Agriculture

“Vermont Economic Solutions Act” would see VT grow most of its own food

Photo Credit Vermont Agency of Agriculture

by Guy Page

A new House bill would create a 21-member council to make a plan for Vermont to grow the majority of its food within five years.

The newly created Council on the Economic Future of Vermont would also plan to strengthen rural infrastructure, increase Vermont household income to the top fifth in the nation, and address and prevent adverse childhood experiences.

H57, the Vermont Economic Solutions Act, is sponsored by Rep. John Gannon (D-Wilmington), vice-chair of the Government Operations Committee, and Dave Yacovone (D-Morristown), a member of House Appropriations. It is scheduled to be introduced soon.

The council would have 21 members, with 11 members appointed by the Administration, five by the House, and five by the Senate, and will meet monthly through January 2022. The bill provides funding to the Joint Fiscal Office for a contract to staff the work and manage performance and for per diem compensation for non-administration members. The Council would deliver its economic development plan to the General Assembly on or before January 15, 2022 for consideration and approval.

In 2017, about 14% of food sold in Vermont reportedly was grown in Vermont. Instate food production has been on the increase in recent decades, according to a 2020 report by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture: “From 2007 to 2017 (the last year this data was available) Vermont food system economic output expanded 48%, from $7.5 billion to $11.3 billion. Food manufacturing, the second-largest manufacturing industry in Vermont, accounts for $3 billion (26.5%) of this economic output. Over 64,000 Vermonters are directly employed by over 11,500 farms and food-related businesses. From 2009 to 2018, net new food system employment increased by 6,529 jobs (11.2%).”

Categories: Agriculture

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13 replies »

  1. We already grow much of our food. If you want more, have your own garden. This would restrict foods that cannot survive in a cooler/colder environment or our rocky soils and a whole host of other reasons. Get real!

    • Another 21 member Commission to ………….? Baloney?? – that is a food!
      Last Commision was weather, or education or what the HEELL?

      Wasn;t it New Gov Scott who wondered aloud how many hundreds of “Commissions” had been
      created and funded.
      They gave up – couldn;t figure out how many useless “Commissions” had been created

  2. Vermont legislators seem to be in the business of creating adjunct jobs to fantasize look good – feel good “solutions”. If the legislature would entertain testimony from existing farmers and prior farmers, who had to close their farms, maybe they would see a cause – effect between never ending taxation and regulation without relief and the business environment to operate a successful farm.

  3. Soooo let me see if I understand. Folks have a vision of some more-better enlightened future. They forgo the missionary work necessary to convince the rest of us to join in with them to make this view of the future come into being. Instead they scheme to try to MAKE us to the “right thing” with laws and regulations. Is that about it? Well ok — we’re compliant…we’ll do as we’re told… good luck with that.

  4. Ah yes. Here come the central planners. Joseph and Vladimir would be proud! It only took 104 years for communism to find its way into the People’s Republic of Vermont!

  5. I was raised on a Vermont farm and it saddens me to think of all the farms Vermont has lost over the years. I support this goal of increasing agricultural production. I put out an article last year about reviving our rural economy. Our rural towns are in need of an economic boost and I hope they will cut some taxes and regulations on farmers. Well designed green houses, barns and milking parlors can help farmers stay competitive but, taxes & regulations are a big burden in Vermont.

  6. The GWSA is a very bad act,and it must be understood that Vermonters cannot afford a 23 member unelected board and all the California style ideas;has anyone ever noticed that California is in chaos and financially ruined,just like Vermont?How can our legislators give any credibility to such a bad Act?Nobody if Vermont has money for more taxes!!

  7. Ah yes. Here come the central planners. First they control our health care through Obamacare and now they are going to control our food supply. It only took 104 years for the communism to make its way from Moscow to the People’s Republic of Vermont. Well done comrades. Joseph and Vladimir would be proud of you.

  8. I’m in favor of Vermont produced food, but I would have to have a local market free of nepotism before I would go back growing vegetable. It makes no sense to import our greens and vegetable from 2 or 3,000 miles away if we can economically grow it here, and 70% of our lamb comes from New Zealand and Australia. It’s time to talk…

  9. I’m fully behind local food and seeing if we can bring back local farms again by getting out of their way with endless regulations. This is especially true for dairy farms. Let them sell raw milk and let’s bring it into our stores like CT and NH.

    And, instead of the big daddy (oh, right… I can use gender words anymore) commissions, why not provide financial support and/or incentives for local farmers?

    We also need more bees and flowers for bees. Let’s learn from Slovenia where bee hives are everywhere….backyards, schools, parks, etc. Some are very tiny while some are very large. It doesn’t matter the size. The idea is to have them spread out everywhere.

  10. Another comission of highly paid, expensive to the taxpayer individuals? 21 of them? I read how much the 23 member global warming solutions act will cost with their 60,000 a year salaries plus benefits and travel expenses. Vermont is a tiny state with a bloated state bureaucracy which is getting ever bigger. how can we continue this draining on our state coffers?

  11. I’m all for local food production, but it’s laughable that the state apparatus wants to have a hand in it given that they are largely responsible for the demise of the local farm thanks to endless regulation and permitting mazes.

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