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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Introducing Forest N Farm

Here is the NEW logo design for the Rural Route Today publication
Forest N Farm. (I keep wanting to say "Farm N Forest" 
and it rolls off the tongue a little better but Forest N Farm 
is where it's at! Hope you like it... 
feedback is always appreciated.
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please email

New Leadership Challenges Vermont to Change 

  by Robin Reid

In the weeks since Vermont’s new Governor Peter Shumlin was inaugurated, he has made bold pronouncements about implementing a single payer system for healthcare, creating new jobs and balancing the budget. The Gov is inspired by the challenge to lead the nation and be the first to achieve new levels of public welfare. But all the enthusiasm does not come without its knocks.

Although Gov. Shumlin has assembled an impressive array of new commissioners who appear to be equally enthusiastic about his daring plans, there are complaints that salary increases for his top administration are not in keeping with continued cuts of and a hiring freeze on state employees. These are exciting times for those on the top of the wave of change but there are many Vermonters struggling to make ends meet. Cautionary tales tell us that change is good but too much too soon has been known to tip the scales of reality out of balance.

At the Vermont Farm Show Dairy Banquet, farmers are honored for their high quality milk and exceptional farming practices.  Pictured at right is Governor Peter Shumlin congratulating members of the Longway Family Farm of Swanton, awarded the 2010 Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year. For the seventh year running, the Meyer Family Farm of Hardwick received the award for the highest quality milk. Congrats!

The Vermont DC delegation held a press conference recently to protest President Obama’s cuts to north country fuel assistance. The buzz is all about the inequity of continuing the tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while balancing the budget on the backs of the working poor and those on fixed incomes. Senator Sanders has assembled a book that documents the plights of many individuals who have suffered from effects of the recession and the high price of fuel and groceries, etc. You can find “Struggling Through the Recession - Letters from Vermont” at It’s prudent to recognize that there are many among us who may need support now more than ever.

Also up for change is Rural Route Today. For over five years, we have produced this small community-based paper by virtue of a bootstrap and a certain amount of skill.  At this time, I would like to introduce you to the concept of Forest N Farm and we have devised a new masthead (MY February print MISTAKE! I think this word should be LEADER or LOGO?) to catch your attention! Your comments and suggetions are most welcome and please consider advertising your business here. 

As you may know, Vermont relies on its working landscape not only for our way of life but ir ua an essential part of the state’s economy. We can’t afford to go the way of southern New England so pony up and get ready for the ride. We can secure a great future for our beautiful landscape but only if we work together. Your support is greatly appreciated and needed at this time.

Here's the latest feature by Laura Cahners-Ford. She's been writing some great pieces about local agricultural endeavors and having fun roaming the countryside while she's at it! Thanks, Laura!

Be sure to grab a copy at your local market or store.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Council For Rural Development and Vermont's Working Landscape

Summit Emphasizes Value of Working Landscape  

  by Robin Reid

republished from Rural Route Today - December 19, 2010 edition

The Vermont Council on Rural Develpement has put together a five-point platform to protect and enhance Vermont’s working landscape. Support is building for its implementation.

• Build a Major Campaign to Celebrate the Distinctiveness of 

     the Working Landscape that is Vermont

• Target Strategic Investment through a Vermont Agriculture 

     and Forest Products Development Corporation

• Designate and Support “Working Lands”

• Develop Tax Revenue to Support Working Landscape 

     Enterprise Development and Conservation

• Build a State Planning Office and Activate the 

     Development Cabinet

The gathering took place at the Vermont State House in Montpelier on December 10, 2010

Paul Costello, Executive Director of the council remarked that “rural areas are not just empty land that hasn’t been developed yet. It’s serving a function in balance to the developed areas of the country. We need to change our attitude to one of balance and hold onto something that other places have lost.” 

The public is beginning to understand there is a real crisis on the farm but the summit exposed the unheralded crisis of the forest industries. Vermont’s forest makes up most of its open space areas. A sense of entrepreneurial opportunity exists in the food system and is identified by the rapid growth of direct sales in Vermont. There is an opportunity to make a concerted campaign to change market conditions and make Vermont a leader in the local food movement and raise the flag nationally in agricultural and natural resources innovation. By definition, the working landscape must include farm AND forest. The working landscape is also recognized as a lynchpin to Vermont’s tourist industry

The summit featured opening remarks by Speaker of the House Shap Smith who was raised on a working sheep farm in Vermont, Chuck Ross who serves as Senator Leahy’s top aide (and is poised to take the reins from Roger Allbee as the next Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets) and Governor elect Peter Shumlin. All emphasized the need for change and innovation to maintain the economic vitality of Vermont’s working landscape. 

Presenting on the panels were policy makers, agricultural entrepreneurs and leaders in the forest products industry. The summit wrapped up with facilitated sessions that sought pragmatic suggestions to advance the goals of the action plan. Anyone can support this initiative and be part of the solution. By the end of the day, over 100 people signed on to the partnership and you can, too. Go to and click the woodpile at the right of the screen to join in.