VT Committees “Arm wrestling for money”

From Rural Vermont’s Update: If you’re following the mainstream news at all, you know that there are debates raging in virtually every committee about money. Who’s going to get some, who’s not and where the hell is it going to come from?

In our work on the Raw Milk Bill (H.426), the Poultry Processing Bill (H.52) and the big Water Quality bills (H.35 and S.49) we are focusing on ensuring that economic opportunity and viability is preserved for family farmers, and greater freedom to choose our food is available to all of us “eaters.” We are also trying to ensure that fundamental principles of regenerative and sustainable agriculture and wise use of our crucial resources like water and soil are not abandoned or degraded in the process and politics of arm wrestling over money.

Along the way we’re also trying to preserve some measure of common sense as we seek to build a food system based on trust instead of fear.

For more on this I refer you once again to Wendell Berry:

“There is, then, a politics of food that, like any politics, involves our freedom. We still (sometimes) remember that we cannot be free if our minds and voices are controlled by someone else. But we have neglected to understand that we cannot be free if our food and its sources are controlled by someone else. The condition of the passive consumer of food is not a democratic condition. One reason to eat responsibly is to live free.”

Here you can read the entire essay, “The Pleasure of Eating” from which this quote comes. The Pleasure of Eating is part of Berry’s 1990 book “What Are People For?”

I hope you will!


P.S. For more on our public policy work and how you can TAKE ACTION TODAY, see the Issue Updates section below. And I hope to see you on April 8th at Farmers Tell Their Stories. 


Vermont Growing Local Food Sovereignty – Rural VT Update

“Vermonters Feeding Vermonters: Growing Local Food Sovereignty”    

February 4, 5:30pm – Capitol City Grange Hall, Montpelier
Northfield Street – Route 12 just south of Montpelier (physical address: 6612 Vt. Rt 12, Berlin) Free and open to the public, potluck to follow.

Robb Kidd, Organizer for Rural Vermont, will discuss Food Sovereignty and the Vermonters Feeding Vermonters Campaign with members of the Capital City Grange.

February 11, at the NOFA-VT Winter Conference – The Davis Center, UVM 

Rural Vermont Organizer Robb Kidd and board member Carl Russell, co-owner of Earthwise Farm and Forest in Bethel, will host a special Food Sovereignty workshop. For more information or to register, visit this page.

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

Rural Vermont – 09/08 Alert & Update

Excerpt from – Rural Vermont – 09/08 Alert & Update

Rural Vermont is pleased to announce that the Vermont Community Fund Farm Disaster Relief Grants are ready for distribution. If you are a farmer who has been impacted by the flooding, please do not delay in applying, the deadlines are September 19th and September 30th. Please click HERE for the application form.

If you were not impacted by the flood, please consider making a contribution to the VT Community Foundation Farm Disaster Relief Fund to help Vermont farmers who have suffered damages. Make your donation by clicking HERE, and scroll down to “VT Farm Disaster Relief.”

This week, Rural Vermont volunteers will be at the Intervale helping Arethusa Farm recoup after the flood. Please email robb(at)ruralvermont.org  to sign up for Rural Vermont’s Rapid Farm Response Brigades for Wednesday, September 14th at 9:30 am at Arethusa Farm in the Intervale in Burlington. If you’d like to join the Intervale Farm Brigade, you MUST sign up in advance. It’s very important, and therefore worth repeating, that volunteers must be registered in advance

Check site for more information on donating and volunteering – http://www.ruralvermont.org/alerts/2267/

EVENT -** this weekend !!! **  The 4th Annual Tour de Farms

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Shoreham Green, Addison County, VT


day-of reg: $50 adults/$20 kids 12 & under kids in trailers and bikeseats free!To register online or print registration materials, click here

more info – http://www.ruralvermont.org/alerts/2267/

Rural Vermont Update July 22

As many of us know, consumer interest in healthy, natural or organic foods is growing. As a result, many food companies are selling “All Natural” products which are priced higher than similar products despite the fact that they may be filled with SYNTHETIC and GENETICALLY ENGINEERED (GE) ingredients.

Relevant studies and data indicate that consumers are more likely to purchase products that prominently display the words “All Natural” on the front of food packages, despite the fact that the “All Natural” claim may be misleading at best, and fraudulent at worst.

Pinnacle Foods Group, LLC, which is selling its Log Cabin brand “All Natural” syrup in Vermont, is one such company using an “All Natural” labeling claim to win over consumers.  Log Cabin brand “All Natural” syrup contains synthetic ingredients. 

While Vermont farmers spend hundreds of hours boiling sap to make truly “All Natural” Vermont Maple Syrup, they are loosing out to brands like Log Cabin who package and label syrup “All Natural” so as to appear like real Vermont Maple Syrup despite synthetic ingredients.

Rural Vermont and  Law for Food are looking for individuals who have purchased Log Cabin brand “All Natural” syrup in the last few years. If you have purchased this product believing it to be “All Natural” and not to contain genetically engineered or synthetic ingredients, please contact us at  jared@ruralvermont.org or kenneth@lawforfood.com right away as we may be able to address this failure on the part of large corporations like Pinnacle Foods to properly label their products.

