Shacksbury Orchard out of Vergennes, VT is collecting lost apple varieties and creating remarkably distinctive hard ciders from them. In the best thing since Rodolph came to the Island of Misfit Toys, the orchardists have grafted a Lost Orchard, propagating 12 carefully selected wild and heirloom apple varieties to over 1000 trees. No where near VT? Not to worry! You can find their ciders around the country and even order online.
Can produce grown in a soilless medium be called organic? Vermont-based “Keep the Soil in Organic” says HECK, NO. Growing rapidly, this grassroots movement is drawing attention to the degradation of organic certification by big money and corporate interest in hydroponics. Started with a petition by two small-scale organic farmers, Dave Chapman and David Miskell, “Keep the Soil in Organic” has gained traction nation wide and around the world. Organic has always been about the health of the soil, so why change now?
The hydroponic invasion started as a tiny exception here and there years ago. Now it has become the dominant form of production for certified “organic” tomatoes and berries in the US. What began as a minor trickle has become a major flood, as the hydroponic greenhouse producers of the world have discovered that the USDA will allow them entry into the coveted organic market. By changing the fertilizer brew in their mixing tanks to “natural” (but highly processed) soluble fertilizers, and then switching to “approved” pesticides, the hydroponic producers can miraculously become “organic” overnight.
Growing soilless plants with force fed organic nutrients is a step backwards. Perhaps it is a technological innovation, but not an organic innovation. Call it what you want, but it is not organic.
To learn more about the “Keep the Soil in Organic” movement, check out their website HERE for more information, petitions to sign, actionable steps to take, and videos of a recent farmer-led rally in Vermont. In their words, “Organic without soil is like democracy without people!”
They have reached out to the Greenhorns asking if there are farmers or farm advocates in our network that would be willing to be interviewed by the researchers about their leasing experiences. Are you? If so, express your interest in the comments or contact Amanda N Heyman directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following message is from our friends at the Cornucopia Institute and references the recent GMO labeling law, so called the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, which purports to mandate GMO labeling while, in reality, does not give the FDA the ability to enforce the act, allows companies to opt for labeling practices that are not –er– exactly labeling, and (perhaps most dangerously) takes the right away from states such as Vermont to enact their own GMO labeling laws.
“President Obama has yet to sign the toothless GMO food labeling bill passed by Congress. If you already called the President, or signed one of the “unofficial” petitions, urging him to veto the bill you still have one more chance to influence him. Please sign the official We the People petitionto the White House today urging President Obama to veto this bill.”
Attention Northeastern meat eaters! These beautiful farmers, and our friends, over at Cairncrest sell sustainably-raised, small-scale, hand-processed pork (raised on forages, local non-GMO grains, and whey from yogurt manufacturing) and 100% grass fed beef at locations in NY, PA, and VT. Highest quality meat from caring and skilled farmers. Order what you want online and choose a pick-up location!
They are also looking for individuals or groups who might be interested in setting up buyers clubs in the Hudson Valley. So if you are a passionate foodie go-getter in the that area, contact the farm!
Ever wonder how milk becomes cheese and yogurt? What the difference between bacon, pancetta and prosicutto is? How an IPA differs from a regular Pale Ale?
Roll up your sleeves and pack your apron!
During this four-day tour, you will be introduced to various food production methods through hands-on workshops, tastings and innovative farm tours around Vermont’s Champlain Valley. From the cheesemaking that Vermont is famous for to traditional Italian charcuterie, from ancient yogurt and kombucha fermentation methods to the top craft beers, ciders, wine and spirits, our aim is to show you as much behind the scenes artisanal food production as possible in one weekend!
To learn more about this extended workshop weekend, click HERE!
This just in from the Organic Consumers Association newsletter: