April 12, 2018

Vermont farmers spoke from the heart about their efforts to protect Lake Carmi at a joint committee hearing in the Statehouse Thursday morning. New research presented by Dr. Heather Darby, an agronomist with UVM Extension and the Northwest Crops & Soils Program, detailed the results of new agricultural practices implemented by farmers in the watershed. In front of key lawmakers, farmers explained the importance of protecting Vermont’s land and waterways, they’re willingness to work together and the sacrifices they’ve made to continue producing our food.

April 10, 2018

It's a simple sandwich filled with flavor. To celebrate National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day on April 12, we're going on a journey to taste some of the best grilled cheeses Vermont has to offer.

Feel Good at UVM

Their motto: “Ending World Hunger One Grilled Cheese at a Time...”

UVM FeelGood is a student-run, non-profit deli that operates three times a week in the basement of the Davis Center.  Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday students prepare Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches made with only the best local ingredients.

100% of the proceeds raised through FeelGood's grilled cheese sales goes to The Hunger Project, an innovative non-profit organization that works toward the sustainable end of world hunger by empowering and educating women. There's no doubt this feel good story, tastes good as well!


Monarch & The Milkweed

This gooey grilled cheese starts with two thick slices of Cyrus Pringle bread from the Red Hen Bakery. Handfulls of parmesan oregano partners with a blend of Grafton cheddar and Neighborly Farms colby for a flavor packed punch in every bite. Once grilled to crispy, cheesey perfection, the sandwich is paired with a nice sweet-spicy tomato soup for your dipping pleasure. Enjoy!

Edmunds Elementary/Middle School

Simply put, kids love the grilled cheese. Working to feed almost 400 students, the cooks at Edmunds make about 25 grilled cheeses per day. Ranging from turkey pepperoni to kale pesto, there's a grilled cheese for everyone. It's a special sandwich made with care that helps fuel our youngest Vermonters.


Mad River Taste Place

In an attempt to create the most decadent and crazy sandwich on the planet, the Harbison Grilled Cheese was born. It starts with Red Hen Mad River Glen bread (notice a trend here), globs of Blake Hill Mission Figs with Pears and Honey and a fat spread of Harbison cheese from Jasper Hill Farm. Watch the video and try not to get hungry.


April 9, 2018

Over the weekend, the St. Albans Messenger published an article describing the progress farms have made on water quality in Franklin County. The report explains the Vermont Agency of Agriculture's relationship with farmers who are working hard and adopting new practices. All the farms that operate in the Lake Carmi watershed have made on-farm improvements to comply with the state's Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs). Laura DiPietro, the division's director says, "farmers have been doing what they say they've been doing."

Click here to read the full article.


April 4, 2018

Montpelier, Vt. – In a new report released by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM), Vermont schools called for an increased sourcing of Vermont-branded milk. While Vermont dairy farmers supply most of the milk served in Vermont schools, respondents reported difficulty finding milk from local distributors that also meet federal nutrition standards. The statewide survey, designed to inform the dairy industry about how Vermont schools engage with fluid milk, provides valuable information to help milk processors, bottlers, and distributors connect directly with schools.  Serving more than 13 million meals a year, Vermont schools demonstrate potential for market growth. The report includes recommendations and proposed projects schools and milk suppliers can use to build stronger relationships.

“Dairy farming is important to our economy, bringing in $2.2 billion in economic activity to Vermont each year,” said Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “Vermont’s schools are important to our dairy farmers. This report highlights an important partnership between farmers and schools that could lead to healthier students and a healthier rural economy.”

The survey, open to all schools in Vermont, had 101 respondents, most of whom were food service managers serving 65 percent (60,000) of Vermont K-12 students. The report details the challenges in milk service, and the interest among schools in changing how they serve milk. The survey indicated that almost all schools responding participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast program, which restricts the variety and amount of milk that schools can serve. Most schools (76%) serve milk in cartons, while other schools utilize bulk coolers, gallon jugs, individual bottles, and various combinations of the aforementioned serving methods. While most schools aren’t interested in changing their service methods, the report explores specific market opportunities for milk suppliers and distributors.

This report is a follow-up to the 2016 report, Milk Service in Vermont Schools: Decision Making Criteria, Best Practices and Case Studies, which aims to support schools in making informed decisions about milk service methods. This report was developed under the Vermont Farm to School Program, which helps schools develop and sustain relationships with local producers, enrich the educational experience of children, improve the health of Vermont children, and enhance Vermont’s agricultural economy.

To read the full report visit,

April 4, 2018

April 4, 2018 / Montpelier, VT - This week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Boston regional office announced that the Vermont Agency of Agriculture has made significant progress toward meeting the state’s water quality goals.

In a letter to the Agency dated April 2nd, EPA regional administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn noted, “Your staff have clearly been working hard to get new programs off the ground, rapidly award large amounts of new funding to priority phosphorus reduction projects, ramp up inspection programs and establish the new comprehensive tracking and accounting system. The many milestones that have been completed reflect this excellent progress.” 

This independent review means Vermont’s farmers, partners and the Agency are on the right track.  In fact, the Agency of Agriculture met all of its milestones with a perfect score; 14 out of 14. Benchmarks cited by the EPA as part of the Agency’s multi-year plan include a full revision of statewide rules for agricultural land management, training and certification for those who apply manure to the land, an increase in targeted conservation practices, and visiting every farm in the Missisquoi Bay watershed to better understand the land practices with a focus on education, outreach and inspections.

Dunn added “We commend the state for all the good work completed to date… thank you for your commitment to restoring Lake Champlain.” 

This encouraging report is part of a larger accountability agreement put in place by the EPA to monitor Vermont’s water quality progress. In 2016, after Vermont passed Act 64 of 2015 (the State’s Clean Water Act), the EPA established phosphorus pollution limits for Lake Champlain. These limits, termed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements, include a set of milestones the State must reach. To ensure the requirements are being met, the State must report to EPA each year. In response, the EPA delivers an annual report card that evaluates the State’s progress.

Agricultural water quality is a program that the Agency will continue to build upon. With leadership, Vermont’s farmers, watershed groups, and federal and state partners are all pulling together in the right direction. The work is not easy but with commitment, focus and collaboration our water quality efforts are expanding, and these programs and accomplishments are catching the eyes of stakeholders nationwide.

To view the EPA Report Card, visit:

Secretary Anson Tebbetts / Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets