To Label or Not to Label

Photo_To Label or Not to LabelAs the debate rages on between those who want GMO food products to carry labels and those who don’t, a larger question looms quietly in the background: does access to information make a difference?

An escalating number of lawsuits by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Snack Food Association, International Dairy Foods Association, and National Association of Manufacturers are challenging Vermont’s Act 120, which requires labeling of GMO foods sold at retail stores in Vermont. A decisive victory allows the winner to claim the moral high ground and establish indisputabe authority. Continue reading

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Achieving a Right to Food Requires “Good” Subsidies for Food Production that Respect the Environment

by Anastasia TelesetskyUVM_foodsummit-60for_web

The production of food as an industrial commodity does not play by the rules of the free market. Many of the largest agricultural and fishery producers and processors in the United States and Europe receive subsidies that are good for their profit line, but questionable for the environment. In 2014, Olivier de Schutter, the Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, offered a valuable definition for “the Right to Food” in his report to the UN Human Rights Council. He wrote: “The right to food is the right of every individual, alone or in community with others, to have physical and economic access at all times to sufficient, adequate, and culturally acceptable food that is produced and consumed sustainably, preserving access to food for future generations.”

His definition is ground breaking from a policy perspective because he recognizes that food must be both “produced and consumed sustainably” in order to satisfy the right to food. It is not enough to produce tons of corn, wheat, and beans, with no regard for addressing the environmental costs of existing food production, even though the tons of commodity production may reduce hunger. His report is a declaration that quality of food production matters. Part of achieving high-quality food production means avoiding, or at least mitigating, for environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of existing mass food production are extensive. For example, 30 to 40% of nitrogen fertilizer applied to crop fields seeps into ground or surface water, with losses of 70% on the margin. A 10-year study by the US Geological Survey found pesticides in many of the streams and samples of groundwater within the US, often at concentrations deemed harmful to aquatic life and those who consumed the aquatic life. According to US fisheries data, somewhere around 17 to 22% of the marine fisheries’ catch is discarded back into the sea. Continue reading

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Photo Journal: The 2015 Food Systems Summit

Last week, over 300 scholars, students, farmers, activists, community members, and representatives from nonprofits and government convened at the University of Vermont for the 4th annual Food Systems Summit.

Videos of the talks will be available on the UVM Food Systems YouTube channel in the coming weeks.

All photos by Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist (Instagram @iantom / @everydayasia, Twitter @itjlphoto).

Food Systems Summit participants and stage Continue reading

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A week on the farm: Garlic scapes and strawberry harvest

by Molly Leebove, UVM Farmer Training Program Staff

Fridays throughout the growing season, we will post a few photos from the past week at UVM’s Catamount Educational Farm and theUVM 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.IMG_5174IMG_5097 IMG_5107

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Profile of Paul Feenan, Food and Farm Director at VYCC

Paul-Feenan-1-e1430784815975With just one day to go until the 2015 UVM Food Systems Summit, we are  welcoming many stellar food systems experts from all over the country and world who have come to speak and learn from each other.  One star Summit presenter from our own backyard, is Paul Feenan, the Food and Farm Director at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps . Below is a link to a recent interview with him and the Good Food Jobs Team. It is a lovely piece, enjoy!

Paul Feenan, Food and Farm Director at VYCC from the Good Food Jobs Blog, Gastrognomes: May 5, 2015

As we began to learn more about Paul through his interview, we couldn’t help but feel the urge to pull out our checkbook and compensate him for all the valuable advice he shared! A self-described ‘sponge’, Paul is one of those people who learns from every experience, good or bad, and for that he wins our utmost respect and admiration.

When did you know that you wanted to work in food?

I am not sure I have had an ‘aha’ moment.  It’s nice I have that to look forward to!  I have had so many incredible experiences working in the field of food and farming.  Each one has stoked the fire in me.

I suppose I got my break as a young guy when I was given the opportunity to teach high school horticulture, agriculture and natural resources.  I was knowledgeable and ambitious enough to teach my charges, but the opportunity provided me a launch pad to really take off and develop my own style in agriculture and education.

for the rest of the article visit the Good Food Jobs Blog!

 

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