• Updated Website Address: LocalBanquet.org
  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation
  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion
  • Updated Website Address: LocalBanquet.org

    We've changed our website. Please update your bookmarks to LocalBanquet.org LocalBanquet.org is where you will now find the latest Local Banquet stories, a new Story of the Day update feature, features from the archives, and information on how to contribute to Local Banquet if you're interested in writing about Vermont agriculture. 

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  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation

    Back in 2007, Local Baquet ran an article by Bonnie Hudspeth on maple innovation and production in Vermont. Since then, maple production in Vermont has tripled to 1.8 million gallons a year and innovation seems to have entered a new golden (or perhaps amber) age. We did a quick maple innovation news round up for 2018 / 2019 to help everyone keep up with the some of the trends. 

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  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion

    In 2015, the USDA funded a project for UVM researchers to engage in discussions with Vermont farmers about the idea of being paid for ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are things farmers do that improve the environment for everyone, a common example is grass-based farms capturing carbon in the soil as a way to combat climate change. Some services happen naturally through sustainable farming, others take more of an incentive to implement, and either way some policy makers believe that farmers shoudl be compensated for their contribution. 

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Editor's Note Summer 2017

Cutting hay, Windsor County 1937; photo by Arthur Rothstein, Farm Security Administration (Library of Congress).
Cutting hay, Windsor County 1937; (Library of Congress).

Written By

Bonnie North

Written on

May 15 , 2017

Greetings!

With this issue, I am stepping into the position of editor here at Local Banquet. Before I “retired” and moved from Maryland to Vermont I published a monthly called Baltimore Eats. When I discovered that Local Banquet covered the same issues and revolved around the same themes I’d embraced in Baltimore Eats I was thrilled. Of course, I immediately starting conjuring ideas for stories about the inspiring things I saw happening all around me here in Vermont. My “retirement” didn’t last very long!

Since 2014, I’ve been writing occasional pieces for Local Banquet, and working with Carrie Abels was always a genuine delight. Every writer appreciates a great editor and filling her shoes feels like a somewhat daunting task—but here we go…

As our writers’ stories came in this month it struck me that some of the happiest news insists, as it’s often said, that “Everything Old is New Again.” In “Rare Breeds” we learn of the trials, challenges, and rewards of preserving the irreplaceable genetics of nearly lost breeds of livestock. At All Souls Tortilleria there’s an inspiring dedication to using locally grown, organic, heirloom corn and stone-grinding the nixtamal into masa, fresh everyday. Wildcrafting, or foraging for wild medicinal herbs, was a commonplace practice for hundreds of years here, and, as we see in “Make It A Wild Summer”, herbalists like Jasmine Kosele are keeping that tradition alive and well. In “Set The Table with…” the endangered butternut tree gets its place in the spotlight as an important food source that has been long overlooked. Renewing, reviving, or even sometimes completely re-discovering old ways that have proven important for generations is crucial to rebuilding a thriving local food system, and it’s a pleasure to share these stories.

Of course, there’s “new” news here as well. The “Farmers’ Kitchen” turns us on to High Meadows Farm’s latest offering to the local marketplace: organic black garlic. We’re introduced to “Big Bertha,” Vermont’s first high-capacity, mixed waste bio-digester. An insider’s conversation with our new lieutenant governor, David Zuckerman, who is not only a successful politician but also the first farmer to serve as lieutenant governor in more than 50 years, gives us an insight into where things may be headed for our farming communities as we move forward under a new administration.

Lots to think on, lots to enjoy. Summer of 2017…

—Bonnie North

About the Author

Bonnie North

Bonnie North

Bonnie North came to Vermont from Maryland, where she published a local foods guide called Baltimore Eats. She was a founding member of the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Alliance and the leader of the Baltimore chapter of Slow Food, USA. As the former owner of Valley Provisions Market in Bellows Falls, she was one of the investing members and first business customers of the Windham Farm and Food network. Bonnie received her Permaculture Designer’s Certificate in 1996, studying with West Coast teachers Jude Hobbs, Rick Valley, and Tom Ward. She received a Permaculture Teacher’s Certificate from teacher Dave Jacke in 2010. She now lives in southern Vermont.

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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.