Root Words
Forestry for the Climate

Forestry for the Climate

July 11, 2022

The green mountains are a forested landscape and many folks interact with forests for work and recreation.  While about 6.5% of Vemont’s land area is human development, around 78% of the state is forested.  Human activities and forests play different roles in the natural cycling of carbon.  During photosynthesis Vermont forests take in about 45% of the state’s annual carbon emissions.  

As atmospheric carbon builds up and creates uncertain conditions for Vermont’s future landscape, some folks are working to elevate the forest’s role in the carbon cycle, with the hope that more Vermonters will not just see our forests as peaceful sanctuaries, wildlife habitat, and timber resource, but as a key element in mitigating some of the worst effects of climate change.  

For this episode I visited Tim Stout on his family land on a rainy summer morning in Shrewsbury.  Tim’s family has owned this mountainside property for generations, and he’s managed the forest with intention for decades.  

Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal program (widely known as current use) provides a tax benefit by enabling eligible private landowners who practice long-term forestry or agriculture to have their land appraised based on the property’s value of production of wood or food rather than its residential or commercial development value. As of January 2021, there were nearly 16,000 forestland parcels enrolled, more than half of Vermont’s total privately-owned forestland.

Carbon credit markets are an emerging resource for private landowners.  In these markets a carbon credit is equal to the equivalent of one metric ton of CO2.  Tim is enrolled in the Family Forest Carbon Program.  Developed by the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy, the Family Forest Carbon Program enables family forest owners to access carbon markets and earn income from their land.  

The American Forest Foundation sells verified carbon credits to companies and pays landowners to implement new carbon-minded management practices. 

Tim’s passion to create a more resilient forest and a better future for his grandchildren has connected him to his neighbors, academic experts, and to the land he stewards.  

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell.

Special thanks to Tim Stout and Northam Forest Carbon. 

To learn more about Tim’s work to connect landowners with climate conscious management resources visit northamforestcarbon.com  To find your county forester or learn more about Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal program visit fpr.vermont.gov. 

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online

Universal School Meals- VT Legislative Update

Universal School Meals- VT Legislative Update

May 23, 2022

At the start of this year’s legislative session in Vermont we took a closer look at the campaign to make school meals universal.  It’s one of the really important food access issues that the state house took on this year and with the legislative session coming to a close we’ve decided to check back in with Teddy Waszazak, Hunger Free Vermont’s Universal School Meals campaign manager, for an update on what’s coming out of the legislature this session.  

We spoke with Teddy and school nutrition director Harley Sterling at length on this topic in Episode 19: Universal School Meals, and if you haven’t heard that episode it’s worth going back and giving it a listen before listening to this episode.  

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell.

Special thanks to Teddy Waszazak and Hunger Free Vermont. 

To learn more about Hunger Free Vermont’s work to support equitable access to nutrition visit www.hungerfreevt.org

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online

A Morning at the Farmer’s Market (Rebroadcast)

A Morning at the Farmer’s Market (Rebroadcast)

May 2, 2022

In this episode we go shopping, and explore some of the differences between shopping at the farmer's market and the supermarket, and of course we meet some farmers along the way. 

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell.

Special thanks to Greg Cox, Katie Stickney, NOFA-VT, Dr. David Conner, WEXP, and the Saltash Serenaders.

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online

 

Foraging (Rebroadcast)

Foraging (Rebroadcast)

April 11, 2022

Before there was home delivery, before there were supermarkets, before there was refrigeration, even before people cooked their food, people fed themselves and their families by foraging their landscape.  Collecting food, medicine, or provisions from our environment is perhaps the closest we can get to our food-source, and the places we live.  Much of the world continues a healthy relationship to their home though foraging, and even here in the US, foraging is having a re-emergence spurred by revivals of tradition and quests for self-sufficiency and connection to one’s landscape, even in urban environments.  

On this episode I head into the woods with my brother Pete, and connect with a few inspired foraging folks: Walter Collins and Tina Picz. 

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell

Special thanks to Walter Collins, Tina Picz, and the VT Foragers community for ID support and inspiration.  

To learn more, check out Vermont Foragers on Facebook and Tina Picz on Instagram at VermontFoodPhoto.  You can learn more about Vermont Releaf Collective at www.vtreleafcollective.org.  For a real treat, and this is highly recommended, check out Alexis Nikole Nelson Instagram or Facebook @blackforager. 

