• 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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Written By

Eugenie Doyle

Written on

June 01 , 2012

Mizuna, tatsoi
tokyo burkana
red kumatsu
claytonia, minutina -
I dip these foreign leaves by the bushel
into a sink pond cold and clear
and wash away the clay that coats my farm.

I toss them with fragile strips of lettuce and arugula so spicy
the smell wakes me from worry. I scoop dripping handfuls to rinse again.
I fill a second sink.
I am filled with care.
Will this meet the order, this mix for people who travel to co-ops in hybrids, toting
their personal bags and member discounts? Mock them, their privilege, fine.
I need those people.
May they multiply.

In the Big Apple, at 17, I ate only iceberg lettuce or maybe
romaine (because my mother was Italian) and
the very first cardboard tomatoes.
At those my mother shook her head but
served them just the same. I learned to mock
my food. Wonderbread? Boloney.
In what 12 ways was my body built?
Much depends on dinner but at 17 my friends traded all that for a single apple
savored at lunch. We found romance in starving.

At 17, I imagined I’d live and write in a 10th street
garret like my great uncle, also Italian,
a quiet sculptor of saints and angels.
I loved the smell of clay.

I imagined I’d live and write cramped in a place like that
with hardly a kitchen and a tiled bathroom
whose toilet required a long pull chain to flush.
I imagined permission to contemplate and create world-saving works amidst
the smell of clay.

What happened?
None of that.
This did:
I farm in a valley of clay my children
used to sculpt birds’ nests and bombs while I weeded nearby.
I grow food for lucky people, aware people.
I arrange it as still life.
Tasks are endless because life is one meal after another.
Contemplation is rare, but helps.
All my dreams are fresh, wet, draining before me
Edible, perishable.
At 17 I couldn’t imagine a world, my world, would depend
on washing clay from colored leaves in a sink.


About the Author

 Katie Spring

Eugenie Doyle

Eugenie Doyle is the author of two novels for young adults, Stray Voltageand According to Kit (Frontstreet/ Boyds Mills Press), and many short stories. She and her family operate The Last Resort, an organic berry, vegetable, and hay farm in Monkton.

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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.