A week on the farm: Fall bounty and the launch of our mobile market

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 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.

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A Marine Veteran finds his calling in Organic farming

11750621_1032954993404871_6570399812234802067_nAndy Lang first became aware of the importance of local food while helping his girlfriend build a juice truck in his home state of Missouri.

Getting fresh fruits and vegetables to make watermelon, blueberry, or carrot juice was easy enough in the summer. But in the colder months, finding local produce was nearly impossible, making it challenging for Lang’s girlfriend to run the business.

“I saw how hard it was for her to find fresh organic produce for juices, especially in the winter,” says Lang, 38, now a student in the UVM Farmer Training Program, a six-month program that draws about 25 students per year. “All of this stuff to make juice had to come from outside of the country in the winter, and that just didn’t seem right. Working with her really opened my eyes, and I wanted to do something about it.”

Lang began in May the Farmer Training Program to learn about organic vegetable farming. While he’s had a lifelong interest in home gardening, his path to farming has been anything but linear. Continue reading

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DARK Act Passes House, Puts Blinders on Our Right to Know

by Maddie Monty, NOFA Vermont

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On July 23rd, the House of Representatives passed bill H.R. 1599 by a margin of 275 to 150. This bill, backed primarily by House Republicans, has been given two names. Cleverly branded by its sponsors as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, the bill has instead become widely known to the national Food Movement as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act.

Despite its benevolent title, farmer and consumer groups have seen the DARK Act for what it is: a direct attack on mandatory GMO labeling laws passed by Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine in recent years and an effort to undermine consumers’ demand for information about the food they eat. Continue reading

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A week on the farm: Sweet and spicy

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 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.

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Joel Salatin Speaks

Joel Salatin-1He clucked like a chicken, ranted like an activist, twanged like a Southerner. Joel Salatin delivered a one-day master class on August 4 in Dunham, Quebec, for “beginner farmers, wanna-be farmers, landholders, and clean-food advocates who are ready to get serious about regenerative agriculture and fair food systems built from the ground up.”

Folksy, intelligent, articulate, animated, creative, funny, deeply insightful, and sharply critical of what isn’t working in industrial agriculture, Salatin delivered a succession of messages from practical farming tips to Eastern philosophy, civil disobedience, loving gratitude for family and friends, a profound respect for nature and its harmonies, and strategies for making money, all while exuding a warmth you’d expect from your best friend. Continue reading

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