• News & Commentary: SNAP Data in Court
  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation
  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion
  • News & Commentary: SNAP Data in Court

    Last week, Civil Eats ran an extended article on a battle that’s gone to the Supreme Court over access to retailers’ SNAP benefits data. The article points out the many possible implications of this data release, including how plays into the conversation around whether (or, how) to use SNAP to shape Americans’ diets.

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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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Publishers' Note—Winter 2016

Work That Educates, 1914; photo by Lewis Wickes Hine, 1874–1940, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC.
Work That Educates, 1914; photo by Lewis Wickes Hine

Written on

November 24 , 2015

We think a lot about food here at Local Banquet. How it’s grown and who’s growing it and the practices that enhance and sustain our planet.

But what if the crops you want to eat are not grown at all in the state where you live? Or what if you want to take your locally sourced farming knowledge and share it far beyond the state where you live?

In New Crops for New Americans we present a photo spread that shares the story of crops as cultural archetypes. The New Farms for New Americans program, based in Burlington, has been assisting refugees and immigrants in the growing of distant crops here in the state. They recently worked with UVM Extension to compile a book that celebrates their efforts. We celebrate the book, and these unusual crops, on these pages.

In this issue we also look at what’s happening agriculturally beyond our borders and travel with some of Vermont’s farmer ambassadors to far-off lands such as Nepal, Burma, and Cuba. Click here to read about how these Vermont farmers are sharing their expertise and years of hands-on knowledge and problem solving directly with local farmers to improve on-farm production.

Back at home we take a look at the Vermont Farm Fund, a revolving loan fund, as it celebrates five years of offering “no-hassle” loans to Vermont farmers and food producers. In place of paying back a loan, the VFF likes to say that recipients “pay forward” their loans so that the money is again available to other Vermont farmers in need. Find out more here.

Over the years of publishing Local Banquet we’ve gained a deep respect for those who work the land locally, but international issues are always knocking on our door here in Vermont. We aren’t isolated, and we hope this issue is a reminder that international cross-fertilization in agriculture can yield some impressive and heartening results.

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.