New Americans turn to goats to address food demand - New York News

New Americans turn to goats to address food demand

Posted: Updated:

COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) -- A bunch of kids in a minivan are solving twin challenges in northern Vermont: refugees struggling to find the food of their homelands and farmers looking to offload unwanted livestock.

The half dozen kids - that is, baby goats - that arrived last week at Pine Island Farm were the latest additions to the Vermont Goat Collaborative, a project that brings together new Americans hungry for goat meat with dairy goat farmers who have no need for young male animals. Some dairy farmers who otherwise would discard bucklings at birth or spend valuable time finding homes for them now can send them to Colchester, where they will be raised and sold to refugees, some of whom have spent full days traveling to Boston or New Hampshire for fresh goat, or have settled for imported frozen meat.

When community organizer Karen Freudenberger realized that the roughly 6,000 new Americans from southeast Asia, Africa and elsewhere living in the Burlington area were buying what amounted to 3,000 goats a year from Australia and New Zealand, she saw an opportunity. Since some of them had been farmers raising goats in their native countries, why couldn't they do it in Vermont, prized for its working landscape and locally raised foods?

"People keep saying, are you sure you can sell all those goats? We are sure we can sell all those goats," said Freudenberger, who helped launch the project.

Now in its second year, the collaborative includes two families from Bhutan and Rwanda who are raising about 200 baby goats that will be slaughtered on site and sold in the fall.

While there are no federal statistics on goat meat consumption, the USDA says demand for it is increasing, driven in part by a growth in ethnic populations. The U.S. had 2.3 million head of meat goats in January 2013, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, with Texas producing the most, followed by Tennessee.

Some of the refugees Freudenberger has worked with had trouble communicating with farmers when trying to buy fresh goat meat, while others were questioned by authorities for slaughtering an animal by the side of the road or for having a goat in a car. They are looking forward to being able to select, buy and slaughter their goats in a matter of hours instead of making the long, expensive trip to Boston, said goat farmer Chuda Dhaurali.

"It's very helpful," he said. "They are so excited."

"The whole project is really designed around trying to meet this particular niche demand that this community has ... in a way that meets the particular cultural and taste desires of their communities," Freudenberger said.

The project is a collaboration between the Vermont Land Trust, which is giving the farmers access to the farm property on the Winooski River, and the Association of Africans Living in Vermont, now called AALV. The idea is that the land will be transferred to a cooperative entity representing the new American population and that group will take over the costs of the land - such as the insurance and taxes, Freudenberger said.

A grant of about $20,000 from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters helped to get Dhaurali started last year with electric fencing, feed and other supplies. Another Vermont Working Lands grant of more than $10,000 helped create the custom slaughter facility. The project subsidizes the farmer for the first year, but when they sell the goats in the fall, it allows them to finance future years.

Last year the project sold about 100 goats to families from more than 15 nationalities. Often, whole families including grandparents visit the farm to pick out the goat. Goat buyers can slaughter the animals on site the way they are accustomed to.

"It's more than just the meat - the nutritional side of it. It's also very cultural in terms of the way that people are wanting to participate in the whole process," Freudenberger said.

And Dhaurali, who is from Bhutan and spent 18 years as a refugee in Nepal, said many of the older members of Vermont's Nepalese community don't care for the taste of chicken, beef or pork.

The Vermont Goat Collaborative could grow to about 400 goats, with three families sharing the barn and pasture. That's far from meeting the demand, but that's not the idea. The project is designed to be a model that could be transferred to other farms and states. It already has sparked interest in Maine, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

"The idea is not to get our farm huge so that we can send our goats all over the country, but it's to get a working a model that then can be transferred and tweaked given people's particular situations to make it work," Freudenberger said.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

    Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:48 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:48:06 GMT
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya, which was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year. Health Secretary Ana Rius said that more than 200 cases had been confirmed on the island as of June 25 and that the majority of them were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas. The first case of chikungunya in the U.S. territory was reported in late May. Also on Thursday, ...
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya, which was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year. Health Secretary Ana Rius said that more than 200 cases had been confirmed on the island as of June 25 and that the majority of them were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas. The first case of chikungunya in the U.S. territory was reported in late May. Also on Thursday, ...
  • Couple and baby miss Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over Ukraine

    Couple and baby miss Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over Ukraine

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:47 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:47:36 GMT
    Imagine how you would feel if you were supposed to be on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over eastern Ukraine on Thursday but changed your flight for a later time?
    Imagine how you would feel if you were supposed to be on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that was downed over eastern Ukraine on Thursday but changed your flight for a later time?
  • Company sets limits on how long workers can use bathroom

    Company sets limits on how long workers can use bathroom

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-07-16 15:02:02 GMT
    Should an employer have any say in how much time you spend in the bathroom on company time? According to an article on CNN.com, Chicago's Watersaver Faucet Company installed swipe card systems on bathrooms at their factory in an attempt to limit bathroom breaks to 6 minutes or less. WaterSaver disciplined nineteen workers for what they call "excessive use" of washrooms. FOX 5’s Wisdom Martin has more. READ MORE: http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/15/smallbusiness/bathroom-time-penalty/
    Should an employer have any say in how much time you spend in the bathroom on company time? According to an article on CNN.com, Chicago's Watersaver Faucet Company installed swipe card systems on bathrooms at their factory in an attempt to limit bathroom breaks to 6 minutes or less. WaterSaver disciplined nineteen workers for what they call "excessive use" of washrooms. FOX 5’s Wisdom Martin has more. READ MORE: http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/15/smallbusiness/bathroom-time-penalty/
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 'Broken Windows' tactic questioned as chokehold victim laid to rest

    'Broken Windows' tactic questioned as chokehold victim laid to rest

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:24 AM EDT2014-07-23 11:24:25 GMT
    The recent death of a man from Staten Island while he was being arrested by NYPD officers is calling into question a police crackdown on petty offenses to discourage more serious crime. Critics say policing based on the so-called "broken windows" theory can needlessly put people at risk and fuel tensions in the city's minority communities.
    The recent death of a man from Staten Island while he was being arrested by NYPD officers is calling into question a police crackdown on petty offenses to discourage more serious crime. Critics say policing based on the so-called "broken windows" theory can needlessly put people at risk and fuel tensions in the city's minority communities.

  • 3 NYC boys get recording contract approval

    3 NYC boys get recording contract approval

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:34 AM EDT2014-07-23 10:34:12 GMT
    New York City NewsNew York City News
    Three middle school students got permission from a Manhattan judge to sign a multi-year recording contract with Sony. The court's approval allows the heavy metal band, Unlocking the Truth, to record their first single Wednesday for The Cherry Group, a division of Sony. The Brooklyn boys had to get court approval because they are minors.
    Three middle school students got permission from a Manhattan judge to sign a multi-year recording contract with Sony. The court's approval allows the heavy metal band, Unlocking the Truth, to record their first single Wednesday for The Cherry Group, a division of Sony. The Brooklyn boys had to get court approval because they are minors.

  • FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:28 AM EDT2014-07-23 10:28:48 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices