RAFFL, Loca, and Raw Milk Legislation

Sign for raw mikh cheese at farmers' market

Written By

Caroline Abels

Written on

December 01 , 2007

Raw Milk Legislation

Raw milk cheeses (see Survival of the Rawest) aren’t the only “live” foods getting attention in Vermont these days. In January, Rural Vermont, a non-profit working for economic justice for Vermont farmers, plans to introduce legislation in the Statehouse that would enable farmers to sell more than 24 quarts of raw milk a day.

Currently, Vermont law allows farmers to sell, from their farm only, 24 quarts or less of unpasteurized milk a day. “That’s basically one cow,” says Rural Vermont director Amy Shollenberger, “so if you have a family cow and all you want to do is sell the extra milk to a few neighbors, this [legislation] won’t affect you at all.”

Instead, the proposed legislation calls for the establishment of local committees that would certify farmers who want to sell more than 24 quarts a day from their farm or through delivery to pre-paying customers. The committees would be comprised of farmers, consumers, and one health care professional—a veterinarian, medical doctor, or naturopath, for example. These volunteers would review a farmer’s proposed plan for how he or she would meet the raw milk production standards outlined in the legislation. They would inspect the farms under their jurisdiction every six months and make sure the farms are in compliance with the standards. Committee members would also have the authority to inspect a farm if problems arise. They would not be employees of the Agency of Agriculture.

“We want to set up a system where the farmer is highly motivated to go to his local certification committee if he has a problem,” Shollenberger says. “We want to make sure the farmer is supported in making the milk safe.”

Details of the legislation have yet to be worked out, but sponsors are already in place: Kathy Pellett, D-Chester, is the lead sponsor, while Jim Hutchinson, D-Randolph, is the co-lead. For more information, contact Rural Vermont at www.ruralvermont.org.

Rutland Farmers Bare Their Souls

A handful of Rutland-area farmers recently tossed off their Carhartts and working boots to pose in the buff for a new 2008 calendar.

The Local Exposure Calendar shows farmers in their homes and on their land, discreetly covered by such delicacies as lettuce rows and cut flowers. It is described as “artistically beautiful and amusingly cheeky” by the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, which benefits from the sales of the calendar. The calendar also includes information on local produce and farmers’ markets.

The Rutland Area Farm and Food Link is a non-profit that seeks to strengthen agriculture in Rutland County. The Local Exposure Calendar can be purchased online at www.rutlandfarmandfood.org or at certain local retail outlets (see the web site for exact locations).

Going a Little "Loca"

This just in from the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary: “locavore” is their 2007 Word of the Year.

Each year, the editors collect a bunch of new words that have entered the American vernacular and decide which one is worthy of their prize. They chose “locavore” this time because the use of local food sources and the practice of eating according to the season has enjoyed a “popularization.”

The word “locavore” tends to be used on the West Coast, while in the East the word has an extra ‘l’: “localvore.” Regardless of where it’s used, the word refers to someone who makes a point of buying food that is grown or raised near their home or in the region where they live; a 100-mile radius is often used. Many locavores/localvores grow their own food. They also tend to reject supermarket offerings as environmentally unsound, since food these days is often shipped great distances.

“The word ‘locavore’ shows how food lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment,” said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. “It’s significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way.” “Locavore” was coined in 2005 by four women in San Francisco who challenged fellow residents to eat only local food for a month. This year, the word beat out “upcycling” (the transformation of waste materials into something more useful or valuable) and “mumblecore” (a new genre of independent films that use low-budget production, non-professional actors, and largely improvised dialogue) for the Oxford prize.

While the embrace of this word by a noted American dictionary is certainly an achievement, both “locavore” and “localvore” have yet to show up as an accepted word in this writer’s Microsoft spell check

About the Author

Caroline Abels

Caroline Abels

Caroline Abels is the editor of Local Banquet and the founder-editor of Humaneitarian.org, a website that inspires people to buy and eat humanely raised meat.

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