Allegedly “All Natural” products often mislead consumers about healthy food choices and cause them to purchase products they wouldn’t otherwise buy.  In addition, these often misleading tactics harm Vermont farmers who produce truly “All Natural” and non-GE products because they are forced to compete with multi-national corporations and their industrial scale marketing tactics.

Vermont Farmers and Vermont Consumers deserve better. Please act now and let us know if you or anyone you know has purchased “All Natural” Log Cabin Syrup.

Best, Jared

P.S. Check out our website at www.ruralvermont.org for info, on our great fall internship opportunities! As well as a the calendar of events.

UPDATE: Rural Vermont

From Rural Vermont: Greetings!  We are excited to announce that Governor Shumlin signed S.105, the Dairy Class Bill, and that it is officially the law of the land!  As you can see below, we are re-initiating our educational dairy classes with a celebration class and ice cream social.  Please consider attending, as it is sure to be an exciting and informative event.  

In addition, we would like thank all those who called Congressman Welch last week about the Industrial Hemp Bill.  If you have not yet called, please contact Congressman Welch and ask him to co-sponsor the Industrial Hemp Bill, HR 1831, today!  In 2008, the Vermont Legislature overwhelmingly passed an Industrial Hemp Bill, however federal inaction is preventing Vermont farmers from cultivating this valuable crop.  With Welch’s position on the House Agricultural Committee, this issue could move forward with his support.  Please call today at (202) 225-4115.  Once you have called Congressman Welch, please contact Senator Leahy as well and ask him to use his position as the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hemp hearings in the Senate.  Senator Leahy can be reached at (202) 224-4242.  

Wednesday, June 8th at Jersey Girls Dairy, CHESTER

1 – 4 pm: Ice Cream & Ricotta Cheese with Lisa Kaiman; advance registration necessary; $20-$40 sliding scale

Don’t miss the very first class of the summer schedule, where Lisa Kaiman will lead a small group of raw milk enthusiasts through making raw milk ice cream using the rich and lovely cream that her Jersey cows produce, followed by a lesson using the skim milk byproduct to make luscious and versatile ricotta cheese. We’ll be churning out a big batch of ice cream to be served up at our victory celebration that very night (don’t worry; there will be plenty for sampling at the class too)! Class fee is $20-$40 sliding scale and advance registration is required. To sign up, call Shelby at (802) 223-7222 or emailshelby@ruralvermont.org. This will fill up fast — call today!

For more info and complete calendar of events visit – www.ruralvermont.org

Rural Vermont’s Annual Meeting May 4th in Richmond

Rural Vermont supporters from near and far will convene on Wednesday, May 4th from 6:30 – 9 pm at the West Monitor Barn in Richmond for Rural Vermont’s 2011 Annual Meeting. Rural Vermont is thrilled to host this year’s keynote speaker, Bob St. Peter of Sedgwick, Maine, the first town in the US to declare food sovereignty! The event is free for Rural Vermont members and all kids, and $10 for non-members.

The night will conclude with keynote address “Local Food, Local Rules: Creating Food and Farming Policies that Work for your Community,” by Bob St. Peter. St. Peter comes to Vermont from Sedgwick, Maine, the town that made national headlines recently when they unanimously voted to adopt the Local Food & Community Self-Governance Ordinance.

More info – http://www.ruralvermont.org/

Raw Milk Passed the VT Senate

Raw Milk page of – RURAL VERMONT

Rural Vermont, is a Vermont farm advocacy group that has been working with a statewide network of farmers and customers to make it easier to buy and sell raw milk in Vermont since 2005. On February 10, 2011 they were order to stop teaching their raw milk processing classes or face possible legal action from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, which they did.

On April 12th The Miscellaneous Agriculture Bill S. 105 passed the Senate (in its present form) The bill creates a framework whereby raw milk dairy classes could be reinstated, it also changes the language of the law so that farmers may sell to individuals for “personal consumption” rather than only for “fluid consumption”. In the coming days the House Agriculture Committee will be taking testimony on this legislation.

Compost language has also been tied onto the end of the bill, attempting to limit the rights’ of municipal zoning regulators. This bill, although lengthy is comprehensive, clear and progressing in the right direction.

Read an article about the bill here.

Download our RAW MILK SELLERS’ GUIDE, a comprehensive list of ways to meet the requirements of the new law (.pdf, 2.5 Mb).

(excerpt from the bill)

S.105 Sec. 14. 6 V.S.A. § 2777  (see also Sec. 12)


Unpasteurized milk shall be sold directly from the producer to the consumer for personal consumption only and shall not be resold.

Unpasteurized milk shall be sold only from the farm on which it was produced except when delivery is arranged in conformance with section 2778 of this chapter. Unpasteurized milk shall not be sold or offered as free samples at any location other than on the farm on which the milk was produced.

Instructional classes or workshops for the use of unpasteurized milk as an ingredient in food may be held at the farm or sponsored off-site by a farm, person, or organization for current or prospective consumers, provided the following conditions are met:

(1) The classes or workshops shall be conducted at a location that shall

be cleaned prior to and following each class or workshop;

(2) A roster of attendees or participants with current contact information

as required by subdivision (d)(1)(C) of this section shall be maintained for one year by the sponsor; and

(3) A sign as required by subdivision (d)(4)(B) of this section shall be prominently displayed in the class or workshop area.

link to the bill – http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2012/bills/Senate/S-105.pdf