A week on the farm in three photos

by Molly Leebove, UVM Farmer Training Program Staff

Every Friday through the growing season, we will post a few photos from the past week at UVM’s Catamount Educational Farm and the UVM Farmer Training Program. From these you will get a glimpse of the farm season as it unfolds and witness the evolution of these aspiring farmers as they grow into bonafide farmers.potatoesdrip greensandstudents

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How New England can produce 50% of its own food by 2060

ellen kahler food solutions new england

By Ellen Kahler

According to Civil Eats—a national online news outlet for critical thought about the American food system—Vermont is America’s food relocalization laboratory. While the food system development work taking place in Vermont is receiving national recognition, the state is not an island. Awareness is growing that we are operating in a regional food system without fixed or solid borders and we are learning how to align our statewide work around a bigger regional initiative.

Released in 2014, A New England Food Vision is an aspirational document which estimates what could be grown, raised or caught in New England in order to produce 50% of our food needs by 2060. This Vision also reflects shared economic, environmental, and social values where the right to food for all is ensured. In early May, Brian Donahue, lead author of the report, spoke at an event hosted by the Vermont Community Foundation’s Food and Farm Initiative about the need to increase farmland under cultivation in New England to 15% from the current 5% in order to support production of 50% of the food for New Englanders. This would equate to expanding to 6 million acres under production (up from 2 million today and still keeping 70% of all land in forests) in order to feed 17 million New Englanders based on the USDA MyPlate recommended diet. This level of acreage would support the production of all of our vegetables, half of our fruits, all of our dairy, beef, and lamb (grass fed), and all pastured pork, poultry, and eggs. Additional protein would come from beans and fisheries. The other 50% would be imported including the majority of the grain we consume (for humans and animals), plus fruits, oils, nuts, coffee, tea, chocolate, and sugar-although in Vermont we can certainly raise the bar for the amount of local maple syrup and honey consumption. Continue reading

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Civil Eats gives Vermont a shout out

Earlier this week, Civil Eats published an excellent piece about Vermont and our extensive work in local food systems across the state. It is not a secret that Vermonters have a lot of pride in their state, and this profile should indeed make us proud. It should also give us a sense of responsibility to lead and innovate in the coming years towards a better food system for all. We have a long way to go.

Vermont: America’s Food Relocalization Laboratory

by Steve Holt

drybeanpodIf most Americans were to rank the nation’s most influential states, chances are Vermont would not make many lists. But it should.

Quietly, Vermont has become a cultural, economic, and political force. Its public education system is consistently among the nation’s best. Vermonters weathered the Great Recession better than their counterparts in other states; the state’s unemployment rate is currently around 4 percent and dropping. Then there’s the catch-all distinction of being one of the top places in the country to live for overall quality of life.

Add local food to that list.

Read the full article by Steve Holt on Civil Eats here!

If most Americans were to rank the nation’s most influential states, chances are Vermont would not make many lists. But it should.

Quietly, Vermont has become a cultural, economic, and political force. Its public education system is consistently among the nation’s best. Vermonters weathered the Great Recession better than their counterparts in other states; the state’s unemployment rate is currently around 4 percent and dropping. Then there’s the catch-all distinction of being one of the top places in the country to live for overall quality of life.

Add local food to that list.

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2015/05/12/vermont-americas-food-relocalization-laboratory/?utm_source=Farm+to+Plate+E-News%3AMay+2015&utm_campaign=May+Farm+to+Plate+E-news&utm_medium=email#sthash.49Oah2kM.dpuf

If most Americans were to rank the nation’s most influential states, chances are Vermont would not make many lists. But it should.

Quietly, Vermont has become a cultural, economic, and political force. Its public education system is consistently among the nation’s best. Vermonters weathered the Great Recession better than their counterparts in other states; the state’s unemployment rate is currently around 4 percent and dropping. Then there’s the catch-all distinction of being one of the top places in the country to live for overall quality of life.

Add local food to that list.

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2015/05/12/vermont-americas-food-relocalization-laboratory/?utm_source=Farm+to+Plate+E-News%3AMay+2015&utm_campaign=May+Farm+to+Plate+E-news&utm_medium=email#sthash.49Oah2kM.dpuf

Over the last decade, Vermont’s lawmakers, businesses, farmers, and schools have done more to re-localize its food system than any other state, bar none.

If most Americans were to rank the nation’s most influential states, chances are Vermont would not make many lists. But it should.

Quietly, Vermont has become a cultural, economic, and political force. Its public education system is consistently among the nation’s best. Vermonters weathered the Great Recession better than their counterparts in other states; the state’s unemployment rate is currently around 4 percent and dropping. Then there’s the catch-all distinction of being one of the top places in the country to live for overall quality of life.

Add local food to that list.

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2015/05/12/vermont-americas-food-relocalization-laboratory/?utm_source=Farm+to+Plate+E-News%3AMay+2015&utm_campaign=May+Farm+to+Plate+E-news&utm_medium=email#sthash.49Oah2kM.dpuf

Over the last decade, Vermont’s lawmakers, businesses, farmers, and schools have done more to re-localize its food system than any other state, bar none.

If most Americans were to rank the nation’s most influential states, chances are Vermont would not make many lists. But it should.

Quietly, Vermont has become a cultural, economic, and political force. Its public education system is consistently among the nation’s best. Vermonters weathered the Great Recession better than their counterparts in other states; the state’s unemployment rate is currently around 4 percent and dropping. Then there’s the catch-all distinction of being one of the top places in the country to live for overall quality of life.

Add local food to that list.

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2015/05/12/vermont-americas-food-relocalization-laboratory/?utm_source=Farm+to+Plate+E-News%3AMay+2015&utm_campaign=May+Farm+to+Plate+E-news&utm_medium=email#sthash.49Oah2kM.dpuf

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Jack Lazor: The Real Deal

JackLazor

You know him for his delicious Butterworks yogurt. You might even know him as the man behind increased local grain products in Vermont — dry beans, oats, and the corn that makes the locally distilled Early Riser Corn Whiskey.

But what you can’t tell just from eating his delicious food, is that he’s an exceptional scholar, a persistent and optimistic farmer, and a remarkably generous soul. He honors all his mentors and collaborators, answers questions of the novice with earnest focus and delight, and is an inspiration to those who dream of farming for a living.

Continue reading

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How to talk about food and why it matters

Smita NarulaBy Smita Narula

An estimated 49 million Americans live in “food insecure” households, meaning they cannot afford adequate food for themselves or their families.  In other words nearly one in six individuals, in the richest country in the world, struggles to put food on the table.

Hunger in the United States is not the result of a shortage of food or of resources; it is the result of poverty, perpetuated through policies that fail to ensure a living wage or prioritize Americans’ most basic needs.  Yet we continue to talk about hunger as a matter of charity, instead of a matter of justice.  We continue to treat access to sufficient, nutritious food as a privilege, instead of a fundamental human right.  Continue reading

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