Free Movie – May 6 at 7pm

RAFFL’s Free Movie Night is only two days away!!  We’re showing the 2014 movie, Chef.

This free event is RAFFL’s way of saying THANK YOU to everyone in our community who supports local farms, local food, and local businesses. The free movie night is on Wednesday, May 6 at the Paramount Theater in downtown Rutland.

Join us on May 6, and invite your friends! Show starts at 7pm. Watch the trailer.

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Join the Rutland Area Shepards!

The Rutland Area Shepherds (RAS) supports, educates, and advocates for its members and promotes the value and sustainability of sheep, lamb, and wool.  Member farm are located around the Rutland area.  New members who are interested in sheep-related agriculture are always welcome to join! Dues are only $12 per year!

For over 20 years, RAS has sponsored and run the Pittsford Sheep Festival on Columbus Day weekend.  In addition to sheep dog demonstrations, shearing, and our new feature “Leaping of the Lambs,” the festival is a way to show the community what we do and provide an opportunity to sell our products. We also have member farm work parties at which we have put up fencing, cleared fields, and emptied barns!

RAS meets monthly at member farms where they discuss and help each other with sheep related problems, have occasional guest speakers, and plan for future events.  Find out more about RAS at: www.vermontshepards.com or contact us at: info@vermontshepards.com.

 

Scale Testing

The following is information being circulated by the Agency of Ag about days they will be set up around the state for scale testing (it is REQUIRED and it is FREE).  Mark it on your calendars now- it’s an easy thing to check off your to-do list very early in the season.

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Scale Testing

The Consumer Protection Section of The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets will be hosting multiple scale inspection events around the state during March and April for anyone who uses scale(s) at farmers’ markets or farm stands to sell produce or other commodities. This testing is required by law, and the Agency would like to encourage producers to take advantage of these testing dates as they will replace the Agency’s annual visits to Vermont farmers’ markets.  This will allow the Agency to perform these inspections in a more efficient manner in a way that creates less disruption to you and the farmers’ markets.

Please plan to attend one of the inspection events listed below.  Bring your legal for trade scale, and any accessories that you use with it for weighing items for sale.

The following is a list of dates and locations for the testing in our area. Most sites will be at Agency of Transportation (AOT) garage sites. Hours for each location will be 9:00am – 3:00pm. You can come anytime during our open hours. The test should take around 10 minutes per scale.

  • AOT – Bennington, 359 Bowen Rd. – Thursday, April 2, 2015
  • AOT – Clarendon, 1628 Route 7B – Tuesday, April 7, 2015
  • AOT – Middlebury, 341 Creek Rd. – Wednesday, April 8, 2015

 

 

Community Solar Arrays

Do you have an acre or two of land currently not in use? Why not use it to help community go solar?

SunCommon is seeking land in Rutland County to host some of our exciting new Community Solar Arrays. SunCommon is a mission-driven Vermont solar company and it’s our goal to make it easy and affordable for any Vermonter to go solar.

With each array in our Community Solar program, 25-30 households can become members. How it works is that they pay a fixed monthly membership fee that earns them solar credits and replaces their energy bill. Throughout their membership they’re guaranteed an energy savings no matter the current utility rate!

What we’re looking for is approximately 1-3 acres of open, non-forested land.  Anyone interested should get in touch, at which point we’ll do a viability check to make sure it’s a suitable site.

Here’s how you benefit:

      We compensate you for use of the land

      You get first claim on as much of the array as you’d like

      After you, we give membership priority to your community – making you a solar hero to your friends and neighbors!

Interested? Get in touch with Mike McCarthy at 802-233-7587 or mike@suncommon.com.

RAFFL New Farmer Coaching Day – 12/19 in Rutland

The first of 4 New Farmer Coaching Days is fast approaching!  Next Friday, December 19th RAFFL’s New Farmer Program Coordinator Jen Miller will be available for appointments and drop-in sessions from 9:00-3:00 at Speakeasy Cafe in Rutland.  Check out the FAQs below to learn more.

