Publishers' Note Spring 2012

Davis Swing Churn, Vermont Farm Machine Company.

Written on

June 01 , 2012

It’s hard for us to believe that this is our 20th issue! When we started publishing Vermont’s Local Banquet in 2007, “locavore” (without the “l”which is a Northeast addition) was the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year. Folks were holding “localvore challenges” to learn how to eat locally, and there was lots of talk about food being essential to surviving in a “post-oil” world. Today, eating locally is commonplace for many people, but these were among the first steps Vermonters took toward recognizing the fundamental shifts taking place on our finite planet.

Since we published our first issue, we have seen the emergence of “food hubs” up and down the state—centrally located facilities that help aggregate, store, process, distribute, and market locally produced foods. In 2009, the state legislature recognized the importance of local food by approving the Farm to Plate (F2P) Initiative, with the mission of developing a 10-year strategic plan to strengthen Vermont’s food system. And when we started publishing Local Banquet there were 60 farmers’ markets; today there are more than 90, and more than 40 of these accept EBT/debit cards, making locally grown food more accessible to all.

We have indeed been witnesses to the creativity, initiative, and hard work of countless Vermonters who are adapting to our changing world.

This year we’d like to nominate “resilience” as word of the year. Last year’s extreme weather showed that Vermont farmers are irrepressible and more aware than ever about potential challenges from our changing climate. Talk has been white-light focused on ways to deal with these continuing challenges. The Farm to Plate Initiative continues to try finding “infrastructure investments and public policy recommendations that will support new and existing agricultural enterprises that increase local resiliency in today’s changing times.” And NOFA’s Winter Conference this February, aptly titled Community and Ecological Resilience: Building an Adaptable and Enduring Food System, offered keynotes and workshops aimed at creating a strong food system that will serve us now and into the future. Around the state people continue to ask tough questions and to seek insight into our path forward.

No one knows what the future may bring, but we will strive to continue inspiring our readers with articles that address these evolving times.

Meg Lucas

Barbi Schreiber

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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 ties into larger questions of sustainability and the future of our food supply.