What I’ve Learned Working With Upper Valley Farmers

by Dot Benham

Last week, one of my colleagues wrote a story about the controversial insecticide chlorpyrifos, and in the process we gave some well-deserved attention to the many Upper Valley growers who don’t use it. From my experience working with regional growers for many years, this sort of commitment is nothing new. 

One of the best parts of my job is working with so many Upper Valley farmers. I love the way they care for the water and soil, how they work in partnership with the land. Most of us work jobs, but these folks have a calling. Protecting the planet and nourishing the community is what they do. Is there anything more noble?

I have found that our local growers, whether conventional or organic, have equal concerns about the use of unsafe pesticides and are very careful about what they use. When we visit conventional growers they always stress that they use these measures only as a last resort after first trying other methods to control the situation.
 
In other words, conventional farming does not equal heavy pesticide use. Local growers do as much as possible to avoid having to use these kinds of things. 
 
Bill Shur, Champlain Orchards, Shoreham, Vt.

Our growers produce crops within the upper valley area and are well-known and respected by folks in the neighborhood community. There is a relationship of trust in food safety within local agriculture. They know the people and area where they market their food and they would not want to bring them harm.

So as we kick off another growing season, thanks to all the local farmers. They make the Upper Valley a special, beautiful, healthy, and nourishing place in which to live!

Dot Benham is a long-time Co-op merchandiser for floral and produce. Our Co-op’s vision is a well-nourished community cultivated through cooperation. 

Top photo: Suzanne Long and Tim Sanford, Luna Bleu Farm, South Royalton, Vt.

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