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Putney Public Forum: WHere is the Place for Diversified Agriculture in Vermont’s Future?

Local Legislators, Sen. Jeanette White, Rep. David Deen and Rep. Mike Mrowicki will host a public forum at the Putney Firehouse (Rt 5 ,Putney) on Thursday July 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 on
“Where is the Place for Diversified Agriculture in Vermont’s Future?”

Since humans have inhabited these Green Hills , Agriculture has been at the heart of Vermont life.As a rural state with a small population, agriculture is still an integral part of our culture and identity.

As times change and agriculture continues to evolve, Agriculture in Vermont is no longer primarily dairy. Even our Vermont Department of Agriculture has evolved into the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, with a stated mission to “…facilitate, support and encourage the growth and viability of agriculture while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health,consumers and the environment.”.

In conjunction with that, The Vermont Legislature has established the Vermont’s Working Lands Initiative, which likewise recognizes change and the need for diverse use of our precious land. Through grants and technical assistance , the state encourages sustainable practices that include ,”agriculture, food systems, forestry and forest products based businesses in a landscape that is approximately 20 per cent ag and 75 percent forestry.”

What does all this mean, then, for Vermont’s future and Vermonters?

Across the state,and the nation, there are instances where conflicts have arisen from different perspectives on this . Where someone thinks using their front lawn as an experiment in small scale permaculture is just fine, others might think front lawns are for grass, flowers and shrubs only.

Where someone thinks the only way to insure the chicken and eggs they eat are wholesome and fresh, is to raise them, some neighbors are not interested in hearing a rooster each sunrise.

Across the state and here in Putney, the questions are being asked, “what works…and where?”

As we move forward into the future, this forum is an exercise in civil discourse, not a rehash of old conflicts. This is an opportunity to forge a way forward. We need to hear from you, to help inform local legislators on the direction of future policy, not just for Putney but across our state.

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