From Rural Vermont –


In an eighty-four page decision issued late on Monday April 28th, Federal District Court Judge Christina Reiss denied the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association’s motion for an injunction to block Vermont’s GMO labeling law from being implemented. Although she also denied the State of Vermont’s motion to dismiss the GMA’s lawsuit entirely, her ruling did support many of the State’s key arguments in support of the law.

Vermont’s first in the nation GMO labeling law was passed overwhelmingly by the legislature last year, and signed by Governor Shumlin last May. Passage of the law was supported by the work of the Vermont Right to Know GMOs coalition spearheaded by Cedar Circle Farm, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), Rural Vermont, and VPIRG. .

Next steps in the case may include proceeding to trial to resolve outstanding claims, or an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Though the Court found that Plaintiffs’ are not likely to succeed on blocking the disclosure requirement, the Court indicated that the prohibition on using the term “natural” will face an uphill battle. The law is set to go in to effect on July 1st 2016.

Please visit the VT Right to Know GMOs website for further updates as the court case continues.


Trees for Streams by Vermont’s Natural Resources Conservation Districts

Trees for Streams by Vermont’s Natural Resources Conservation Districts.

With support from state grant funds administered by the Ecosystem Restoration Program, theVermont Association of Conservation Districts (VACD) and participating districts will be undertaking streamside planting efforts this spring on 19 sites throughout Vermont. The 19 sites involve about 18.5 acres. The grant to VACD includes a second round of site selection during fall 2014 and planting efforts slated for spring 2015. Interested persons should contact VACD at 802-496-5162 or by dialing the office of your nearest Conservation District.

VT still in the fight with Monsanto

From VT Right to Know GMOs – April 17, 2014

Bill Passes Senate, 28-2!

Following Tuesday’s initial approval, the Senate officially passed Vermont’s GMO labeling bill (H.112) 28 to 2 on Wednesday!

This historic vote moves Vermont ever closer to becoming the first state to require labels on the GMO foods. The bill will now head to the House of Representatives where they will decide whether to concur with the Senate’s version of the bill, or create a conference committee to iron out the differences.

To visibly demonstrate the broad support for this bill we are calling for “honk and wave” events next Tuesday, April 22 (Earth Day) during morning “drive time” not just in Vermont but all across the country. Our national partners and supporters are helping to organize this.

Use this online tool to set up and share your local honk and wave!

In case you don’t know, a “honk and wave” is when you and your friends get some signs together, set up shop on a street corner (or highway overpass) and rally in front of motorists in support of GMO labeling. Please plan to snap a picture of your event and post it to the VT Right to Know Facebook page.

Keep checking our website for the latest on where people will be gathering, and make sure to share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter or via email – vtrighttoknowgmos(at)gmail.com. Thank you so much for everything you have done to get us this far!

Read the VT Digger article – http://vtdigger.org/2014/04/17/senate-passes-gmo-labeling-bill/

This is obviously another states right issue – “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” – US Constitution

Check out the tenth amendment centers website to learn more – http://tenthamendmentcenter.com

