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Voices / Letters from readers

Dummerston: Restore funding to Farmland Protection Fund

The writer operates New Leaf CSA in Dummerston.

As a community-supported agriculture farmer, I frequently find myself educating people about the importance of their decision to support local farms.

Our food choices affect everything from the tiny processes that determine the health of our bodies to the health of our communities and the global environment. We vote every day with our food dollars for the kind of lives we want to live and the kind of world we want to live in. But on town meeting day, Dummerston residents will also get to vote with their, well, votes!

At Town Meeting, we will vote on whether to restore funding for the Farmland Protection Fund to $5,000 per year. The money that residents have voted into the fund in previous years has been instrumental in permanently conserving two farms in town. In addition to helping to offset the total costs of these projects, the town’s contribution has been important in leveraging additional funding.

Though the money in the fund is used to help compensate farmers who choose to have their land permanently protected from development, the benefits extend to everyone.

By keeping farmland in our community, we protect water quality, wildlife habitat, agricultural jobs, food security, and the quality of life that comes with living in a rural community.

And land conservation lowers property taxes for everyone. If all the conserved land in town were developed for housing, our tax rates would be higher because of the increased demand for roads, schools, police, and firefighters and for other services. Information from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns on how land conservation results in lower property taxes can be found at vnrc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/The-Land-Use-Pr-ton-12.2002.pdf.

But the most important reason to fund farmland conservation in my view has to do with the importance of agricultural soil. High-quality agricultural soils are an irreplaceable resource that we literally can’t live without. They can either sustain our community for many generations, or they can end up like Putney Road in Brattleboro.

Please join me in voting to restore Dummerston’s annual investment in the farmland protection fund to $5,000.

Elizabeth Wood
Dummerston

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Tamara Stenn
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Tamara Stenn (Brattleboro, Vermont, US) says...

Thanks for writing this Elayne. I was thinking the same thing myself. The silence we received from the hospital is quite deafening. Unfortunately we\'ve had to continue working with the hospital as other (minor) heath issues come up.

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Judith Skillman
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Judith Skillman (Newcastle, US) says...

Excellent and informative writing about the media and about the state of our nation. We must support the press speak truth to power, now more than ever before.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

We are also obliged to criticize the press when they merely echo the lies of the powerful. In this case, much of the press has taken a side, not just against the policies of the President, but against the election itself on behalf of the parties of war and Wall St. Just as the US has in the past agitated in other countries for coups against democratic outcomes they don’t like, much of the press, including this editorial, is now agitating for a coup here at home.

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Peter Ford
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Peter Ford (Dallas) says...

Nailed it - Thank you.

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TB Smith
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TB Smith (Ba, Oklahoma, US) says...

The divisiveness brought on by this shamefully poor excuse for a president has been once again, borne out by this article, and the responses to it .. his most devoted followers are the most gullible and easily swayed sheeple since the \"Kool-Aid party in Jonestown\" ... those who stand up the most fervently to this dictator \"wanabe\", will , inthe end, see him and the fellow purveyors of his garbage rhetoric like FOX News, Alex Jones, Breitbart, etc., crumble and be dumped like stale crackers (pardon the pun) .. we must impeach this tyrant before too much damage is done, either from within or outside our borders.

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

So it’s OK that access to outlets that simply recognize Trump as President is indeed being shut down? But isn’t that exactly what this editorial is against? Should outlets that cheered on Obama’s wars and love of Wall St have likewise been shut down? Only John Birch Society–inspired screeds against Trump indicate the “legitimate” press?

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Ruby Bode
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Ruby Bode (Westminster, Vermont, US) says...

TB Smith’s comment in apparent support of the us-vs-them tone of this editorial illustrates why so many people distrust so much of the press (although, again, it appears to be only pro-Trump and anti-imperialist outlets that are actually being shut down): They are promulgating hysterical claims about fascism, Russians, and “crackers” not in the interest of the people, but wholly on behalf of the neoliberal/neoconservative program of Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama to deny Trump the Presidency and even remove him from office – not democratically, but by coup if necessary. That makes the press rather anti-democratic and, indeed, against the people.

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Amelia Stone
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Amelia Stone (E Dummerston, Vermont, US) says...

Kudos to the Boston Globe for encouraging newspapers across the country to remind us all of the value of a free press, and to the Commons for hearing that call. The NYTimes article, A Free Press Needs You, concludes with the following: \"If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers. Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.\" Today I plan to subscribe.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #445 (Wednesday, February 7, 2018). This story appeared on page E3.

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