FPF Posts

RCAC Climate Connections: Cut the clutter and shop secondhand
Clearing out your basement/attic/garage/closets? Give your stuff a new life by donating/posting it. New something new? Ask your neighbors on Front Porch Forum if it’s something you can borrow, and then check these resources next. Your money stays local, stuff stays out of the landfill.

Jonesville Flea Market: https://www.facebook.com/jonesvtfleamarket/ 
Richmond Food Shelf & Thrift Store (not currently open): http://www.richmondfoodshelfvt.org/ 
Waterbury Flea Market: https://www.facebook.com/WaterburyFleaMarket/
ReSOURCE (Williston, Burlington): https://resourcevt.org/ 
ReStore (Williston): https://shop.vermonthabitat.org/ 
Goodwill (Williston): https://goodwillnne.org/locations/goodwill-store-williston-vt/
Outdoor Gear Exchange consignment (Burlington): https://www.gearx.com/consignment 
Front Porch Forum (“Search Archives” for specific items): https://frontporchforum.com/areas/107/issues 
Craiglist: https://vermont.craigslist.org/search/sss

Do you have a favorite second-hand store? Any hidden gems we’re missing? Post to FPF to let us all know!

RCAC Climate Connections: Action Opportunity!

 Are you looking for an easy way to take political action from home? Sign up with Sierra Club Independent Action to write letters that will get Florida & Michigan voters to the polls and voting on climate issues this November. All ages can participate!

See this Google Doc for more details and to request a batch of letters: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12Mxx-mITy6KWNN9brcycFB7PFRJ8UmFhcJiK7BBT5AY/edit

Do you have suggestions for other local or national actions to take from home? Have you participated in this or other campaigns and want to share your experience? Post to FPF to let us all know!

RCAC Climate Connections: Stay cool with big heat pump incentives!

 Did you know that you can get up to $1,550 back on your heat pump install through discounts and rebates from Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, and Vermont Electric Co-op? Heat pumps provide efficient AC in the summer and heating in the winter. Down to 0% financing is available.

Check out the Efficiency Vermont website for more details: https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/rebates/list/heat-pump-heating-cooling-system

Contact a local contractor to get started: https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/find-contractor-retailer?provider=contractors&search=ductless-heat-pumps&zipcode=05477&een=true

Have you installed a heat pump? What benefits are you seeing? Do you have any contractor recommendations for your neighbors? Post to FPF to let us all know!

Button up #3 : Get Weatherization Tips Right In Your Inbox

A lot of things are uncertain right now. Cold weather isn’t one of them. Button Up season is here and there are free, online events every week to help you identify what projects are best for your home. You can find them at https://buttonupvermont.org/events.

And if you want the latest Button Up opportunities delivered right to your inbox, including opportunities to win prizes, like smart thermostats, hop on the Button Up Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gTa2E5

July 30, 2020 – Phoebe – New Climate Connections

New! RCAC Climate Connections  Jul 30, 2020

What’s the latest from the Richmond Climate Action Committee (RCAC)? We couldn’t hold the events that we had hoped for this year, but want to stay in touch with the community, so…

Keep an eye out for new weekly posts here on FPF from “RCAC Climate Connections”!

Towards the end of each week, an RCAC member will share information on an opportunity to save money, cut carbon pollution, and support our local economy. For instance, upcoming topics will include: local farmstands, recommendations for electric mowers, and info on free weatherization for low-income Vermonters. Please reply on FPF to add any recommendations/experiences on the post topics!

July 31, 2020 – Betsy – Cordless Electric Lawn Mowers

Cordless Electric Lawn Mowers

Jul 31, 2020

RCAC Climate Connections: Shopping for a new lawn mower?

For anyone who is now or may soon be looking for a new lawn mower, I encourage you to take a look at cordless electric mowers. They’ve come a long way in the past several years. And, Green Mountain Power and VT Electric Co-op both offer rebates.

After my trusty Neuton cordless electric mower gave out recently, I researched and was surprised at all the improvements and the variety of cordless electric mowers now on the market. One of the reasons that I (and my neighbors) love my electric lawn mower is how quiet it is! Check them out, and please share any recommendations for your neighbors here on FPF on your experience purchasing and owning an electric lawn mower.

