Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rural VT "Warned" by the Agency of Agriculture... and I get a JOB!

Yesterday, our group received a letter warning us that we were acting outside the law by offering Raw Milk Cheese Classes. See the email from our direct Jared below for more information. Needless to say this caused for a busy day of brainstorming next steps, as we feel this is a right we want to protect. We met with the Agency to confirm their position and will work to make the next move with the help of our board.
In other news, I ran into the Governor today and he shook my hand and said he would like to hire me as a summer intern (unpaid.) Done and done! I was very happy to walk home along the river, in this Valley of a town and celebrate my success. To celebrate, I am going to the cafe, getting some good coffee and studying for the LSATs. Do I know how to live or what.
I will keep yall posted about developments on the cheese class issue.
Jared Carter wrote:
Our dairy classes have been put on hold due to
a Notice of Warning from the Agency of Agriculture’s alleging that by
teaching consumers (or “unlicensed persons” in his words) how to make butter,
yogurt, cheese, and other products at home Rural Vermont and our farmer hosts
are in violation of Vermont law. The raw dairy processing classes are an
important part of Rural Vermont’s campaign to educate consumers on raw milk and
to increase exposure for farmers selling raw milk in their community. The
warning threatened legal action towards Rural Vermont and our farmers. Rural
Vermont does not want to put our farmer members at risk so we are temporarily
suspending the classes.

The Agency’s argument centers around its
interpretation of the 2009 Raw Milk Law, in which they claim that it is illegal
for farmers to knowingly sell raw milk to customers who plan to do anything to
their milk besides drink it. Rural Vermont believes this violates the
intent of the law and does not agree with the Agency’s interpretation.
Nevertheless, until we have solid understanding of the Agency’s official
policy, we have decided to suspend the classes.

Keep in touch with us as we work to bring
recognition of farmer and consumer rights around raw dairy. Check our
website, where we will post updates as soon as we

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