Agriculture

Patti Daniels / VPR

Sheep farming remade the Vermont economy and physical landscape to an astonishing degree in the 19th century. At the height of what's been called the "sheep craze", there were well over a million sheep in the state, about six times the human population. Where did they all go? We're looking at the history of sheep cultivation in Vermont - and taking stock of the current state of sheep farming.

Brzozowska / iStock

Federal and state agriculture officials will be in Brattleboro Monday to talk about new federal food safety rules.

Green Mountain Power/Google Maps

In addition to making milk, Vermont’s dairy cows create a lot of manure. And what to do with that waste can sometimes be a challenge.

AP / Lisa Rathke

Vermont is changing its agriculture practices from "acceptable" to "required" - which means that nearly all of Vermont's farms, no matter their size, will now have to follow them. The Agency of Agriculture has been on the road around the state, presenting a draft of the rules and asking for public input. We're unpacking what's going to change and giving you a chance to ask your questions about the new ag regulations.

Brzozowska / iStock

When it comes to the food service industry, you can't get much bigger than Sodexo. The company has more than 400,000 employees in 80 countries.

Sodexo serves about 35,000 meals a day in Vermont on college campuses and in nursing homes, schools and hospitals.

Fred Wiseman

Almost a decade ago, Abenaki scholar and paleoethnobotanist Fred Wiseman started working with Abenaki communities as part of the documentation process for federal tribal recognition. While he was in these communities, Wiseman noticed crops that had long been thought to have disappeared growing on the hillsides. It led him to start the Seeds of Renewal Project.

VPR/Steve Zind

Every farmer knows that eventually the expensive equipment that once gleamed bright green or orange when it was new will succumb to age, hard use and rust.

Farmers also know that there’s still a lot of life left in old rusted equipment, if they can just get it apart to repair it.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Chances are you're stocking up on fresh, locally produced eggs this holiday season, for everything from the turkey stuffing to pumpkin pie. So for thousands of choosy consumers, the barn fire last month at Pete and Gerry’s, the organic egg producers based in Monroe, New Hampshire, came at a terrible time.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Consumer demand is driving farmers to grow and sell more produce, even as the days grow shorter and colder.

The developer planning a large mixed-use project at the Randolph exit of I-89 will meet with the environmental groups opposing the plan to try to reach a compromise.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Artie Aiken used to have stomach problems. During World War II, he served on bases in Connecticut and Texas instead of going overseas. When he got back to Vermont, a doctor prescribed goat milk – and things were never the same.

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

The water quality law signed this summer ordered the Agency of Agriculture to make some changes to the state’s accepted agricultural practices.

A draft of the new rules has been released. Farmers are now getting a chance to react at public hearings, and while there is funding and technical assistance available, some farmers are concerned about the cost of compliance.

Courtesy of groSolar

Applications for solar projects are coming to more towns around Vermont.

The small Addison County farm town of Panton has heard three proposals for solar projects recently. Another is planned for nearby West Ferrisburgh.

VPR Cafe: Homesteading In Vermont

Nov 15, 2015
Kevin Hurley / Burlington Free Press

From the Nearings in the 1930's, to the back-to-the-land movement in the 1960's, Vermont has a rich history of homesteading. And today there is a new wave of homesteaders. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Vermont is known for its iconic dairy cows, which regularly dot its lush green hillsides in summer. But in a pasture in Reading, the cattle look a bit different. 

jtyler / iStock.com

With the passing of Vermont’s Clean Water Act last year, the state has made a serious commitment to tackle the pollution problems plaguing Lake Champlain.

But less well known are recent major updates to the pollution data that’s the guiding force dictating just how much runoff the state needs to cut back.    

Melody Bodette / VPR

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture has leased its mobile flash freezer unit to Middlebury’s Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center.

The school plans to use the unit to process local produce for the Addison County Food Shelf. But first, students at the career center plan to design a mobile processing unit to pair with the freezer.

Melody Bodette / VPR

As solar arrays become more prevalent around Vermont, concerns have been raised about whether or not the renewable energy projects are displacing farmland. But some, like Open View Farm in New Haven, are embracing solar.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Windham Farm and Food was started in 2009 to make it easier for schools to order more food directly from farms.

The program has been growing steadily, and a USDA grant is now going to allow the staff to purchase a refrigerated truck, which could help the group reach even more consumers and farms.

Steve Zind / VPR

The District 3 Environmental Commission held a final hearing this week as it considers a large-scale development proposal for Exit 4 in Randolph.

During a visit to the site Monday, commission members tried to imagine where the lines on a map of the development might cross the field of winter rye.  

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