Fair Trade Labeling Makes its Way onto U.S. Products

By Sharon Palmer

Until recently, the Fair Trade label was only seen on products from farms outside the United States. That all changed when Wholesum Harvest, a family-owned farm located in Nogales, Arizona, was certified by Fair Trade USA.

Fair Trade certification is available for products ranging from clothing to seafood, and everything in between, according to an NPR  story, Not Just For Foreign Foods: Fair-Trade Label Comes To U.S. Farms.

fair trade labeling

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How Dirty Is Sustainable Agriculture?

By Hal Hamilton
The Sustainable Food Lab

Despite the title, this blog post is not about sex, unless we consider the teeming reproductive activity of billions of micro-organisms in every tablespoon of fertile soil.

I’m writing for those who wonder how important soil health is. Over the years, advocates for sustainable agriculture have promoted the importance of many different goals: fewer pesticides, less soil erosion, fertilizer efficiency, water stewardship, the well-being of small farmers, less food waste. And so on. We have tools with multiple indicators, but scant analysis of how goals affect one another, and hence little understanding of systemic cause and effect.

soil health

Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons

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UVM Alumna Helen Labun Looks to Shape the Future of the Vermont Fresh Network

Helen Labun, UVM G’06, is experienced in everything from managing agriculture programs to freelance food writing to running a Montpelier restaurant. Now the Newbury, Vermont, native is the new executive director of the Vermont Fresh Network, an organization that connects Vermont food producers with chefs and culinary professionals across the state to strengthen the local food economy.

vermont fresh network

Helen Labun, second from right, is the new executive director of the Vermont Fresh Network.

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Urban Farming in Singapore Shows Promise for Civic Agriculture

By Sophie Johnson

Rooftop farms are popping up across Singapore, a city-state home to over 5 million people.

Among the Asian mega-city’s skyscrapers, urban farmers are beginning to cultivate crops, including tomatoes, eggplant, spearmint, basil, sorrel, tomatillos, and lemons. Comcrop, one of the newly-established urban farming collectives, is using vertical growing techniques to cultivate herbs and vegetables on a 6,000-square-foot roof in downtown Singapore. They also farm tilapia, and the fish’s waste provides nutrients for the plants and the fish itself additional income for ComCrop. The diverse urban farm is overseen by several staff members as well as volunteers. They report about a fifth of their food gets donated, and the rest is sold to nearby restaurants or farmers’ markets.

urban farming in Singapore

Photo courtesy of ComCrop 

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Farm Tours Improve Public Trust of Dairy for First Time Visitors

By Laura Hardie 

On a sunny Saturday morning, cicadas buzzed in a nearby field, and the smell of sweet pancakes filled the air. Young children laughed as newly born calves tested out their wobbly legs and gave them salty kisses, and the kids’ faces full of awe when they learned that those newborn calves could walk within 20 minutes of being born.

Breakfast on the Farm

Photo credit: Vermont Breakfast on the Farm

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Posted in Culture, Health, UVM, Vermont | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments