-response-to-vermont-yankee-leaks-in-new-testimony/