On the Farm

Peak Phosphorous: Crisis in the Making or Radical Opportunity?

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | November 24, 2013

Jay Bailey, of Fair Winds Farm, in Brattleboro, applying diluted human urine to his hayfield using horses.

For many years environmental activists have used the term “peak oil” to refer to the coming crisis in availability of fossil fuels, and as part of a rhetorical strategy to hasten our shift toward a post-oil economy. Recently, some activists and scientists have begun to talk about another “peak” crisis: that of phosphorous.

How to Get Grounded

Young farmers in Vermont surmount the high cost of land with support from family, friends, and investors

Written by Andrew Stowe | August 19, 2013

Edge Fuentes

On a road in Cabot, not far from the land that Laura Dale and Cyrus Pond bought this past March, you can look out to the west at a horizon dominated by the undulating spine of the Green Mountains. For many young farmers in Vermont, the cost of land can seem as daunting and insurmountable as the largest of those mountains in the dead of winter.

Diary of a Farm Apprentice—Part 3: Fall

Written by Caitlin Gildrien | December 01, 2008

Jeremy and Caitlin Gildrien

Eating is not only, as Wendell Berry put it, an agricultural act. It is an emotional and social one—an act of community. During my months as a farming apprentice, I found that some of the most surprising and powerful benefits of farming can be found in the relationships that are formed: with the land, with customers, with fellow farmers, and with the wider community. I experienced all these relationships firsthand during the past spring and summer. As a result, my apprenticeship taught me human lessons, as well as agricultural ones.

Honey Homeyness

Exploring how Vermont honeys have their own “taste of place.”

Written by Alice Eckles | May 23, 2014

bees at hive

I suppose every beekeeper feels that the place where “their” bees forage is the capital of taste, for it’s true that honey can capture the charms of particular nectars in particular places all over the world.

How to Link to Land

Programs help aspiring farmers learn about available farmland in Vermont.

Written by Andrew Stowe | November 26, 2013

Photo of Katie and Jaska by Calley Hastings

“The key was that we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

In describing their farm journey, Jaska Bradeen, 29, and Katie Sullivan, 30, of Sheep and Pickle Farm in Brookfield, return again and again to this problem, one that they and many other beginning farmers like them have faced when first looking for land.

How to Love a Lease—Vermont landowners

Organizations help strengthen the landowner-farmer relationship

Written by Rachel Carter | July 03, 2013

Landowner Mary Ashcroft and  farmer Carol Tashie in Rutland.

Sustainability, simply stated, is the capacity to endure. But the high cost of land in Vermont, combined with the financial challenges of owning land, are threatening the sustainability of local agriculture. According to Vermont’s Farm to Plate report, “Affordable access to farmland was described [by stakeholders] as a serious barrier for new farmers or those seeking to grow and expand.”

Vermont’s Newest Grain?

Putney farmers experiment with growing rice

Written by Cheryl Bruce | March 01, 2009

Rice paddy in Putney

People are often surprised to hear that rice can be grown in Vermont. After all, this grass is known as a tropical plant. But cultivated rice, first domesticated 6,000 years ago, is divided into two subspecies: O. sativa ‘indica,’ which is the long–grain type (such as jasmine or basmati) grown in tropical southern regions, and O. sativa ‘japonica,’ which is a shorter, rounder grain that is more cold tolerant. Japonica rice has been grown in Japan, of course, but also in more surprising temperate climates, such as the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Romania.

Bread and Horses

Good Companion Bakery in Ferrisburgh

Written by Jesse Natha North | December 01, 2008

Erik Andrus

A flock of geese pick through the frost-wilted remnants of a huge vegetable garden, and behind the new farmhouse the Green Mountains rise up beyond acres of fields. Erik and Erica Andrus and their seasonal interns are returning this Ferrisburgh farm to productivity, and they are doing so in some unusual ways: they are growing a portion of the wheat that is used in the bread they sell; they are using horses instead of tractors; and they are operating what may be Vermont’s only bread-and-dessert CSA.

Planting a LiLi

Written by Caroline Abels | August 22, 2014

Ribbon cutting at Back to the Future Farm

To understand what the LiLi pasteurizer—conceived and developed in Vermont—could mean to the dairy community of Orange County, New York, I drove to the Hudson Valley in early July and chatted with some longtime dairy farmers.

How to Love a Lease—Young farmers

Two farms, two relationships: advice from farmers in the fields

Written by Andrew Stowe | July 03, 2013

Nicole Duch and Ben Uris of Seedfolks Farm

At the end of a mostly impassable class 4 road in Calais lies the brick farmhouse of Fair Food Farm. In some ways it seems remote, but as Emily Curtis-Murphy sees it, “It’s a great place to farm.” Before she delves into her experience of farming on leased land, Emily takes me on a brief tour. She and her family rent their house from one landlord and, two miles away, rent land owned by a different landlord for the rest of Fair Food’s operation.

Diary of a Farm Apprentice—Part 2: Summer

Written by Caitlin Gildrien | September 01, 2008

Caitlin O'Brien

The season started out dry at High Ledge. In early June, we watered the upper field by dragging a hose down each row of lettuce and beans, delivering water from a tank filled from the pond. We were making rain, you could say, playing God. Then the real rain came. Then the rain kept coming. And after two weeks, we were feeling very mortal. We lost a whole bed of lettuce to rot, and then another. Everything in the greenhouse stalled and some plants started to mold.

Winter Bounty

Vermont growers use innovative structures and methods to feed us during the coldest months.

Written by Brooke Werley | November 26, 2013

High tunnels at Screamin' Ridge Farm

It is almost winter in Vermont. The familiar crunch accompanies the early riser’s first steps onto the frosted tips of grass. Where the garden once teemed with large leaves of Swiss chard and the sweetest of cherry tomatoes, there remain only a few flattened beet leaves and carrot tops left behind from the fall harvest.

Lambing Time

Written by Helen Whybrow | March 01, 2011

Wren carrying Flop from the barn

It’s 5:20 a.m. and a pale glimmer of dawn shows in the sky above the Northfield Range. I can just make out the ghosts of the sheep’s breath in the open doorway of the shed, and their dark forms nestled in the deep straw. They hear me coming and rise, grunting, their girths almost impossibly huge this late in March. Two of my 23 pregnant ewes gave birth the day before and the new lambs—two sets of twins—are cuddled close to the warmth of their mother’s bodies.

Rutland's Spud Man

Written by Caroline Abels | September 01, 2008

Don Heleba

His story is an exception—not the story we usually associate with Vermont farmers around his age, farmers in their 60s and 70s. These farmers grew up during the Depression and World War II, often on their parents’ land, then farmed themselves—dairying, mostly—for 40 or 50 years. And their stories, as everyone in Vermont knows, have often ended at the auction block or in a real estate agent’s office—places where fields and cows must be sold because of brutal economic forces. Or their stories have ended when the farmers have become too tired, or too injured, to keep working.

Diary of a Farm Apprentice—Part 1: Spring

Written by Caitlin Gildrien | June 01, 2008

Caitlin O'Brien

I want to be a farmer. It is 5:30 in the morning, and the rooster, who lives very close to my window, is crowing before dawn. I find it useful to remind myself: I want to be a farmer.

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What we do

A quarterly magazine devoted to covering local food, sustainable farming, and the many people building the Vermont food system.

Vermont's Local Banquet Magazine illuminates the connections between local food and Vermont communities. Our stories, interviews, and essays reveal how Vermont residents are building their local food systems, how farmers are faring in a time of great opportunity and challenge, and how Vermont’s agricultural landscape is changing as the localvore movement shapes what is grown and raised here.

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