Intervale Center Settles Compost Dispute;”More than just Compost” is new Intervale ThemeBurlington, Vermont – The Intervale Center and the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) approved a settlement in principle with the Vermont Attorney General to allow for continued compost operations in the Intervale and the settling of environmental violations related to composting in the Intervale.In a separate agreement, the Intervale Center will lease the Compost operations on its current site in the Intervale to CSWD for a period of up to three years, after which the CSWD will relocate the compost facility to a new site in Chittenden County. This outcome preserves five local jobs in the compost operation and provides a more stable situation for the Intervale Center to continue its core focus on the development of local food systems. The partnership between the Interval Center and CSWD offers a firm foundation for a continued local system to divert organic wastes from landfills. “Having gone through this arduous and expensive regulatory process, I am pleased that we have come to an agreement that will ultimately mean improved and expanded organic waste diversion in our region, while enabling two organizations to do what they do best,” said Intervale Center Executive Director Glenn McRae. “The Intervale Center will now be able to focus its full attention on building a robust and sustainable local food system.”McRae also offered that, “A lot of credit goes to the Chittenden Solid Waste District for their efforts past and present in making this work. The Intervale Center established and ran Vermont’s largest compost operation for 21 years. Now the Chittenden Solid Waste District will take the recycling of food and organic waste to where it needs to be for the future.”The Intervale Center’s mission is to develop farm- and land-based enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity while protecting natural resources. Through the Center’s 20 years of operation, almost 350 acres of formerly abandoned, historically significant agricultural land in Burlington’s Intervale have been reclaimed and put to productive agricultural, recreational, and conservation use. The various enterprises in the Intervale support approximately 100 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs in agriculture and farms in the Intervale. The agreement with the CSWD will enable the Intervale Center to focus anew on programs that help support viable farms, increase access to fresh local produce, protect water quality through stream bank restoration, and educate young people about agriculture and healthy food.While media attention has been focused on the compost operation’s regulatory strife, much more has continued to grow and happen in the Intervale.–The Intervale Center stewards 350 acres of land with 12 successful, independent farms, which supplied more than 1 million pounds of fresh organic foods to Burlington and the region last year.–The Healthy City Program, employing 25 at-risk youth for the summer, ran a farm operation and won national recognition-the World Hunger Year Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award-for its creative approach to hunger prevention. The youth project ran a successful community-supported agriculture (CSA) effort despite summer flooding challenges and became the largest local supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables to the Burlington School District.–This year the Intervale Center launched the Food Basket, a multi-farm drop-box program that brings together high-quality vegetables, fruits, meats, and cheese from some of the best farmers in Vermont, and delivers this produce weekly to 120 members at their places of employment.–The Intervale Conservation Nursery survived a devastating fire in its storage area in the spring, and proved quite nimble in salvaging inventory for sale and stabilizing its position so that it could continue its growth toward self-sufficiency. The Nursery worked throughout the state with multiple partners to protect miles of stream and river frontage in cooperation with agricultural uses.–Success on Farms, a support and consulting operation for Vermont farms in partnership with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, continued its efforts to aid Vermont farmers in growing independent and successful enterprises throughout the state.–The Intervale Center and the Association of Africans Living in Vermont launched New Farms for New Americans, a market garden project that helps the immigrant and refugee population develop farming enterprises and feed their families.–Efforts to enhance community access and recreational enjoyment of the riches of the Intervale continue as a result of the work of the Intervale Center.”In the last year, with so much focus on compost, it was easy to forget that the Intervale Center, now celebrating 20 years of operations, is so much more and will continue its work in a number of new and exciting ventures connected to our local community,” said Executive Director Glenn McRae.###
Rep Cedric Richmond WASHINGTON, CMC – The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has renewed its criticism of the Trump administration following its latest attack on low-income immigrants of color, including Caribbean immigrants.Letter sent to ICEIn a letter to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the CBC wrote that a proposal to restrict green cards for immigrants who are likely to use public assistance programs, such as Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicare Part D, is “racially discriminatory and a reverse of what Congress intended.”The CBC said that the justification for the proposal is “inaccurate and incomplete.”The December 10 letter was signed by CBC chairman Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana, and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Democrat of New York, who also serves as the CBC Immigration Task Force Chair. Clarke, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants.The CBC’s letter is a follow-up to one dispatched to US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in September.“We are writing as members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to express our strong opposition to your agency’s proposed rule concerning public charge determinations. The proposed rule would cause major harm to immigrants, their families, state and local governments, health care providers and numerous other parties throughout the nation.“Black immigrants, who comprise only 8.7 per cent of all non-citizens, but are more likely to be impacted by the proposed rule, would be disproportionately injured. We, therefore, urge you to immediately withdraw this proposed rule in its entirety,” the letter noted.