If you’d like, you can contact me, Betsy Hardy, about the information I gathered. My phone number is 434-3397

This post is brought to you by the Richmond Climate Action Committee, an independent group that is not affiliated with town government or any of the organizations/companies listed in the post. Join us! https://richmondclimateaction.net/

Aug 7, 2020 – Fran – Find Tasty Food at Local Farms

RCAC Climate Connections: Find Tasty Food at Local Farms

Aug 7, 2020

Did you know that Richmond has a wonderful farmers market and several farm stands waiting for your visit? It’s fun to learn where our food comes from and buying on-farm or at the farmer’s market is the best way to support our farming neighbors.

The Richmond Farmers market: http://richmondfarmersmarketvt.org/ has a great array of vendors from around the area. Last Resort Farm provides 27 types of produce, jams, jellies, relishes and more. Home and Away Farm has fresh vegetables, balsamic vinaigrette and cider. Seek out Fairytale Farm for fresh and aged cheeses and amazing gelato and get microgreens from Green Mountain Microgreens. Bee Happy Vermont has the best honey-based sweets, lemonade, candles and more. And, you can pick up some amazing hand pies at Pie Empire. Or, how about distilled spirits at Wild Hart Distillery, and pottery by local VT Artisans. These are just a few of the wonderful things available, all in one convenient location. Check it out.

A few of our Richmond on-farm favorites:
Conant’s Riverside Farm (local corn) 2258 West Main St. (802) 434-2588
Mountainview Maple Works (local maple syrup) https://www.facebook.com/mountainviewmapleworks (802) 434-5198
Owl’s Head Farm (blueberries, maple syrup, sunflowers): https://www.owlsheadfarm.com/
VYCC (veggies, eggs, chicken, and now accepting SNAP: https://www.vycc.org/farm/farmstand/

And in our neighboring towns check out:
Jericho: Jericho Settlers Farm http://www.jerichosettlersfarm.com/shop

Hinesburg: The Family Cow https://www.familycowfarmstand.com/
Trillium Hill Farm https://www.trilliumhillfarmvt.com/#/

Huntington: Moultroup Valley Farm (beef): https://moultroupvalleyfarm.com/
Jubilee Farm https://www.jubileefarmstand.com/

Where are your favorite farm stands in town? Did we miss your farm on this list? Post to FPF to let us all know!

RCAC Climate Connections: Public Transportation Updates

Our local public transportation provider – Green Mountain Transit – is asking passengers to stay home where possible. However, for essential trips, buses are running – and now fare free for all passengers! There are multiple trips per day to Burlington, Waterbury and Montpelier that stop at the Richmond Park and Ride. And maybe, like me, you can get to the bus stop by bike and put your bike on the bus for use at your destination, saving even more fossil fuel emissions.

Also, electric buses are coming! Two new electric buses are joining Burlington’s transit fleet, and a new agreement between 15 states and the District of Columbia will see Vermont commit to having all medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold in the state be electrified by 2050.

Check the Green Mountain Transit COVID updates: https://ridegmt.com/covid-19-update/

Current Montpelier < – – > Burlington schedule: https://ridegmt.com/wp-content/uploads/Mont_LINK.pdf

Would you like to recommend the bus? Have you been on it lately and would like to share your experience? Post to FPF to let us all know!

This post is brought to you by the Richmond Climate Action Committee, an independent group that is not affiliated with town government or any of the organizations/companies listed in the post. Join us! https://richmondclimateaction.net/

Aug 23, 2020 – Judy Bush – Art Exhibit

Aug 23, 2020

The Richmond exhibit of artists’ responses to the climate crisis has been postponed but not cancelled. However, the climate crisis has neither been postponed nor delayed. The current pandemic is giving us just a taste of the problems, disorder and suffering that will come. What can we learn from this current crisis? Can we work together to reduce carbon emissions and reduce the rise in global temperatures, to save lives and habitat?

This is another call to community artists of all ages and experiences. There is still time to express your thoughts and feelings about the climate crisis and share your work in an exhibit sometime in the future at the Richmond Free Library. This project is sponsored the Richmond Climate Action Committee and Radiate Art Space. For more information contact Judy Bush at judybbush@gmail.com

About us: The Richmond Climate Action Committee (RCAC) is dedicated to reducing carbon pollution and advancing climate justice through local action. We are a group of concerned citizens (not an official town committee) and meet monthly (on Zoom for now). Learn more and join us! https://richmondclimateaction.net

Sep 18, 2020 – Alexis – Time for a bike ride

Have you been wanting to get into (or back into) bicycling? Whether you’re running errands or just wanting some outdoor time, Richmond is a fantastic place to bike around.

