Agriculture

Food Stamp Program Makes Fresh Produce More Affordable

Jan 16, 2018

Rebeca Gonzalez grew up eating artichokes from her grandmother's farm in the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala. But for years after emigrating to the U.S., she did not feed them to her own kids because the spiky, fibrous vegetables were too expensive on this side of the border.

When she prepared meals at her family's home in Garden Grove, Calif., Gonzalez would also omit avocados, a staple of Mexican cuisine that are often costly here.

West Addison dairy farmer Rob Hunt has employed migrant workers for more than a decade. He says they have been vital to the success of his operation., and he's worried about their future.
John Dillon / VPR

An escalation in immigration enforcement over the past year has brought a new level of anxiety for the several thousand migrant farm workers living in Vermont.

Melody Bodette / VPR

Just as Vermonters are thawing out from a subzero temperatures, snow on Thursday will be followed by dangerous wind chills on Friday and Saturday.

Those temperatures are tough on the humans, but the state is also home thousands of dairy cows. How do all those cows, and their farmers stay warm? VPR visited one dairy farm to find out.

Mary-Ellen Lovinsky of East Hardwick.
Emily Corwin / VPR

Farm runoff isn't just polluting Vermont lakes and streams — nitrate from manure and fertilizer is also contaminating private drinking wells.

And although the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets has regulatory authority, its response is inconsistent, and often undocumented.

Will Lambek of Migrant Justice says a traffic stop and subsequent detention of two migrant farmworkers is evidence the state needs to strengthen its fair and impartial policing policy.
John Dillon / VPR

A Franklin County, Vermont sheriff's officer called for the U.S. Border Patrol after he pulled over two Mexican farmworkers for a traffic violation last August. 

Holiday dinners are not what they used to be for my family. They’re smaller and quieter. Parents and grandparents on both sides of the family are long gone, and Liz and I are now the senior generation.

An array of cheeses is displayed at a cheese festival. Many Vermont cheeses have won national and international awards. Dr. Paul Kindstedt tells Vermont Edition why.
Catherine Hays / VPR File

Vermont cheesemakers frequently earn prestigious titles in national and international cheese competitions. At the World Cheese Awards last week, Jasper Hill’s “Little Hosmer” garnered the title of Best New Cheese. “Little Hosmer” and Vermont Creamery’s “Cremont” were both awarded Super Gold medals, making it among the top 66 cheeses in the world. 

But while many in enjoy Vermont cheeses, can you describe why?

Courtesy: NOFA-VT

Are Organic Standards working?

We talk with Maddie Kempner, membership and advocacy coordinator with NOFA-VT, to answer this question. We’ll also hear from Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury and Jesse McDougall of Studio Hill Farm in Shaftsbury. Hill helped author a bill on  regenerative agriculture currently before the Vermont Senate.

On a recent Sunday, as warm sun burned the morning dew off the cover crops at Wild Roots Farm in Bristol, Jon Turner explained the guiding philosophy behind his unique agriculture operation.

Brett, who served in the Army, has brought in a small flock of sheep to start reclaiming the soil.

Sabrina and Lucas Papineau with their children, Jeremiah and Aubrey, at the Papineau Family Farm in Highgate Springs. The Papineaus say farming helped them reintegrate as a family after Lucas' deployment to Afghanistan in 2010..
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Nearly 4,000 Vermont veterans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, and many are still dealing with the invisible wounds of the nation’s longest-running war. Some of them, however, have begun to find healing through farming.

Hemp plants at Green Mountain CBD's farm in Hardwick, taken earlier this year.
Jon Kalish / For VPR

Growing hemp became legal in Vermont in 2013 and today more than 90 people are registered to grow it here. Vermont Edition looks at the differences between hemp, CBD (Cannabidiol) and marijuana, and where these industries and products are in Vermont today.

President Trump has appointed Rutland City Treasurer Wendy Wilton to lead Vermont’s office of the Farm Service Agency.

Ryan Christiansen of Caledonia Spirits, Ben Whitcomb of the North Williston Cattle Company, Lisa Lorimer, former owner of the Vermont Bread Company, Allison Hooper, former owner of Vermont Creamery and Charles Storey of Harpoon Brewery spoke on a panel.
Nina Keck / vpr

Nearly a third of Vermont farms are run by someone over age 65, and according to a recent study by Land for Good, 91 percent of them don’t have someone younger ready to take over.

Migrant Justice activists gather to celebrate the signing an agreement with Ben & Jerry's that took two years to negotiate.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Ben & Jerry's and Vermont dairy farmworkers have come to an agreement on a program they say will ensure "just and dignified working conditions" on the Vermont farms that supply milk for the ice cream company.

Steve Wadsworth greets cows at Laggis Brothers Farm in East Hardwick with a kiss on Sept. 1. Wadsworth, a large animal vet who serves dairy farms, took "Vermont Edition" host Jane Lindholm on a tour of four farms earlier this month.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

We've left the studio in favor of a field trip on this Vermont Edition to see what goes on behind-the-scenes at four large dairy farms in Franklin and Caledonia Counties.

We got questions and comments from many of you after our discussion of Ben & Jerry's social mission with Will Allen. Here's some of what we found out.
Kathleen Masterson / VPR/file

Back in August, Vermont Edition had a discussion about whether Ben & Jerry's is fulfilling its social mission. We got a lot of feedback on that show, and a lot of it was critical specifically of some of the statements made by one of our guests, Will Allen.

Jay Burstein, who makes ukuleles out of hemp like the one he's holding above, attended this year's Hemp Fest at Burke Mountain Resort on Sept. 9.
Jon Kalish / VPR

On Saturday, Sept. 9, about 400 people gathered at the Burke Mountain Resort for Hemp Fest, a daylong series of workshops and displays focused on the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The state's largest slaughterhouse is about to get even bigger.

Vermont Packinghouse recently received an Act 250 permit for a $1 million expansion.

Farms in two of four "priority" watersheds have exceeded targets for water pollution reductions, but officials say there's still pressure to improve on those reductions for the health of Lake Champlain.
ands456 / iStock

Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture say farmers in Vermont are making better-than-expected progress in reducing the amount of phosphorus flowing into two of four “priority” parts of Lake Champlain.

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