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Each of the blog posts below focuses on one of the climate-friendly campaign’s five talking points, except for the last one, which focuses on the intersection of food access and climate-friendly farming. Feel free to make them your own or just copy, paste, and send! Each post includes a link to related photos and/or graphics, so everything you need is right here.
Jump to blog post theme:
- Organic practices protect natural resources
- Organically farmed soils release fewer greenhouse gasses
- Organic farms are more resilient to extreme weather events
- Organically farmed soils sequester greenhouse gasses
- Organic farms are good for communities
- Food Access
Support Organic, Protect Natural Resources, Save Our Climate
Conservation and regeneration of natural resources are core tenets of organic agriculture. They’re also key to fighting climate change. When you buy Vermont organic, you’re directly supporting our efforts to strengthen Vermont’s natural resources and build climate resilience.
How? For starters, instead of applying toxic pesticides and herbicides, Vermont organic farms opt for alternative practices that protect our waterways, air quality, and soils. Instead of suppressing biodiversity, we view the farm as an ecosystem, a habitat for many, and work with nature to support biodiversity, protecting wildlife and pollinators.
These practices not only reduce the effects of climate change, but develop our resilience to its consequences in a myriad of ways–here are just a couple of examples:
- Healthy waterways and soil hydrologies absorb heavy rain events, mitigating flood damage.
- Strong wildlife and pollinator populations keep food webs in check and ensure the proliferation of both wild and cultivated plant life.
- Healthy soils sequester carbon.
- And the reduction of greenhouse gasses (from opting out of hazardous fertilizers and pesticides) slows the very rate at which climate change develops.
Of course, each of these natural resources is connected to, and directly impacted by, its peers. Healthy soils support healthy wildlife populations, clean air protects pollinators, improved soil structure bolsters water quality, and so on. As one factor is strengthened, they all are. And that’s just what climate resilience is requiring of us: an investment in this complex, interconnected web of land and life, such that it can withstand the more extreme and less predictable effects we’ve come to expect from climate change. With effort and investment in the right places, we can develop climate resilience–and the Vermont organic farms stewarding our landscape are leading the way.
Every dollar spent on Vermont organic food represents a multitude of benefits beyond that tasty tomato or that tangy tub of yogurt. When you buy Vermont organic, you’re contributing towards a future with clean, swimmable, drinkable water; healthy wildlife and pollinator populations, fewer greenhouse gas emissions; and last but not least, an improved resilience to climate change as a result of all of the above. We thank you for your support of climate-friendly farming–we couldn’t do this work without it.
Buy Vermont Organic: The climate-friendly choice for fewer greenhouse gasses
Looking for a way to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions? Buy Vermont organic. Our climate-friendly farms do not use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which are some of the primary greenhouse gas generators–both in their production and application. Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, for example, are known to create emissions 300 times more harmful than carbon dioxide (Nitrous Oxide I’m lookin’ at you). As farms become certified organic, we see a demonstrable reduction in these dangerous emissions.
We also invest deeply in our soils, which, when strengthened by organic practices, are a massive asset to mitigating climate change and achieving resilience in its midst. Healthy soils sequester carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, methane, and other hazardous emissions, diverting them from the atmosphere, where they accelerate climate change. When sequestered by the soil’s biological processes, these compounds actually serve as nutrients, thus further boosting soil health, and reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.
When you buy Vermont organic, you’re taking concrete action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You’re voting with your dollar to fight climate change and facilitate a more resilient future for our children. And you’re joining others in a powerful communal effort.
We can mitigate climate change, and develop resilience to its effects, but to do so, we need to invest in the right systems, the right choices. Carbon-sequestering, emissions-diverting, soil-building Vermont organic farms are one of those right choices.