Betty’s Bikes, A community nonprofit bike shop https://www.bettysbikes.org/

Old Spokes Home:
-Used bikes for sale: https://www.oldspokeshome.com/bikes/used-bikes
-Subsidized bike purchases for eligible Vermonters:https://www.oldspokeshome.com/everybody-bikes-program

Local Motion
-FREE e-bike loaner program: https://www.localmotion.org/ebikes 
-Maps, routes, other resources: https://www.localmotion.org/bikevermont

Belgen Cycles/Village Bike Shop
-Custom built bikes here in Richmond: https://belgencycles.com/

Do you have recommendations for rides, safety tips, e-bikes, or bike shops? Are you looking for a bike partner to ride with or assistance with repairs? Are you able to share your bike repair skills with others? Post to FPF to let us all know!

Sep 24, 2020 – Francine Pomerantz – Income-Eligible Discounts

RCAC Climate Connections: Income-eligible GMP & VGS discounts

Did you know that the average Richmond household spends almost $4,000 a year on fuel and electricity? Many of our neighbors experience an energy burden due to these bills. Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas offer discounts to low-income customers – check here to see if you qualify! https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/eap

For help filling out an application, contact the state Economic Services Division at 800-775-0516. Or, email info@richmondclimateaction.net if you’d prefer help from a Richmond community member.

This post is brought to you by the Richmond Climate Action Committee, an independent group that is not affiliated with town government or any of the organizations/companies listed in the post. Join us! https://richmondclimateaction.net/

Oct 2, 2020 – Ian – Speed Kills – and More!

Yes, in a crash, more speed means more damage.

And also, the faster you drive, the more fuel is burned (so more exhaust, more global warming).

For highway driving fuel consumption is typically 17% more at 70 mph compared to 55 mph, depending on the vehicle. (See https://www.mpgforspeed.com/ “Speed kills mpg”.)

As the programmable signs on I89 said “You’re in Vermont – Why hurry?”

And of course bigger vehicles burn more fuel – In the US, SUVs emit 14 percent more carbon dioxide than small passenger cars on average*.

And there’s more. A family member used to wear out the brakes on his car after about 25,000 miles – why? – because he drove with his foot alternately hard on the gas pedal or the brake pedal. When he arrived at our house his brakes were HOT! (More braking = more fuel burned). Take it easy on the gas – save gas and save brake pads and save money!

* https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2020/09/how-suvs-conquered-the-world-and-ruined-the-environment/

And SUV’s are more likely to kill pedestrians:


Oct 23, 2020 – Francine Pomerantz – Take advantage of BIG weatherization incentives!

Did you know that Vermonters can get up to $5,500 back on a Home Performance weatherization project through Efficiency Vermont? A Home Performance project tightens up your home to keep you more comfortable (stay cool without AC!), provides health & safety upgrades, helps cut down on your energy bills, and supports local jobs. Down to 0% financing is available.

Check out the Efficiency Vermont website for more details: https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/rebates/list/home-performance-with-energy-star

Contact a local contractor to get started: https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/find-contractor-retailer?provider=homeperformancecontractors&zipcode=05477&hpwes=true

Have you done a Home Performance weatherization project? What benefits are you seeing? Do you have any contractor recommendations for your neighbors? Post to FPF to let us all know!

Nov 2, 2020 – Fran Pomerantz – Button up #1

Button up Vermont: You are certain to save

A lot of things are uncertain right now. Weatherization isn’t one of them. When you weatherize your home, you’re making a savvy investment that will pay off in comfort and savings for years to come.

Plus, more of your money stays in [town name], putting local contractors to work. Most Vermonters save hundreds of dollars each year after a full home weatherization project, putting even more money in your pocket that you can use to support local businesses.

There are low interest loans to help get you on your way. And plenty of DIY projects you can start on right now. Get them all at ButtonUpVermont.org

Nov 15, 2020 – Fran Pomerantz  – Button up #2

Help Vermonters Save Money and Stay Cozy

Do you have a little warmth to share? Help your neighbors weatherize their homes by making a contribution to the Button Up Vermont Share the Warmth Campaign at https://buttonupvermont.org/fund

Your gift lowers utility bills for low income neighbors who need the help, puts contractors to work, helps us meet our emissions goals, and reduces the money we send out of state to pay for oil. It’s a good investment in Vermont…so much so that generous donors kicked off this campaign with $50,000. Match their gift and help us get to $100,000.

