Blog

February 6, 2018 •
Dominique Giroux, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets

Produce Safety Rule Deadline, High Demand Prompts Second Round of Improvement Grants

January 26, 2018 marks the first major compliance date for farms covered by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Farms that grow, harvest, pack, or hold produce with greater than $500,000 in annual produce sales must be in compliance with the rule’s standards for on-farm produce safety practices beginning Friday. To assist growers in making on-farm improvements that prevent or reduce produce safety risks, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) launched the Vermont Produce Safety Improvement Grant Program, which recently awarded eight grants of between $7,000 and $10,000 to Vermont growers to make on-farm food safety improvements. Growers will have another opportunity to apply for Produce Safety Improvement Grants beginning February 28, 2018 at 9:00 AM.

January 23, 2018 •
Mara Welton, Slow Food Vermont

Sourcing rare and endangered foods for Slow Food Ark of Taste

Slow Food Vermont is looking to source some items to feature at the Young Farmer Meetup at the NOFA-VT Winter Conference. The Slow Food Ark of Taste features rare and endangered foods of cultural significance, and we'd like to feature some key New England items. We are hoping some of you amazing growers have some of these produce items in storage here in midwinter.

January 16, 2018 •
Maryellen Apelquist, Director of Communications, Vermont Law School

Farmers Market Legal Toolkit Provides Free Resources to Build Strong, Accessible Markets for Communities

The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law School, Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), and Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) today launched an onlineFarmers Market Legal Toolkit, a free resource to support building resilient and accessible markets throughout the United States. The toolkit, created with support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), is available at farmersmarketlegaltoolkit.org.

January 12, 2018 •
Jack Lazor, Butterworks Farm

Changing Paradigms in Food and Farming

The state’s dairy farmers, both organic and conventional are in the poorhouse.  Vermont’s iconic dairy industry has been in an economic pinch for some time.  The prices farmers are paid for the milk they produce are well below the costs of production.  Until recently, organic dairy production has been an economic lifeline for many producers, but for the first time ever, organic prices have dropped as much as six dollars per hundredweight in the last few months.   Quotas have been imposed on organic milk production further lessening farmers’ income potential.  Stress levels on dairy farms continue to increase as farmers find they cannot pay their bills.   

December 5, 2017 •
Kim Mercer, NOFA-VT Communications Coordinator

PHOTOS: Vermont Farm Kids Premiere

This year, for the annual celebration of Vermont's farming heritage, Agricultural Literacy Week, NOFA-VT presented a new short documentary. "Vermont Farm Kids," was produced by Community Mentor Maria Reade and filmed by James Chandler.

November 10, 2017 •
Maddie Monty Kempner, NOFA-VT Membership & Advocacy Coordinator

Closing comments of Francis Thicke at end of NOSB term

Last week, at their fall meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted to continue to allow hydroponic and aquaponic farming operations to bear the USDA organic label, against the wishes of many in the organic community. Read outgoing NOSB member Francis Thicke's poignant statements about the decision and what it could mean for the future of the organic movement. 

November 6, 2017 •
Jen Miller, NOFA-VT Farmer Services Coordinator

Fall Deadline for Farm Viability Program Enrollment is Nov 30th

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program provides business planning, technical assistance and succession planning to Vermont farms, food businesses, forest products businesses, and forestland owners

October 17, 2017 •
Maddie Monty Kempner, Membership & Advocacy Coordinator

In Support of DACA and Immigration Reform

From the Northeast Organic Farming Association Interstate Committee on Domestic Fair Trade

October 3, 2017 •
Kim Mercer, NOFA-VT Communications Coordinato

Annual Agricultural Literacy Week Features New Film: “Vermont Farm Kids”

For this year’s Agricultural Literacy Week, NOFA-VT is proud to present a new film, “Vermont Farm Kids” produced by Maria Reade and filmed by James Chandler. This short documentary depicts the unique and poignant stories of farm kids (ages 10-28) from across the state of Vermont. The film expresses the importance of what it means to each child to grow up on their own farm, and how their experiences have shaped their lives. This project has been made possible by sponsors from Farm Credit East: the Johnson Family Foundation, and Forrest and Frances Lattner Foundation.

October 3, 2017 •
Kyla Bedard, NOFA-VT Dairy Program Coordinator

NOFA-VT Organic Dairy Update

Now is a great time to be proactive and see if farms are a good fit for organic, as it can take up to three years to transition - they can begin the process now and be ready for when the market opens up. This proactive planning process should include planning to assure that the land base (pasture and other crops), infrastructure and management of the farm are suitable for organic certification. It should also include financial planning and communication with potential milk buyers. 

September 27, 2017 •
Chris Sims, NOFA-VT member

Kelly King, Generous & Passionate

Kelly King was an amazing woman. Before brain cancer took her life prematurely, she lived absolutely whole-heartedly...touching so many people with her generous spirit and gifts of knowledge and ideas. She was a strong advocate for a sustainable local food system, and at her funeral (on September 23rd, 2017 in Jericho, Vermont), her dear friend Chris Sims (who is a supporting member of NOFA Vermont) gave a poignant eulogy that touched on Kelly's loving spirt, and zeal for all things wild and edible. This is an excerpt from Chris's speech.

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