Buy Vermont Organic: Climate-smart farming for extreme weather events
One of climate change’s consequences is the increase of extreme, and less predictable, weather events. Vermont, specifically, is expected to see more frequent and intense rain, producing flooding on the scale that threatens homes, businesses, infrastructure, and communication. It’s a serious forecast for which we need serious prevention and mitigation measures. Enter: Vermont organic.
Our climate-friendly farms use a range of practices to increase the organic matter in our soil, improve its structure, and foster biodiversity. These upgrades strengthen our soil’s capacity to capture and absorb water, which in turn bolsters the land’s resilience to flooding and drought.
You can picture it: it’s a lot easier to erode the riverbank of a continually plowed monoculture with weak soils than it is the bank of a Vermont organic farm’s robust ecosystem with deep, biologically rich soils, interplanted crops, and riparian buffers. It’s also harder to flood that organic field when the soil is able to absorb high volumes of water in a short period of time, effectively stopping and sinking rain and/or floodwater in its tracks.
Of course, when a Vermont organic farm is able to withstand an extreme weather event, it will also be able to continue providing food for its community in the wake of flooding, drought, or other natural disasters. And community food security is a major determinant of climate resilience.
With climate change, we know the time to invest in systems that mitigate disasters and strengthen resilience is now. The practices we use to produce Vermont organic food are strengthening climate resilience, both across the landscape and in our communities. And it’s thanks to our customers–whose support enables these impacts in the first place. Every dollar spent on Vermont organic food invests in mitigating flood damage and strengthening community food security in times of need. That’s one of the reasons buying Vermont organic means buying climate smart–it means investing in a resilient future. Be a climate hero, buy Vermont organic.
Soils and Sequestration: Organic Farmers are Climate Farmers!
As the foundation responsible for all our tasty, nourishing food, soils are of the utmost importance to Vermont organic farmers. We study, labor for, and replenish our soils. We know them by name (zoom in here to learn the soil types in your area!), study their chemical composition, their structure, their strengths and weaknesses. Much of our work contributes to soil health in one way or another. That focus on the foundation of it all is one of the major reasons why Vermont organic farmers are, frankly, climate heroes. Soils are powerful matrices–complex ecosystems with the potential to fight climate change in a number of ways, namely by sequestering greenhouse gasses.
Soils are the basis of food production not just because they are the substrate in which our food grows, but because they play an important role in the cycling of many things: water, nutrients, and life itself, to name a few. Greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, well-known for their role in climate change, move in and out of soils at varying rates depending on soil health. Robust soils sequester these gasses in biological processes. When gasses are captured in this way, these otherwise dangerous compounds actually serve as nutrients for a rich web of life present in healthy soils, further improving soil health.
How do you get robust soils? Organic practices like composting, avoiding disturbance, encouraging on-farm biodiversity, and cover cropping all invigorate soil health.
And nothing succeeds like success: once the soil’s capacity to sequester gasses is strengthened, it sets off a virtuous cycle of healthier soil→more sequestration→healthier soil→more sequestration, which raises the soil’s ability to sequester gasses at an exponential rate.
To boil it down: when greenhouse gasses are emitted into the atmosphere, they accelerate climate change; when they’re sequestered in healthy soil, they slow it. Now that’s climate-friendly farming!
Wendell Berry once famously wrote that “eating is an agricultural act”. When you eat Vermont organic, that very act supports the sequestration of greenhouse gasses, and in so doing, reduces climate change. As conscious stewards of Vermont soils, your local organic farmers take pride in sequestration, a feat we couldn’t perform without your support.
Buy Vermont Organic: Protect our health, our climate & our community
Vermont organic farmers care. We could make our living a lot easier with some petrochemical, monoculture, soil-degrading short cuts, but we take the long way because those shortcuts don’t sit well with us. Our practices take more time, more labor than many of their conventional counterparts, but we’ve opted Vermont organic because these practices contribute to the health of our customers, our community, and our climate, instead of detracting from them. And we care about that.
In this era of climate change, contributing to our community’s health and resilience feels more important than ever. And when you buy Vermont organic, you’re contributing too–not only to your own family’s health, but to that of neighbors near and far. How?