Who are coaching sessions for?

  • Coaching sessions are for any aspiring or beginning farmers (up to 10 years of experience)

What can I expect at a coaching session?

  • A coaching session usually lasts about 1 hour. Generally some time will be spent providing some relevant background about your farm (or the farm you are planning) and your goals.  Then you may use the session to discuss anything you would like about your farm- some aspect of the business you are looking to improve, learn more about, or just need to talk through.  At the end of the coaching session, you can expect support in the form of referrals to resources and an action plan to help you lay out your next steps and be successful in achieving your farm goals.

Who will I have a coaching session with?

  • Coaching sessions will be with Jen Miller, RAFFL’s New Farmer Program Coordinator. She started in this position in July after farming for seven years- five in Burlington’s Intervale.  Jen has experience managing diversified vegetable farms, raising small livestock and poultry, and managing the CSA program at the Intervale Food Hub.

Should I schedule an appointment or just show up?

  • Either! However, please be aware that if you just show-up you may have to wait awhile as priority will go to those with scheduled appointments.  If the dates below do not work for you, feel free to contact Jen to make an appointment for another day.

How do I make an appointment for a coaching session?

NOFA-VT’s Journey Farmer Program – Application Deadline 12/15!

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) is currently accepting applications for their 2015 Journey Farmer Program. The Journey Farmer Program is a two-year program for beginning farmers who are in the first few years of running their own farming enterprise in Vermont. The program is largely shaped by thefarming interests and goals of the Journey Farmers, and enables aspiring new farmers to advance their farming skills and experiences, along with being a part of a learning community of other aspiring farmers and farmer mentors.

NOFA-VT’s Journey Farmer program began in 2011, and to date 23 Journey Farmers have participated. Three to five new Journey Farmers will be added to the program for 2015.  The Journey Farmer program was developed to help farmers successfully bridge the gap from education and apprenticeships to viable commercial enterprises. The program provides several offerings to help reach these goals, including farmer-to-farmer mentoring, free admission into NOFA-VT’s Summer Workshop Series and Winter Conference, business planning support, access to technical assistance, and an educational stipend.

Journey Farmers also become part of a supportive network made up of other beginning farmers and farmer mentors by participating in special gatherings, educational offerings and events. “My mentorship with another farmer has helped my farmbecome more sustainable financially, and has helped guide me through my farming years,” said past participant Nate Lewis of Moonlight Farm.

Applications and resumes are due by December 15, 2014. Couples and/or business partners should submit one joint application. If you have any questions regarding the program, criteria for selection, or the application please contact Rachel Fussell, Education Coordinator, at rachel@nofavt.org.

On-Farm Composting in Rutland Area

Hi all- See the message below from Alex- he’s helping the Rutland Solid Waste District research composting options in our area and is looking to talk to farmers who are potentially interested in getting involved!

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Hi,

My name is Alex Utevsky and I am currently doing some technical assistance work for the Rutland County Solid Waste Management District. One of the things they have asked for help with is identifying a farm in the Rutland area who might be interested in receiving food scraps (“Source-Separated-Organics” or SSO) on their farm.
This could be a vegetable farmer who wants to import more nutrients onto their farm, or a livestock farmer who has abundant composting feedstocks and could therefore easily compost food scraps.   Another possibility that seems to be an increasing trend is for egg producers to receive food scraps as a feed supplement or alternative feed source. In fact, while working with Highfields Center for Composting I recently had the opportunity to assist Wheaton Squier in Tinmouth to launch a food-scrap collection/ chicken-feeding operation.
I think any of these types of operations could work; the most important factor being a farm that is has the capacity and desire to incorporate an integrated enterprise into their current operations and who sees the multiple values of on-farm composting of SSO.
Please contact me with any questions or interest.
Thanks,
Alex Utevsky
Compost Technical Services
802-535-1766
alex@composttechnicalservices.com