This post is brought to you by the Richmond Climate Action Committee, an independent group that is not affiliated with town government or any of the organizations/companies listed in the post. Join us! https://richmondclimateaction.net/

Dec 4, 2020 – Steve – Electric Vehicle Charging Now Available at Town Center

RCAC Climate Connections:

Anyone with an electric vehicle (EV) can take advantage of the Town’s new Charging Station at the Town Center/Library/PO parking lot. The ChargePoint station provides level-2 charging for up to two vehicles.

The cost for charging just covers the cost of electricity to the Town – as for charging at home, that’s like paying about $1.50/gallon for a gas vehicle. Users can find the station and check if the chargers are in use on chargepoint.com or their favorite EV app – which should help new visitors discover all that the Richmond village has to offer.

EV ownership has taken off in Vermont, increasing about 40% each year. Greenhouse gas emissions for an all-electric EV in New England are equivalent to a gas-engine car that gets about 100 miles per gallon, making EVs one of the best options for reducing our climate impact. That will only get better as we transition to cleaner, renewable power sources.

Want to learn more about EVs? Check out https://DriveElectricVT.com/ – their Fact Sheet includes a table comparing the costs and benefits of available EVs.

The cost of the charging station was mostly covered by a grant from the Volkswagen settlement for the diesel emissions scandal. The project aligned perfectly with Richmond’s Town Plan, to support installation of EV charging stations, and the State’s energy goal of 90% renewable energy by 2050. The RCAC helped the Town to secure the grant.

This post is brought to you by the Richmond Climate Action Committee, an independent group not affiliated with town government or any of the organizations/companies listed in the post. Join us! https://richmondclimateaction.net/

January 17th 2021 – Fran Pomerantz – Electric Cars Better for the Planet and Your Budget

New data published Thursday shows that despite the higher sticker price, electric cars may actually save drivers money in the long-run.


Before you purchase your next car, why not consider an EV – Join Sustainable Woodstock on January 21st, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM, to learn about the advantages of hybrids and EVs and how you can save money in the long run by driving one.   Register for this event at  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/green-drinkshow-to-buy-an-ev-or-hybrid-car-tickets-130578502817?emci=96277d4c-bb51-eb11-a607-00155d43c992&emdi=3e0d58ee-d855-eb11-a607-00155d43c992&ceid=8296290

Farming and Eating for Climate Resiliency!



Climate friendly (sometimes called regenerative) farming practices have the power to harness atmospheric CO2 and store it in the soil. This service serves as both adaptation and mitigation to climate change. Carbon-rich soil is deliciously beautiful and healthy to look at, feel, and farm in! Carbon rich soil is also resilient to flooding and drought (both dangers we face from climate change) – and it ensures that plants are well-fed by retaining nutrients for them to feast on, reducing the need for fertilizer. Both pasture-based animal systems and low/no-till vegetable systems are examples of regenerative farming. See NPR broadcast, video narrated by Michael Pollan, or TedTalk (all links below) for more inspiration.

Farmers, future farmers, and homesteaders! Please consider the opportunity to integrate (agro)photovoltaics onto your working farmland. Solar and agriculture often compete for land, the opportunity to integrate the two systems will reduce this tension and instead create opportunities for farmers and renewable energy. Interested? Find industry contacts and expert experience at UVM Extension or the American Solar Grazing Association. Register for the free Solar Array Grazing Workshop, 2/24/21, through Granite State Grazers.

Eaters! You can cater your diet to climate resiliency. Buy local and buy in bulk. Find a farm that prides itself on environmental stewardship and organic or regenerative farming at NOFA. Avoid processed foods in manufactured plastics. Join a coop and plan your shopping around deals on bulk and local foods. Meal plan and prep.

Celebrate your small wins and don’t worry that you can’t do all of this all the time! Visit NOFA-VT’s Community Food Access webpage to learn how to make climate friendly eating affordable for all.


NPR Broadcast: https://www.npr.org/2020/08/17/903184905/farming-releases-carbon-from-the-earths-soil-into-the-air-can-we-put-it-back

Video narrated by Michael Pollan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxqBzrx9yIE&feature=emb_logo

Ted Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/asmeret_asefaw_berhe_a_climate_change_solution_that_s_right_under_our_feet/footnotes

UVM extension: https://www.uvm.edu/extension/sustainableagriculture/news/grazing-and-solar-energy-vermonts-working-landscape

American Solar Grazing Association: https://solargrazing.org/#:~:text=The%20American%20Solar%20Grazing%20Association%20(ASGA)%20was%20founded%20to%20promote,and%20create%20new%20agribusiness%20profits.

