What Does Sustainable Agriculture Mean to You?

Laurie Reese uprooted her life in the Pacific Northwest to learn how to become a farmer. The 54-year-old grandmother resigned from her office manager job and drove cross-country with her 76-year-old father last spring to join UVM’s Farmer Training program.


Continue reading

Posted in Economic, Environmental, Social, UVM | Leave a comment

Why Public Input on FSMA Matters (The Joy of Regulation, Part III)

This is the third and final post in our series on the Food Safety Modernization Act. If you’re not caught up, we encourage you to check out Part I on the history of the FDA’s role in regulating food safety and Part II on how the proposed Produce Rule will affect small farmers.

If you’ve stuck with us so far, you might be wondering why we’re making such a pitch for the public to weigh in on these esoteric federal food safety regulations. Aren’t there experts better qualified to assess the efficacy and provide feedback on the proposed rules? The answer to that question is a fascinating study in our democracy.

RootVeggies Continue reading

Posted in Economic, Environmental, Health | Leave a comment

FSMA: A Serious Law with Serious Flaws (The Joy of Regulation, Part II)

A few weeks ago, our post The Joy of Regulation: Part I offered a general primer on regulation in the United States. It focused on how an agency like the FDA gained so much power to write, enforce, and adjudicate food safety regulations. With the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules about to be finalized, we’re bringing you two more pieces, today and tomorrow, on the topic.

Today’s post is a deep dive into how one of the FSMA rules (the so-called Produce Rule) will affect vegetable and berry farms, their markets, and the future of many small farms. Please consider sharing your input with the FDA–the public comment period is only open one more week, until December 15. Additional resources and submission instructions are at the bottom of this post.

Clouds of Fury

Continue reading

Posted in Economic, Environmental, Health | Leave a comment

Taxing Sugary Drinks: A win-win for public health and the farm economy?

By Anthony Iarrapino, Rachel K. Johnson, & Tina Zuk

The staggering amount of sugar we drink is making us sick. Cheap, widely-available sugary drinks—sodas, sports and energy drinks, “fruit” punches, and sweetened teas—are the largest single source of added sugars in the American diet. Sugary drink consumption has skyrocketed by five hundred percent in the last fifty years. All that liquid sugar is helping to fuel an obesity epidemic that is costing Vermont hundreds of millions of dollars each year to treat preventable illnesses like Type II diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Now, a public health campaign in Vermont is promoting a potential solution.

Soda Pop Continue reading

Posted in Economic, Environmental, Health, Social, Vermont | Leave a comment

State of Implementation: A report back from the 2014 Farm to Plate Network Gathering

By Ellen Kahler

On October 23-24, 2014, approximately 300 members attended the Farm to Plate Network Annual Gathering held at the Killington Grand Conference Center to review the progress towards implementing Vermont’s Farm to Plate Strategic Plan and learn about the next set of challenges facing Vermont’s evolving food system.

Attendees speak about food system issues at the Farm to Plate Annual Gathering

Continue reading

Posted in Economic, Environmental, UVM, Vermont | Leave a comment