Posts in Systems
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. 

Read More
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. 

Read More
Brief Update from the Legislature

This past Friday, March 15th, was crossover in the state house - this is the day that bills in policy committees need to get voted out of committee if they’re going to stay on deadline for passing this year. It’s a good indicator of priorities, although some bills do get special extensions and budget items have a later deadline. Given that this is a traditional taking stock moment for legislative work, we checked in with some groups that spend a lot of time in the state house to find out their thoughts on legislation to watch.

Read More
Dairy Donations: Finding a Home for Excess Milk

The Vermont Milk Commission recently recommended a path towards supply management in the dairy industry. Supply management is a complicated task that stems from a simple goal: stop creating too much milk. But while we have too much milk in the system overall, we have not enough milk going to some households that want it. Foodbanks on average distribute one gallon of milk per person every year - even though demand is high. How does our "extra" milk get to consumers who want it but can't afford it?  

Read More
What Do Food Labels Really Tell Us?

Are there too many food labels? There’s certainly a lot of them, although probably that’s been true since commercial food packaging began. There are enough food labels it’s hard to even talk about “food labels” as a general category since that covers everything from allergen warnings to health claims to the particularly fraught world of labels meant to tell us how our food was raised.

Read More
What's Going on With the LiLi?

Seven years ago, Local Banquet’s summer issue featured an article on Royalton Vermont’s Bob White Systems and their innovative “LiLi”—a low-input, low impact system for pasteurizing milk. The LiLi is designed for “micro dairies” processing milk from as few as 4 cows. We checked in to see what's happened since we first profiled the invention in 2011.

Read More
Milk Pricing: Part 2

Milk pricing systems for Vermont dairy farmers are notoriously confusing - but also key to understanding the present, and future, of agriculture in Vermont, where dairy production accounts for the majority of our farm-based income. This primer explains the complicated framework, why it's the way it is (more or less), and where we might have gone in different directions. 

Read More
Milk Pricing: Part 1

Milk pricing systems for Vermont dairy farmers are notoriously confusing - but also key to understanding the present, and future, of agriculture in Vermont, where dairy production accounts for the majority of our farm-based income. This primer explains the complicated framework, why it's the way it is (more or less), and where we might have gone in different directions. 

Read More