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Thursday, February 6, 2020

An Omnivorous Food Writer Tests a Vegan Diet

Posted By on Thu, Feb 6, 2020 at 12:42 PM

Smoked paprika and honey-brushed cauliflower steaks headed into the oven - MELISSA PASANEN
  • Melissa Pasanen
  • Smoked paprika and honey-brushed cauliflower steaks headed into the oven
Last August, my husband and I were hiking and talking about lots of stuff including the recently released United Nations report on land use and climate change. Among other things, the report analyzed agriculture’s contributions to the climate crisis and the lesser impact of a mostly plant-based diet.

“Why don’t we try going vegan for a month?” he proposed. (Unrelated to climate change, he also suggested going alcohol-free for a month, but we agreed these two experiments should not be simultaneous.)

It took us a while, between travel and the holidays, work commitments and way too much cheese in our fridge, but we finally carved out three weeks and started our experiment about a week ago.

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Friday, November 1, 2019

Volunteers Aid Intervale Farms With Emergency Flood Harvests

Posted By on Fri, Nov 1, 2019 at 7:10 PM

Volunteers and farm staff harvesting carrots at the Intervale Community Farm - JORDAN BARRY
  • Jordan Barry
  • Volunteers and farm staff harvesting carrots at the Intervale Community Farm
It was a day of pleas and carrots for farms at the Burlington Intervale on Friday. The torrential rain that made for a soggy Halloween on Thursday evening also triggered a flood warning. Some of the farms that sit in the fertile floodplain put out calls for volunteers on social media as they rushed to bring in crops before fields go under water.

"We had three and a half inches of rain in the rain gauge this morning, just from overnight," said Andy Jones, farm manager of Intervale Community Farm. "That's more than we've ever had on the farm in that short a period of time," he continued, "except for Tropical Storm Irene and one other hurricane in the ’90s."

Intervale Community Farm, and the other farms working the 135-acre Intervale Center, are farming directly within the lower Winooski floodplain.

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Friday, May 3, 2019

Vandana Shiva Talks Poison Cartel, Farmers' Rights and Ecofeminism

Posted By on Fri, May 3, 2019 at 1:50 PM

Vandana Shiva - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Vandana Shiva
Dr. Vandana Shiva, the high-profile organic agriculture and environmental activist and author from Delhi, India, will be in Vermont this weekend for two events at Sterling College in Craftsbury. She will deliver the college’s commencement address on Saturday and lead a sold-out workshop on social and environmental justice activism on Sunday.

On Monday, May 6, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Shiva will speak in front of the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier to kick off a series of regional events in support of an international pledge for “Poison-Free Food & Farming by 2030.”

Shiva, 66, has received many awards and accolades over decades of advocacy work spanning organic agriculture, biodiversity, climate change and social justice. Among other honors, she has earned the Right Livelihood Award, dubbed the "alternative Nobel Prize," and the Sydney Peace Prize; and has been named an Environmental Hero by Time magazine. Her uncompromising zeal has also prompted criticism, as detailed in a 2014 profile in the New Yorker.

Reached in India before her trip to the U.S., Shiva talked with Seven Days about bio-imperialism, the power of women, and bad curry.

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pies for People Returns to Sterling College

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 3:25 PM

  • Beana Bern for Sterling College
  • Pies for People
Over coffee at the Swift House Inn in Middlebury recently, noted food activist and writer  Frances Moore Lappé made a comment about Vermont:

“What turns me on to Vermont is not just the beauty but something about the culture,” she said. “There’s an expectation of mutual connectedness here … there is a sense that we’re creating a shared ‘Vermont experience.’”

Lappé is not exactly an outside observer — she lived in Brattleboro for half a decade during the mid-’90s, and her stepmother is a fifth-generation Vermonter. But 16 years after relocating to Boston, where she and her daughter cofounded the Small Planet Institute in Cambridge, Lappé said Vermont’s inherent sense of communal accountability became especially visible. It’s why farm stands and maple shacks can operate under “the honor system,” for instance.

And it’s why, this month, Sterling College will helm an event called Pies for People, which turns excess food — both donated and destined for compost heaps — into seasonal pies for locals in need during the holiday season.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Food Ethics?

Posted By on Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 7:00 AM

  • Dreamstime
In this week's food feature, I talked to a pair of University of Vermont professors about their new book on food ethics. Here are some questions I wrote to address some of the topics Tyler Doggett, Mark Budolfson and their coauthor, Anne Barnhill of the University of Pennsylvania, discuss in the book.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Activists From Québec's Innu First Nation To Protest This Weekend's New England Governors' Conference in Burlington

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 12:43 PM

More than a dozen protesters from Quebec's Innu First Nation are due to arrive in Vermont this weekend to protest the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, being held in Burlington. They are protesting against the construction of a new hydroelectric dam on the Romaine River by Hydro-Québec, which they say would destroy their entire way of life. Vermont purchases the vast majority of its power from the Canadian utility giant and Gov. Peter Shumlin currently chairs the New England Governors' Conference.

This new dam is but one aspect of a much larger development project in the region known as Plan Nord. According to the Québec government's official website, Plan Nord is "one of the biggest economic, social and environmental projects in our time." The 25-year, $80 billion project will create or consolidate an average of 20,000 jobs per year, the Québec government says.

The Innu people — not to be confused with Canada's Inuit people — come from the community of Mani-Utenam, near the city of Sept Iles.  They are an indigenous population from northeastern Quebec and Labrador who claim they have never ceded their rights to the land to the Québec or Canadian governments.

In March of 2012, members of the Mani-Utenam community, which numbers roughly 4000 people, erected a blockade along Québec's Highway 138, the main artery along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. The blockade was a protest against Plan Nord and dams being built along the Romaine River, about two to three hours northeast of their community. Highway 138 is the only way, except by boat, to access the inland areas along the north shore. It's also the only road into this part of Québec, and facilitates most of the industrial development that happens in this region.

Among the activists coming to Vermont is Elyse Vollant, an Innu grandmother who in June was arrested at the blockade, along with several others from the community. After the blockade was removed by dozens of riot police and Surete du Québec (Quebec state police), the Innu erected an encampment alongside 138.

Many Innu feel that the Charest government has ignored their concerns and traditional right to the land.  While some tribal councils have signed on to the Romaine project, other Innu view these councils as colonial forms of government that were set up by the Québec government without much consent from Innu decades ago.

According to Vermont activists working with the Innu, Mani-Utenam has not signed any agreements around the Romaine project.  However, Hydro-Québec has started clear cutting swaths of forest near their community for the transmission lines that will will carry power from the dams. For more on the Innu protests from earlier this year, check out this piece by Alexis Lathem in Toward Freedom.

Seven Days spoke with Vollant last weekend by phone in advance of her trip to Burlington. (French interpretation courtesy of Andrew Simon.)

SEVEN DAYS: Under Canadian law, do the Innu people have any legal rights or say over how this land will be used?

ELYSE VOLLANT: In general, First Nations have the right to a say over what happens in their territory. The communities affected held two referenda and said no to the dam being constructed. Hydro-Quebec, even after the referenda, has continued their construction work, putting in pylons for the dam... We have a right to determine what goes on in our territory and Hydro-Québec is not really listening to us when they continue the construction. 

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