Sterling College of Vermont Divests in Fossil Fuels

Decision Linked to Emphasis on Ecology and Sustainable Agriculture

Craftsbury Common, VT—Sterling College has announced that it is proud to be the first college in Vermont, and the third college in the United States, that will soon divest its endowment from the two hundred fossil fuel companies identified by 350.org in its effort to move higher education toward fossil free investment. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously at its February 2, 2013 meeting to instruct the investment team to take this action and to move swiftly to divest.
Bill McKibben, Sterling College honorary alumnus and the founder of 350.org, one of the organizations leading a nationwide campus divestment campaign, said of the college’s move, “Sterling College has always been a leader in sustainability and environmentalism. I am thrilled that Sterling has decided that divestment is an important tool for reversing climate change.”
Sterling College is committed to environmental stewardship. Everything about what it teaches, and how it teaches, is geared to building a world that works. In taking this important action, the College and its Board of Trustees is affirming its commitment to its mission to educate problem solvers.
President Matthew Derr said, “Sterling College is an incubator for those who care about Vermont, care about the natural world in which we all live, and who want to promote healthy and just food systems, and as such, it makes no sense for us to invest in companies that are wreaking havoc on our climate.”
Rian Fried, trustee, said, “With this action, not only will the social return of the portfolio increase, the safety of the long-term financial returns will also be significantly enhanced by shielding the College from direct exposure to companies whose production levels are unsustainable.”
President Derr continued, “Our legacy and our focus on food, water, health, energy, and governance through conservation, education, and sustainable agricultural practices absolutely compels us to take this action. We hope that we inspire other colleges and universities to take this important next step toward divestment in fossil fuels because higher education is an important bully pulpit, and we need to focus the nation’s attention on this critical issue for future generations of our students

More – http://www.sterlingcollege.edu/divestment.html




Drought of 2012 – Sustainable Resilient Agriculture = Permaculture

From HuffPost: U.S. Drought 2012: Current Drought Covers Widest Area Since 1956, According To New Data


WALTONVILLE, Ill. — The nation’s widest drought in decades is spreading, with more than half of the continental United States now in some stage of drought and most of the rest enduring abnormally dry conditions.

Only in the 1930s and the 1950s has a drought covered more land, according to federal figures released Monday.

full article from the Huffington Post – Link

Dynamic Rainwater Catchment – Contour, Patterns and Keyline

In this slide presentation Mark Krawczyk speaks about using the power of The Age of Fossil Fuel to create an ecological infrastructure that will provide the resources we need to become sustainable. By observing the patterns of the landscape we can implement earthworks like keyline, swales and ponds  to create ecologically harmonious landscapes that sustain people crops and habitat.

Mark Krawczyk is a permaculture designer, traditional woodworker, natural builder and community organizer in Burlington, VT. He owns and operates Keyline Vermont – a permaculture design/consulting business, RivenWoodCrafts – a traditional woodcraft company, is a member of Seven Generations Natural Builders and is a founding member of the community group Burlington Permaculture.


UVM – Why We’re Hosting a Food Systems Summit

Excerpt from UVM Food Systems Blog:

…Vermont is full of positive deviants. Yes, you heard it right, I said positive deviants. The definition is simple: positive deviants are people whose uncommon, but successful. behaviors or strategies enable them to find better solutions to a problem than their peers, despite facing similar challenges and circumstances. Vermont’s tradition of positive deviance and cutting-edge innovation, in the face of adversity, makes it a rich site for the creation of more sustainable food systems models adaptable around the world…

“How does a regional food system feed the world?”

To address this question and others, we have set in motion a Food Systems Summit that will bring together emerging international leaders in food systems study and work, as well as in practice with prominent national and international researchers and educators in the field, for in-depth examination of obstacles and opportunities facing us in the decade ahead. It is our expectation that the Summit will translate discussion and exploration into policy and research that can be brought into practical application — first regionally, then nationally and even globally….

A strong existing network of partnerships among UVM researchers, experimental farms, and commercial and community organizations amplifies the impacts of food systems work being done in Vermont.

For all of these reasons, we believe the time is ripe for a systems approach to a regional food system in New England that builds on our existing strengths and resources. The Food Systems Summit is the conduit to bring together like-minded leaders interested in finding solutions and then sharing them with other regions worldwide.

Are you ready for the revolution? Come join us! We will be hosting a livestream of the public conference on June 28 right on this blog and on our UVM CE Facebook Page and tweeting at the hashtag #UVMsummit. Follow us at @uvmCE or @UVMFoodFeed.

While you’re reading this blog, read some of the latest posts from our summit speakers and participants.

full article – Why We’re Hosting a Food Systems Summit.

more info – Public Conference on Sustainable Food systems