• 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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Last Morsel—Visionary “food policy”

Montpelier Statehouse
The Montpelier Statehouse

Written on

June 01 , 2009

Back in 1988, the 6th grade class at Main Street Middle School in Montpelier worked on a visionary “food policy” for their city. With the help of folks at Food Works, a nonprofit that connects children and communities to local food sources, the students produced a document that included this final page. It shows that long before today’s local food movement, Vermont children were envisioning a food-centered future.


Close your eyes and imagine you are walking down the street. It is Montpelier in the year 2000, and as you are walking you see gardens in every yard, filled with enormous plants, pole beans stretching seven feet tall and ripe tomatoes hanging from vines spread across the yard.

As you continue down the street, a large sign catches your eye. You pause, “Montpelier, THE GARDEN CITY” it reads in bold faced print. You stand amazed. After a moment your poise is resumed and you begin walking again. Upon reaching the school you stand in awe. In front of the building are several fruit trees, now in full blossom. To the left of the trees are hives, and bees are busily pollinating the plants. Behind the trees are flower gardens, filled with luscious multi-colored clusters. You climb the marble steps that lead inside. Peeking inside a classroom, you see a huge Grow-Lab and some container gardens. A secretary runs up and starts to explain the process, starting with sixth graders in 1988. You listen for a while, explain to the secretary that you have more sight-seeing to do, and leave.

You head toward the Capitol, noting again Montpelier’s beauty. Upon reaching the building, you stop, astounded, there are large fruit trees and flower gardens scattered across the vast lawn. An apple orchard lines the walkways, and a fountain stands in the middle. You can’t turn your eyes from this amazing sight.

As you are walking you notice all the fish hatcheries, 
compost businesses and the large canning and freezing plant. The street is lined with stores and businesses.

The whole concept of this is new to you, and it gives you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. All this came from a policy sixth-graders made back in 1988.

Open your eyes now, and see what a difference this policy can make.

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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.