Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is buying 11 million pounds of surplus cheese in an effort to feed the hungry and bolster milk prices paid to farmers.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

This week is Open Farm Week in Vermont. And with nearly 90 farms participating around the state, you don't need to go far to have a personal farm experience.

BasieB / iStock

All that planting you did once the winter ended was invigorating. You dug, hoed and sowed, putting in vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Elisabeth Hodgdon / Courtesy

The Swede Midge is thought to have made its way from Europe to Canada and then down into the United States. It’s caused problems for Vermont farmers, damaging crops like kale and broccoli.

Rebecca Sananes / VPR

A nearly 200-year-old schoolhouse has been moved back to its original site in the Orleans County town of Brownington. The historical move on Monday was powered by a team of oxen — in honor of the many buildings in New England that were moved by the sturdy animals.

Rebecca Sananes / VPR

A new study shows millions of pounds of produce go uneaten in Vermont every year and yet nearly 80,000 Vermonters are living in food-insecure households. Volunteers, legislators and farmers are trying to find ways to bridge the gap between unused food and people experiencing hunger.

Jonathan Rutherford Photography

Some really big art is going up in Jeffersonville this month. Muralist Sarah Rutherford is painting two concrete silos on public land along Route 15, at the former site of Bell-Gates Lumber.

Melody Bodette / VPR

New state water quality rules could soon apply to all of Vermont's farms. The rules will cover not just dairy farms, but also other livestock operations, as well as vegetable and crop farms.

Ric Cengeri / VPR

Several hundred ducks are paddling in a rice paddy on Erik Andrus' farm in Ferrisburg. If you're thinking that rice isn't typically grown in Addison County, you're right. But Andrus has found a way to make rice work here on Boundbrook Farm, and those ducklings play a part.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermont has became the first state in the nation to require special labeling for foods made with genetically modified ingredients. But even as lawmakers enact new GMO regulations, this state’s agriculture sector is wholeheartedly embracing the use of GMO crops. And a new report suggests that the use of herbicides has gone up drastically as a result.

Melody Bodette / VPR

Vermont's immigrant farm workers experience hunger and food insecurity at a higher rate than the rest of the population. That’s especially true in Franklin County near the Canadian border, where many still avoid leaving their farms because of the presence of federal immigration enforcement agents.

Ten or fifteen years ago I planted three willows on the other side of my small brook. They’re a variety called Hakuru-Nashiki. They only grow to be about fifteen feet tall and wide, and have leaves with pink, white and green in the early summer. Mine grew together into one huge clump.

JByard / iStock.com

Many Vermont dairy farms are experiencing a tough summer, receiving very low prices for their milk while they’re dealing with high production expenses. The situation has gotten worse, because a financial settlement of a key lawsuit against a national dairy cooperative has been appealed. 

This month, a federal judge in Burlington approved a $50 million settlement to be paid by a national dairy marketing cooperative to thousands of Northeast dairy farmers, including farmers in Vermont. 

Steve Zind / VPR file

Four months after a plan for a major development at the I-89 exit in Randolph was withdrawn, the future of the property remains up in the air.

Dannyone / iStock

Cleaning up our waterways has become a top priority for the Shumlin administration. But how realistic is that in a state so heavily dependent on the ag industry, especially dairy?

Courtesy

It was after 10 p.m. last July 31. The Connecticut couple driving west on Route 4 never saw the 1,800-pound Scottish Highland bull that was standing in their lane.

Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press

When Bread and Butter Farm in Shelburne started, its founders were planning to grow some vegetables, produce dairy products and start a bakery. In the seven years since Bread and Butter Farm was started, they've expanded from just farming to also running a farm store, housing a coffee shop and hosting music classes and summer camps for kids.

Friends of the Wardsboro Library

On Tuesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin will sign into law a bill proclaiming the Gilfeather Turnip the Vermont state vegetable. The town of Wardsboro, the mysterious turnip's ancestral home, couldn't be more pleased.

Shopping for salad fixings the other day, I saw a little freckled boy - he looked about six - reach for a big, red, beet. The grown-up pushing the cart picked up a few more. “Great,” she said. “You love these.”

In another aisle, though, another kid was having a tantrum because she couldn’t have a sugary cereal. Her weary mother gave in, and added it to the chips and sodas in their cart.

As those very different scenes suggest, some Vermonters are more interested in healthy foods than others. And that goes for schools, too, as well as families.

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