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online 

Note: I find a lot of rejuvenation, and food, from foraging, and would like to see the practice available to more people.  If you are a landowner, please consider allowing people to access the land for hunting, fishing, foraging, and recreation.  If someone comes to your door to ask permission please be open to the conversation.  There are some important things in life that cannot be found in a grocery store or pharmacy. And if you don’t have a necessary reason, consider not posting your land. 

Sugaring in Vermont (Update)

Sugaring in Vermont (Update)

March 21, 2022

As we come out of winter, the energy of spring starts flowing in our forests again.  Cold nights and warm days don’t just mean muddy roads, they mean the sap’s flowing again, and it’s sugar season.  All over the state folks are boiling in outdoor kettles, homemade evaporators, and sugar houses. In celebration of the season, we’re putting out this Sugaring in Vermont episode from our archive.  The episode features a lot of folks from a story gathering we hosted in 2019, including Grace Korzun.  Grace passed away this past October, and we’d like to dedicate this episode re-release in her memory.  Hope you enjoy, and thanks for listening.

In this episode we explore the the tree that connects so many of us to place and community, the sugar maple.

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell, Kara Fitzbeauchamp, and special guest Jessee Lawyer of The Dawnland Kitchen.

Special thanks to Greg Cox, Grace Brigham, WEXP, and the Saltash Serenaders.

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online 

 
Family Food Security and the Parent-Child Center

Family Food Security and the Parent-Child Center

January 24, 2022

About a quarter of children in Vermont have faced food insecurity over the course of the pandemic, but it’s estimated that one in ten Vermonters were already dealing with food insecurity before the pandemic.  

A patchwork of agencies and organizations work to blunt the most severe outcomes of inequity in the food system, disproportionately felt by BIPOC Vermonters and women and children.  On this episode of Root Words we’ll connect with Joleen Durfee, director of the food access & education program at the Parent-Child Center of Rutland County, and we’ll hear how she works to bring joy and empowerment into the community.

But first, we check in with Keely Agan of Hunger Free Vermont.  

Passionate folks like Joleen and Keely are working around the state to balance some of the inequities in the food system, while honoring folks' innate dignity.  There’s a lot of work to do to create a more just food system, and we’ll continue to share stories of the folks reimagining the food system here on Root Words.   

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell.

Special thanks to Keely Agan, Joleen Durfee, and Rutland’s Parent-Child Center. 

To learn more about the Parent-Child Center of Rutland County’s programs or what you can do to get involved, visit www.rcpcc.org. If you’re interested in joining your county’s hunger council visit www.hungerfreevt.org.  

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online 

Universal School Meals

Universal School Meals

January 17, 2022

About 79,000 students go in and out of classrooms each school day in Vermont’s public schools.  Some may be learning to add and multiply, some to speak a new language, and some to fix a small engine, but all of them will get hungry, and need to refuel their bodies to help their minds grow.  

Feeding all of these growing students is no small task and it connects parents and care-givers, all levels of government, farmers near and all-too-often far, and a web of federal programs. In Vermont, it’s estimated that nearly a quarter of children are facing hunger.    

On this episode of Root Words we’ll hear how the pandemic has changed school meals and how some hope some of the changes stick while we explore universal school meals.  We’ll hear from Teddy Waszazak, universal school meals campaign manager of Hunger Free Vermont later in the episode, but first let’s reconnect with Harley Sterling, school nutrition director of Windham Northeast Supervisory Union.  

Hunger Free Vermont is working to level the playing field in public education, making sure student needs are met. 

Teddy Waszazak remembers what it was like to be a kid facing food insecurity growing up, and that empathy feeds his work as universal school meals campaign manager for Hunger Free Vermont.  

Teddy and the folks at Hunger Free Vermont are working to ensure that students continue to receive a nutritious breakfast and lunch everyday.  Bill S.100 is in the house education committee, and has been paired back to only include universal breakfast at this time.  Hunger Free Vermont has begun briefing legislators, and continues to fight for universal lunch.  

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell

Special thanks to Teddy Waszazak, Harley Sterling, and Hunger Free Vermont. 

To learn more about Hunger Free Vermont’s Universal Meals campaign visit www.universalschoolmealsvt.org.  

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online 

Taking Space, Vermont RELEAF Collective

Taking Space, Vermont RELEAF Collective

January 10, 2022

Tina Picz, a forager, food photographer and food stylist in the Mad River Valley addresses equity and justice in food systems through conversations she facilitates on her social media channels.

These conversations center and uplift the voices of food sovereignty workers, and create space for BIPOC leaders in food systems, land use, and health.   