Solar Array Grazing Workshop: https://grazenh.com/wls_2021

NOFA: https://nofavt.org/find-organic-local-food

Community Food Access Webpage: https://nofavt.org/programs/community-food-access

Energy Cost of a Trip to Burlington – 2/10/2021

How much energy is used for a one-way trip from Richmond to Burlington (12 miles)?
It depends on how you travel. Alone in a gasoline car, you use more energy than others – a lot more!  And it’s all coming from fossil fuel.

Below, each x represents 1/20 kWh – about 1 cent worth of electricity.
All energy values are in kWh, to make comparisons easy.

Gasoline Car (16 kWh):

Electric Car (3.5 kWh):

Electric Bike: (0.2 kWh)

Bicycle:(0.05 kWh)

Gasoline car: Assume 27 mpg.   Energy in a gallon is 35.25 kWh.
Electric Car: Typically gets 3 – 4 miles/kWh.
Electric-assist bicycle:  Assuming 0.0017 kWh/mile.
Bicycle: Averaging 12 mph, using 50 Watts of muscle power.

Some things to consider:
Buses get about 8 mpg (1), so with 4 passengers they are comparable to four cars with one person in each. A full bus will be many times better!

Active Transportation (walk, bike) is also more healthy! (2)

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_efficiency_in_transport#
(2) https://www.ccrpcvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/CC-ATP-Final-Plan-Revised-March-2017.pdf)

For other sources, and more information, see https://richmondclimateaction.net/transport/

May 13, 2021 – Fran –  Hang your clothes out to dry!

Spring is a fine time for a clothes-line. As we all know, the easiest way to save energy is to not use it in the first place. Take my clothes drying line, for instance. Putting clothes out to dry on the line will save energy because I don’t have to turn my dryer on. It’s like finding money hanging next to my clothes on the line! My household energy use will go down, I’ll spend a little more time outdoors, my whites will be whiter and brighter,  everything smells fresh and clean and nothing needs ironing.  All that  and I’ll reduce my carbon footprint. Give it a try, let your clothing air-dry!

This post is brought to you by the Richmond Climate Action Committee, an independent group that is not affiliated with town government or any of the organizations/companies listed in the post. Join us! https://richmondclimateaction.net/

Ian Sept 2021  Eating, farming and gardening for the climate

We know that a diet heavy in meat can be bad for the environment because of its carbon footprint – see the website of the Richmond Climate Action Committee (1)*.  But it doesn’t need to be.

Michael Pollan in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat”(2)*, also at the Richmond library(3)*, and the movie ‘Kiss the Ground’(4)* explain that modern agriculture is highly dependent on fossil fuels to make ammonia which in turn is converted into nitrogen fertilizers.  Further, the fossil fuel intensive fertilizers are used in huge quantities to grow corn that is then shipped long distances to feed-lots.  Healthy soils store nitrogen as well as carbon in organic materials and living organisms; tilling disrupts this.   We see local farmers increasingly turning to cover crops, crop rotation, and ‘no-till’ practices to maintain soil health, and to minimize the use of artificial fertilizers.

For example, some Vermont farmers graze their animals instead of feeding them grain. At the same time, these animals are also returning nutrients to the soil, the way things used to be before artificial fertilizers.  These farmers are practicing ‘Regenerative Agriculture’(5)* (a set of  practices designed not just to sustain soils but also to regenerate them, improving soil health as the central foundation.)  Some solar farms have sheep grazing under the PV panels – generating food as well as electricity!

And it’s not only farmers – backyard gardeners can also adopt ‘no-till’ (or no-dig) practices to improve the soil in their gardens, as explained in this webinar (6)* by Charlie Nardozzi and friends.


  1. https://richmondclimateaction.net/food/
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Omnivores-Dilemma-Secrets-Behind-What/dp/B00381B7HS
  3. https://rfl.kohavt.org/OverDrive/52b9c973-a670-4c2a-b8d7-ce8e686fb887/Home
  4. https://kissthegroundmovie.com/
  5. https://heliae.com/10-regenerative-agriculture-practices/
  6. https://www.vpr.org/inside-vpr/2021-03-30/apr-11-no-dig-gardening-with-charlie-nardozzi-and-friends

Aug 29,2021 Try Out Electric Lawnmower at Farmer’s Market

Come check out an electric lawn mower, chain saw and weed whacker at the Richmond Farmer’s Market next week (September 3, 2021). See how easily the battery is installed and recharged! None of that frustrating cord-pulling and messy fuel pouring! We hope the grass will have grown long enough for you to try a bit of mowing at our booth near the park benches. For even more dedicated (and hardier) folks, we’ll have a scythe available – great exercise – so you get a health benefit as well, and NO fossil fuel is consumed! Or you could just convert your lawn to a meadow!

