University of Vermont

Center for Research on Vermont

GMO debate, solar power, new Vermont books and more...

Vermont’s first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law is set to go into effect on July 1. Many of the nations’ largest food companies have announced plans to comply. However, the U.S. Congress is considering a law that would pre-empt Vermont and replace it with a far weaker, but national standard, according to a recent article by UVM researcher Jane Kolodinsky. Kolodinsky, who also directs the Center for Rural Studies, has written extensively about GMOs, including support for labeling in Vermont (above 95%) and the general concept of food labeling

HUMANITIES

Most exiting farmers in Vermont may not have anyone to take over the farm, a new study shows. According to the report--conducted by the American Farmland Trust and Land for Good-- 28% of the state’s farms are run by farmers 65 or older and only 9% of them have someone under age 45 managing the farm with them. Health care is one challenge faced by young farmers, see interview with UVM researcher Shoshana Inwood.

Do super PACs forfeit first amendment rights when they restructure as hybrid PACs? In a research article in the University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Brittney Wozniak examines the legal case that pitted the Vermont Right to Life committee against Attorney General Bill Sorrell. 

A new research report by the Washington-based Food Research and Action Center shows that Vermont has improved its national ranking in putting an end to child hunger. Vermont has moved up to being 3rd in the nation in the battle against child hunger— even in the summer, when school lunches are not accessible. For an example of the measures Vermont is taking to end child hunger during the summer, check out the Essex Junction Parks and Recreation’s summer meals program.

SCIENCE

The Sleepers River Research Watershed (SRRW) in Vermont has been the site of active hydrologic research since 1959. A review of the early studies from the SRRW details how they guided the conceptual approach to hydrologic research that is used today in streamflow generation measurement.

The Health Department has released a new statewide initiative to reduce deaths due to chronic preventable illnesses. The program is called “3-4-50”, which refers to three behaviors which can lead to the four diseases that cause over 50% of deaths inVermont. Research has shown that Vermonters are more likely to die of these four preventable chronic illnesses- cancer, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, and lung disease.

ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

The research publication Legislative Intent to Trick: Three Decades on, why Vermont Yankee’s Outcome Demands a Re-working on Pacific Gas by Katherine Wells, articulates the state’s history with the nuclear power plant and proposes a new nuclear energy federal preemption test. The former law school student is now practicing law in New Orleans, where Vermont Yankee’s owner Entergy is based.

Amid news of Vermont’s new Energy Development Improvement Act, a national report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) finds that the U.S.’s solar energy capacity has exceeded fossil fuels in performance, accounting for 64% of the nation’s electric generating capacity. The report ranked Vermont 16th in 2015 in its state solar rankings.

VERMONT BOOKS

The novel Hidden View by Brattleboro resident Brett Ann Stanciu tells the story of the inner lives of diverse people on a farm in rural Vermont. Published by Green Writers Press, the book is nominated for the Vermont Book Award. Learn more about Green Writers Press and Hidden View in the article by the Rutland Herald.

The recently published book New Flora of Vermont by Barre resident Arthur Gilman is a guide to the botany of Vermont plants. See the Burlington Free Press’s interview with Gilman here.

The Good Living Guide to Beekeeping: Secrets of the Hive, Stories from the Field, and a Practical Guide that Explains it All by Dede Cummings from Brattleboro. The guide, which provides information for beginners to experts, includes advice and interviews from beekeepers across the country.

STUDENT RESEARCH

In an economics of philanthropy class at Middlebury College, students conducted an experiment that ended up raising more than $4,000 for a local charity focused on low-income residents. A summary of the work is presented here by the economics teacher Jeff Carpenter.

UVM PhD student Michael Wironen’s research is focused on understanding and reducing phosphorous use throughout Vermont. In an essay published by the Burlington Free Press, Wironen outlined phosphorous as a unique pollutant that is both “harmful” to the lake, yet a “building block” in agriculture. Wironen’s thesis that examines the concept of communicative sustainability is published here.

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The Vermont Research News is a bi-monthly curated collection of Vermont research -- focused on research in the Vermont "laboratory" -- research that provides original knowledge to the world and research that adds to understanding of the state's social, economic, cultural and physical environment.

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Funding provided by the Lintilhac Foundation, the Humanities Center and the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Vermont.

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