On this episode of Root Words we’ll explore the importance of affinity spaces for BIPOC Vermonters while experiencing their foodways. We’ll hear from Olivia Pena, founder of Vermont RELEAF Collective, a network by and for Black, Indigenous, & People of Color advancing Racial Equity in Land, Environment, Agriculture, & Foodways and we’ll reconnect with Tina Picz.  

RELEAF practices 3 main initiatives: Building Community, Sharing Opportunities, and Amplifying voices. 

This past November I got a chance to connect with Olivia Pena, Vermont RELEAF’s founder and community organizer, to learn about why she was inspired to launch the RELEAF Collective in Vermont.  

Our connections with the Land, our Environment, Agriculture, and our Foodways are deep in Vermont and deeply tied to quality of life for all Vermonters, though many of the decisions regarding our connections with these things happen in white spaces, and the stories that are shared of leaders in these fields have been pretty whitewashed for a long time. 

But, all that is shifting and networks of BIPOC farmers, environmentalists, and food sovereignty advocates, like the folks of Vermont RELEAF Collective, are amplifying the voices of folks that have a lot to contribute to the future of Vermont’s foodways and land use, while also creating space for folks that break the mould of who a farmer can be in Vermont. 

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell

Special thanks to Tina Picz, Olivia Pena, and Vermont RELEAF Collective. 

To learn more, check out Vermont RELEAF Collective at www.vtreleafcollective.org. You can find Tina Picz on Instagram at VermontFoodPhoto.

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online

 

Bison and Home Butchering

Bison and Home Butchering

December 13, 2021

This past week during an interview for root words I started getting a storm of messages coming in over my phone and it turns out that my brother Pete got a deer late one afternoon just before the snow storm came in. My father and I loaded up the car and a plastic sled and headed out To help drag. The whole ordeal took us three hours left is all good and tired. This weekend the family convened to do at home butchering of this harvested deer and I thought it would be nice to present a short snapshot of our amateur process, With a little professional context from my conversation at farmers market with Hunter Hubbard of Mountainview Bison in North Clarendon, Vermont.

Today, most folks probably haven’t had the experience of processing their own meat from an animal they’ve raised or harvested, even if they’ve been a meat eater their entire lives.  In many ways it can be like taking on a large gardening project, it can be a bit daunting to get into, a lot of hard work, and very rewarding and educational.  

As I mentioned in episode 13: Hunting, A Family Tradition, my father and uncle learned to process deer from their father, and from Uncle Lindy the family butcher.  Pete and I have stirred up this tried and true family tradition and knowledge a bit by incorporating some stuff we learned on the internet.  There are YouTube how-to’s on everything, and we can’t resist cosplaying our Italian heritage with the search for a delectable Osso Buco cut.   

We may have fallen short of the perfect Osso Buco, but we did make some more family memories, and we will make some great family dinners.  

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell.

Special thanks to Hunter Hubbard from Mountain View Bison, my father Peter, my brother Pete, uncle Mike, and farmer Scott for letting us use his barn to process Pete’s deer.  

To learn more about Mountain View Bison, look them up on FaceBook.  

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online

 

Abenaki Land Link Part II: Tribal Gardens, Processing, and Distribution

Abenaki Land Link Part II: Tribal Gardens, Processing, and Distribution

December 6, 2021

A lot of Abenaki folks as well as community partners are rebuilding Abenaki Foodways- growing, processing, and distributing Abenaki crops.

On this episode we hear from a few Abenaki gardeners, Chief Shirly Hook of the Koas Abenaki and Michael Descoteaux.  And later we hear what it takes to get from garden to plate, while we connect with Roland Bluto and Joe Bossen.  

The Abenaki Land Link project addresses the overlapping challenges of how to develop contemporary Abenaki foodways inside a western colonized food system while creating food security for a people historically removed from land access.  The project also opens opportunities for Abenaki and non- Abenaki folks to partner on solutions to these complex challenges.   If you would like to support the Abenaki in their journey towards food sovereignty, you can connect with Zea Luce at NOFA-VT about becoming a Land Link grower, and by keeping an eye out for Abenaki branded products.  

This episode was produced by Stephen Abatiell

Special thanks to Chief Shirly Hook, Michael Descoteaux, Roland Bluto, and Joe Bossen.

To learn more about the Abenaki Land Link program or to sign up as a grower visit nofavt.org.  Learn more about Chief Don Stevens’ food sovereignty work at abenakitribe.org, and to learn more about what Joe Bossen is up to in the kitchen, check out vermontbeancrafters.com. 

Root Words is produced in the heart of Rutland County Vermont and is made possible by generous support from listeners like you.  You can support Root Words by visiting us Online

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