- Starting with consumer health: organic foods have been shown to have higher levels of beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, a 2014 analysis concluded that switching to organic fruits and vegetables could give the same benefits as adding one or two portions of the recommended "five a day," due to higher nutrient levels, as well as reducing exposure to harmful heavy metals and pesticides. Organic certification standards prohibit toxic herbicides and pesticides, antibiotics, artificial hormones, and genetically modified organisms. Exposure to organophosphate pesticides in the womb has been correlated with lowered IQ scores in children, and children fed organic diets have been shown to have fewer pesticides in their bodies.
- And expanding to community health: these same toxic chemicals that contaminate the food they treat also contaminate surrounding waterways, airways, and soils, where they continue to pose health risks for those that come in contact with them farther afield.
So when you buy Vermont organic, you can rest assured that your food is free of toxic petrochemicals, and that Vermont’s communities are cleaner too.
Vermont organic practices contribute to the climate resiliency of our communities, too. We improve our soil, water, and air quality with practices like crop rotation, cover crops, and composting. By nourishing the soil, we sequester carbon, reduce harmful waste runoff, and help ensure that our farmland will continue to be fertile and productive into the future. Our farms are more resilient to the increased rain and flooding we expect to see as a result of climate change. All that to say: we’re in it for the long haul—come drought or high water, we’re better equipped to provide food for our communities, and our practices ensure they’ll be more resilient to the effects of climate change, too.
Lastly, the presence of local, resilient farms is at the heart of community self-sufficiency–a trait that is likely to prove critical in climate resilience. Towns and regions able to produce their own necessities (ahem…food!) will be far more resilient to the disruptions and losses of climate change than those reliant on faraway providers and producers. And in the meantime, organic farms create 21% more jobs than conventional farms, helping to sustain viable communities. Buying Vermont organic keeps money in the local economy.
When you buy Vermont organic, you’re investing in local–local food, local communities, local resilience. And we are so grateful for that support, which makes it all possible. Now that’s a virtuous cycle!
Climate-Friendly Food for All
Everyone, regardless of circumstance, should have access to local, organic food that is nourishing. In Vermont, a household’s income needn’t necessarily determine whether or not they’re able to access the healthy, climate-friendly food produced by Vermont organic farms. That’s largely thanks to Community Food Security Programs from NOFA-VT, which take a range of approaches to ensure Vermont organic food is accessible to all.
These programs not only make it easy for Vermont farmers’ markets and farm stands to accept SNAP-EBT benefits, but at many locations, they double the value of those benefits (for example: spend $10 in benefits, get $10 more to spend!). They subsidize CSA shares and provide free Vermont organic produce to seniors at participating housing sites. The Vermont Department of Children and Families also offers a program called Farmers to Families, available to Vermonters that either enroll in WIC or meet an income threshold, which provides coupons for fresh, local produce at participating farmers’ markets and farm stands.
Vermont school cafeterias are another arena where Vermont organic food can be accessed for free or at reduced cost. Local communities, nonprofits, schools, and state government have all worked together in recent years to facilitate more sourcing of local food in Vermont schools. An exciting recent development in this trend was The Local Purchasing Incentive for Vermont Schools, signed by Governor Phil Scott in 2021. This act provides a direct incentive to schools that meet local purchasing targets in their school meal programs, thus encouraging Vermont schools to serve more Vermont food. Many Vermont organic farms provide food to their local schools, and with this support, we are likely to see even more climate-friendly Vermont organic food on school menus.
These programs and initiatives aren’t new, but they have been gaining traction and participation in recent years. And the best part is: there’s no scarcity in this system–the more Vermonters that express interest in these programs, the more these programs will be funded. Never worry that one’s participation in a program is taking the opportunity away from someone in greater need. We hope everyone eligible and interested will seek out the programs suited to their circumstances.