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Posts Tagged ‘farming’

Farms, Food and Feeding the World | Vermont High School Students Tackle Food Issues in Summer Institute

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

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VTC agronomy professor Sosten Lungu explains to Governor’s Institute Food, Farms and Your Future participants how a combination of compost application and cover crops can reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizers needed to grow corn.

On a recent summer day, under a scorching blue sky, 15 Vermont high school students rotated between stations on Vermont Technical College’s Randolph campus in an activity named, “Follow the Carbon.”

In the fields of the college’s market garden, the teenagers pulled carrots to chomp on and dug up plant samples. They learned how growing cover crops like clover and soy, and applying compost can build carbon naturally and help reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers.

At another station, they used stethoscopes to listen to the sound of a cow’s rumen doing its work, then toured the campus bio-digester, which uses bacteria to break down organic matter including farm and food waste. It then captures the methane that is produced to provide power for the college campus. “We do in one month what it takes a cow to do in a day,” VTC professor Joan Richmond-Hall noted, directly linking to the animal “bio-digester” which they had just heard in action.

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Vermont Farm Show: for Farmers and Dreamers and Everyone in Between

Written by Julianne Puckett on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

All photos by Julianne Puckett.

I attended the 2013 Vermont Farm Show recently.

You may be neither shocked nor amused at this statement but, trust me, both reactions would be appropriate. You see, I’m the same girl who, not that long ago, used to lecture co-workers on the nuances of a good kitten-heeled sandal; bought Wellington boots purely as a fashion statement and lived in a well-manicured, highly regulated suburban community far south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Then I got hooked on eating local and reading food labels, growing some of my own food and generally handmaking instead of buying. And then I moved to Vermont, back home to my New England roots.

Now I spend my time cultivating a large garden or shoveling snow, depending on the season, as well as crafting hard cider and figuring out how to cook venison “harvested” from my own 10-acre farmette, as I like to call it. Additionally, I own two pairs of Wellies (admittedly, though, one pair is still for fashion; my transformation is not yet complete, I guess).

So, given my commitment to my little farmette in the woods, I decided to explore the Farm Show. I was pleasantly surprised.

Sure, I saw the expected: tractors that likely require a ladder to get into, an automatic milking machine so high-tech its name includes the word “astronaut,” portable sawmills and “firewood processors” (I’m still not quite sure what those are), stainless steel sap evaporators and everything else necessary to run a farm. Or a farming business, for that matter, given the presence of exhibitors such as the Vermont Department of Taxes and several agribusiness insurers and lenders.

But, to my delight, I also saw the unexpected for what I think of as a farm show, things appealing to not only professional farmers but also hobby farmette-ers: High Mowing Organic seeds, with an amazing array of seed packets for purchase; Cabot Cheese, offering delicious samples; the Vermont Beef Producers Association, with an extensive list of participating local farms; local beekeepers and honey producers; an aromatic hay display and a whole wall of blue-ribbon-winning entries from the products competitions — wool, vegetables, breads, pies and more.

Not to mention the cutest little lamb, who graciously stopped chewing long enough to pose for my camera.

In short, I saw just about everything from soup to nuts.

Speaking of which, I unfortunately missed the second-annual Consumer Night, which included not only a state-government Iron Chef-style competition but also the Buy Local Market, an event featuring more than 55 vendors of Vermont agricultural and food products, many of which were available for sampling or demonstration.

But don’t worry: I still sampled some maple cotton candy.

New Website Connects the Dots Between Food and Tourism

Written by Vermont Life on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

A news release from DigInVT:

DigInVT web grabThe state of Vermont, the Vermont Agriculture and Culinary Tourism Council and Vermont Fresh Network have debuted diginvt.com, an interactive website that connects visitors and Vermonters alike to nearly 400 authentic Vermont food experiences around the state.

Designed to promote agriculture and tourism, diginvt.com responds to the public’s growing interest in Vermont as a leader in culinary tourism and the development of a local food system that satiates people’s cravings for authentic food experiences. Visitors to diginvt.com will find it easier to learn about locally grown Vermont products, as well as the farmers, producers and chefs behind the food. Offering opportunities to create self-guided Vermont food tours and discover food and farm events, the site engages visitors to keep their experiences fresh.

Diginvt.com is the first project developed by the Vermont Agriculture and Culinary Tourism Council, a consortium of 13 food producer groups, nonprofit associations, tourism organizations and state agencies who share the goal of promoting tourism that emphasizes experiencing culture through its food and drink.

“Prior to creation of the DigInVT website, no single source and centralized hub existed where food enthusiasts interested in local food could find information about Vermont’s robust cultural tourism opportunities,” said Megan Smith, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. “Diginvt.com is that one stop, comprehensive resource and it’s poised to bring new visitors to the state’s delectable food experiences, events and establishments that are integral to rural economic development.”

The site was designed and developed with funds from the Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center and John Merck Fund, which was secured by Vermont Fresh Network. “As a funder and a lead organization, we are proud of what this group has accomplished,” said Chuck Ross, secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture. “This website will position and serve Vermont to attract some of the estimated 160 million Americans whose travel includes cooking classes, food and wine tours, or farm visits; supporting our farms and food establishments that maintain our cherished working lands.”

Developed over two years by Richmond-based Bluehouse Group and branded by Jager Di Paola Kemp Design in Burlington, diginvt.com welcomes your visit.

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