Tag Archives: Vermont

Frankenfoods: good for business, bad for the rest of us

From Tom Laskawy, on Grist.org

“Thirty years ago, scientists figured out how to directly modify the genes in our food crops. No more of that inefficient and slow breeding! Farmers would grab plant genes by the  horns nucleotides and bend them to their will!

Now, the preeminent science journal Nature has devoted an entire issue to the question (to paraphrase that legendary IBM ad), where are the magic seeds? We were going to get seeds that would grow faster, yield more, save the environment, and be more nutritious. What we got were seeds for a few commodity crops such as corn, soy, and cotton that made their own pesticide or resisted herbicides, but otherwise provided little, if any, benefit to consumers. Continue reading


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Will a token Federal GMO labeling law pre-empt more stringent state level GMO labeling initiatives in the US?

Although the hubbub around California’s Proposition 37 to require GMO labeling may have died down, following it’s supposed defeat at the polls, concerns about GMOs have by no means gone away. The latest big story in the march to label GMOs is out of Hawaii, where an initiative to require labeling is being trumpeted, at least in the alternative media. Here’s a report from Anne Sewell on Digital Journal:

Toronto’s First GMO Kids Right To Know Walk, Nov 3 2012 Photos (Photos BY Sam Truax). Click image to see more from this event. Photo via http://www.gmo-news.com

Honolulu – Hawaii might have cause to celebrate, as lawmakers have passed a new measure in the House Committee on Agriculture, requiring labeling on genetically modified food. But is the final bill everything it was hoped to be? Continue reading

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Lessons from the fight over an attempt at compulsory vaccination in Vermont

From Barbara Loe Fisher, on Mercola.com

“This month, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) joins with our Health Liberty partners to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the founding of the Health Liberty Coalition by Mercola.com.

For many years, NVIC and the non-profit Consumers for Dental Choice, Organic Consumers Association (OCA), Fluoride Action Network (FAN) and Institute for Responsible Technology have each worked to protect human health through public education and informed choice advocacy.

At the heart of Health Liberty is respect for the informed consent and precautionary principles, which together serve as an ethical foundation for protecting consumer rights and ensuring product safety. Continue reading


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Vermont cheesemonger on how only the French get the real (raw milk) Brie

From the Commons Online:

“BRATTLEBORO—YOU MIGHT THINK it’s very odd that a cheesemonger would tell you not to buy a cheese, but here I go: if you’re going to shell out the bucks to buy brie, you’re better off spending that money on another variety.

Now, there’s really nothing wrong with brie… if you’re in France. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s regulations on dairy products, if a cheese is made of unpasteurized milk, it has to be aged for at least 60 days.

But real brie is made of unpasteurized milk, and it’s aged for just a few weeks. (At 60 days aged, you wouldn’t want it. It’ll have the distinct and powerful aroma and flavor of ammonia, except you can’t wash the floor with it. Don’t bother trying to trim it — just throw it away.) Continue reading

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Biotech 2, Vermont 0

Vermont has long been regarded as one of the most progressive States in the Union when it comes to things like alternative medicine and access to healthy food choices. If this is what’s going down in Vermont, what’s happening in the rest of the United States that we’re not hearing about?

From Brian Gaston for Salem-News.com:

The biotech industry has had to use corruption and threats to keep secret what they continue to claim is safe and “substantially equivalent” to normal food. 

(MONTPELIER, VT) – Vermonters were slammed by the biotech industry twice this month.  They were hit the first time when 90% of the population wanted GMOs in their food labeled but the governor would not sign a bill requiring this because the biotech giant Monsanto threatened to sue the state. Monsanto thus stopped “informed consent” around food, leaving people without crucial information needed to decide what goes into their and their children’s bodies, and are thus essentially tricked into eating it in not know what is what. Instead of informed consent required in medical experiments – and this is one of the largest in human history – there is enforced ignorance. The biotech industry has had to use corruption and threats to keep secret what they continue to claim is safe and “substantially equivalent” to normal food. Continue reading


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Raw milk is bigger than you’d think — $1,000,000 gross in Vermont in 2011

From VTdigger.org:

“Montpelier – Rural Vermont has released its 2012 Report on raw milk production and sales. For the third year since the passage of Act 62, which enabled the direct sale of raw milk by farmers to consumers, Rural Vermont has presented an overview of how the law is working for farmers and the economic impact of raw milk sales.

The report was presented to the House Committee on Agriculture on January 24, 2012 and will be presented to the Senate Committee on Agriculture on Friday February 3, 2012. The report is available on the Rural Vermont website http://www.ruralvermont.org or by calling 802-223-7222.

The report is based on the results of surveys conducted by Rural Vermont, which reached 95 of the estimated 150 farms that are producing raw milk and selling it to consumers under the requirements of Act 62. The report provides an overview of how the law has been functioning, summarizes the data collected in the surveys and presents some recommendations for further adjustments to the law and the regulations. Continue reading


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“Mr. Barbara Kingsolver” finds local food is a tough sell in rural Virginia

From Jane Black in the New York Times:

Steven Hopp began a small farm to help supply his restaurant, the Harvest Table, in Meadowview, Virginia Photo: Shawn Poynter for The New York Times. Click image to go to the NY Times story.

“WHEN Steven Hopp envisioned his restaurant, the Harvest Table, he drew up a list of strict rules. Local farmers would provide the produce, meats and cheeses. Lemons would be banned: after all, why ship something that is mostly water when homegrown lemon thyme might suffice? Coffee and tea would be allowed because they are dried, but they should be organic, fair trade or both.

That philosophy grew out of his own experience. From 2005 to 2006, Mr. Hopp and his wife, the author Barbara Kingsolver, decided to see if their family could rely on the food they grew here in the hills of southwest Virginia. Their 2007 best seller, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life,” a memoir about their experiment, helped introduce Americans to the locavore creed. Continue reading


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New law to allow raw milk classes in VT

From VTdigger.org:

“Rural Vermont celebrates Governor Shumlin’s signing of S.105, the “Dairy Class Law,” that protects farmers and re-instates the right of Vermonters to control the foods that they eat.

Nearly five months after suspending raw milk dairy classes in response to a Notice of Warning letter indicating that raw milk dairy classes were illegal, Rural Vermont is excited to announce that a successful collaboration between farmers, legislators and the administration has resulted in the passage of a law that solidifies farmers’ ability to sell raw milk and protects the rights of Vermonters to learn about and make raw milk dairy products in the privacy of their own kitchens. Continue reading

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New legislation to allow residents in Vermont to teach home milk processing

You wouldn’t think they’d need a special law for such an obviously good thing, but that seems to be the way things are these days. However, Vermont is perhaps one of the most progressive areas in the United States, and it’s encouraging to learn that legislators there were amenable to enshrining these important rights in law. From The Burlington Free Press:

MONTPELIER — A Vermont farm advocacy group that was ordered to stop offering raw milk workshops will get to resume the classes under a bill proposed in the state Legislature.

Rural Vermont had taught people how to turn raw milk into butter, yogurt and cheeses until it received an order to stop or face possible legal action from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture on Feb. 10. Continue reading

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Raw butter making classes in Vermont

From Kimberly Hartke’s blog;

Jim Hogue, Michael Patno, Hunter Melville Protest Ban.

by Guest Blogger, Jessica Bernier, Vermont Coalition for Food Sovereignty

“Our Butter Appreciation day at the Vermont statehouse was great! Our purpose was to openly challenge the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s interpretation of Act 62 (the Unpasteurized Milk Law) by conducting butter making lessons inside the State House. Continue reading

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