Nov 2021: What can we learn from COP26 and Paris?

What can Richmond learn from the recent UN-sponsored COP26 (Conference of the Parties) in Glasgow?  Six years ago, the COP21 in Paris produced a legally binding international treaty on climate change, adopted by 196 ‘Parties’ and committing to keep the planet to a relatively safe and survivable 1.5C average temperature rise.  This is a big challenge – the temperature rise is already about 1.2C and the effects are already obvious.

Meanwhile the City of Paris pushed ahead with a highly ambitious plan (Pittsburg did not).  Paris wants to be a model for how to ‘re-imagine’ large urban communities.   In 2007 Paris adopted a proactive and ambitious Climate Action Plan. Here it is, in English: https://cdn.paris.fr/paris/2019/07/24/1a706797eac9982aec6b767c56449240.pdf

Since her 2014 election, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has vowed to “free” Parisians from cars. Vehicles that pollute most, such as older diesel cars, will soon be banned from Paris.   Paris plans to phase out all diesel-powered mobility by 2024 and petrol-powered mobility by 2030.  Major investments in public transport, pedestrian zones and bike paths are providing the replacements.  The city’s carbon footprint decreased by 20% between 2004 and 2018 and local GHG emissions were cut by 25%.   This UN site has an update:  https://unfccc.int/climate-action/un-global-climate-action-awards/climate-leaders/city-of-paris

What can Richmond learn from Paris?  We know that ‘active’ transportation (instead of single-occupancy vehicles) and energy-saving building codes are essential.  Elements of the Paris plan are familiar to us:  Higher housing density, rooftop solar, energy-saving building codes, replacing owner vehicles with public transport and vehicle-free areas, local food production and sourcing, etc.  We are working on it, and learning that weatherizing, battery-powered bicycles and other vehicles, even electric lawn mowers can make a huge contribution.  We must support Federal, State and local government incentives and everyone must do their part.

Nov 2021 – Ian –  Let’s eat local food!

First the good news:  At Thanksgiving many people in Richmond have enjoyed a turkey from Maple Wind Farm, and maybe the lucky ones (or rather the skillful ones) enjoyed some local venison.  At Maple Wind Farm, “animals express their true nature – pigs root and wallow, chickens scratch and peck, and cows munch fresh green grass daily. In turn, these pasture-raised animals build a nutrient-rich soil to provide us the cleanest food available.” (https://maplewindfarm.com/)  Elsewhere, many fields in and around Richmond are using sustainable and regenerative practices, such as having animals graze in pastures, and fields are being restored by using ‘no-till’ and cover-crops.

The bad news:  Average Americans eat an astounding 225 lbs of meat each year (about 10 oz per day).  And most of that meat is not produced locally by sustainable methods, so with enormous human and environmental costs.

Working conditions in slaughterhouses are notoriously dangerous.  In the first year of the pandemic nearly 60,000 slaughterhouse workers contracted the coronavirus, and at least 298 have died.  Before the pandemic about eight workers died annually, while coronavirus has claimed at least 30 times that number.  The harm was magnified because these workers passed on the infection to others in their communities.  But early in the pandemic Tyson, one of biggest meat companies in the US, along with President Trump, demanded that these factories should stay open to feed Americans with the meat they are accustomed to.

Modern agriculture is highly dependent on fossil fuels to make ammonia which in turn is converted into nitrogen fertilizers that are used in huge quantities to grow crops such as corn that is then shipped long distances to feed-lots.  The animals there are unhealthy because corn is not their natural diet, and there is no way to return their manure to the soil where it originated.  Tilling disrupts the organisms in healthy soils that store nitrogen as well as carbon.  However, we see local farmers increasingly turning to cover crops, crop rotation, and ‘no-till’ practices to maintain soil health, and to minimize the use of artificial fertilizers.  (See Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”)

So, people could eat less meat, and also the way the meat is raised could be sustainable.  By current methods, growing one pound of an animal-based product requires up to 50 times more emissions than growing one pound of a plant-based product.  Let’s support local farmers who are working hard for a better future.

Read more here:

U.S. Meat Consumption Trends and COVID-19

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/19/the-disposable-us-workforce-life-as-an-essential-meatpacking-plant-worker ). https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/16/meatpacking-industry-covid-outbreaks-workers