Forum, May 13: Hannaford not yet committed to humane dairy practices

Published: 5/13/2022 3:51:01 PM
Modified: 5/13/2022 3:49:24 PM
Hannaford not yet committed to humane dairy practices

All workers deserve safe and dignified conditions — whether they work in an office or on a farm, whether their family immigrated to New England four months ago or four centuries ago, and no matter the color of their skin.

Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity Program is a worker-led initiative that addresses human rights abuses on dairy farms. Participating corporations reward dairy farmers for adhering to a worker-defined code of conduct. Farmers receive premiums to increase wages and improve conditions on their farms. Now, it’s time for Hannaford to sign on to Milk with Dignity and take responsibility for the inhumane working conditions on the Vermont farms where Hannaford sources its store-brand milk.

Hannaford’s powerful parent corporation, Alhold Delhaize, raked in $3 billion in global profits last year. Corporate executives and shareholders are reaping the benefit of that windfall. Yet, Hannaford refuses to join Milk with Dignity and share those profits with hard-working farmers and farmworkers. Ben & Jerry’s signed on to Milk with Dignity in 2017 after a long public campaign. Since then, Ben & Jerry’s dairy farmers have increased wages, renovated worker housing and improved their farms’ bottom lines. It’s time for Hannaford to follow suit.

Upper Valley grocery shoppers, dairy-lovers and human rights supporters: Hannaford needs to hear from you. Visit Migrant Justice online and take action. When farmworkers do better, we all do better.

Phoebe Howe


Women must stand up for bodily autonomy

Justice Alito’s outrageous and ill-informed draft opinion may be just the thing that will motivate fair-minded people to wake up to the reality of how seriously this country is in danger of losing its democracy.

Every woman under the age of 60 has grown up with the understanding that she has the right to determine if and when she plans to create her family. Roe v. Wade, decided 50 years ago, gave her that assurance. She would have been at least 10 years old before pregnancy would have mattered to her; thus the importance of the age of 60.

It is no secret that large numbers of eligible American voters do not consider voting important to their lives. Justice Alito should have minded the adage, “Be careful of unintended consequences.” The loss of control over their bodies has jolted a large number of women into outrage that will be translated into political activity. The need to vote in November is now essential to maintain that bodily control as well as to protect all the other rights that are endangered by Justice Alito’s draft opinion. The right of privacy that underpins the ability to marry whom we choose, rights of LGBTQ+ people, and other rights began with the Supreme Court striking down the law that criminalized married people’s use of contraceptives (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965).

Those of us who live in Vermont will have the opportunity to vote on an amendment to our Constitution protecting the right to reproductive freedom this November. We would be the first state in the country to provide constitutional protection to our freedoms.

I hope that everyone will find a way to encourage voters across the country to vote to protect our rights and democracy this November. There has never been a more important election.

Arline Rotman


Alito’s opinion threatens issues beyond abortion

Amid all the alarm at the leaked draft of the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s possible that many readers missed the broader implications of Justice Alito’s words. He declares that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot protect the right to abortion because such a right is not “deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition.” For me, that sentence is ominous.

By suggesting that only those rights named in the constitution are securely “rooted,” it threatens every right that we have gained over the past 50 or more years — including birth control, marrying regardless of race and gender lines, and engaging in sexual intimacy between consenting adults.

With around 70% of the U.S. population apparently feeling Roe v. Wade should be preserved, how can this unrepresentative group of justices so threaten the gains in liberty and self-determination of the past 100 years? Our democracy seems truly in peril.

Elizabeth Knox


Republicans becoming too extreme

What shall we do about the Republicans taking over New Hampshire? They want to control women’s bodies; even wearing a veil won’t protect us from them. And they want to push our children out of democratic public schools into Christian madrassas where they can control what can be discussed. The intensity of their push for social power is frightening. The bills that the Republican extremists have been forcing through the New Hampshire Legislature are making our state the sinkhole of New England.

Letitia Ufford


Recalling early days of the Hopkins Center

Thank you for the wonderful article by Alex Hanson on the front page of the Monday, May 2, edition of the Valley News (“Connecting campus to community”), which looked back 60 years ago at the opening of Hopkins Center. It is indeed difficult to overstate the great importance of the building to Dartmouth College, Hanover and the region as a whole.

Mr. Hanson’s article brought back memories of watching the building’s construction all of those many years ago, and the stories of the trials and tribulations of doing so. My two older brothers and I witnessed the creation of architecture and structural engineering never before seen in the Upper Valley, and it was very exciting!

Hopkins Center was constructed by the Volpe Construction Co., based in Massachusetts. The conditions under the building were just horrible to try and build on. John A. Volpe, the owner of the company, was a friend of my father’s, who, during the course of three very difficult years of construction, would share with my dad the challenges that the work presented, especially getting the building stabilized and out of the ground. At that time, Trumbull-Nelson Construction Co., by far the region’s largest construction company, was located in downtown Hanover, immediately across from where the Volpe Company’s potential construction Waterloo was unfolding. Trumbull-Nelson’s owner, Dale Nelson, was also a friend of my father’s and had expressed his deep “disappointment” that his firm had not been selected by the college to construct the new facility.

However, when Mr. Volpe (whose construction company was located four pre-interstate highway hours away in eastern Massachusetts) ran into trouble, Mr. Nelson was only too willing to corral an array of trucks, equipment and men to save Mr. Volpe’s bacon. Mr. Nelson and the many local construction workers and equipment operators under his employ benefited mightily and were indeed thankful for the opportunity.

Yes, to this day, Hopkins Center remains a true masterpiece in so many ways. The building is soon to be renovated. Let’s hope that a younger generation of architects and decision-makers treat the 60-year-old facility with all the respect it still deserves.

Frank J. Barrett, Jr.

Greensboro Bend, Vt.

The writer is an architect and unofficial historian of Hanover, having written four books about Hanover’s history.

Join Willing Hands’ board of directors

As an Upper Valley resident, have you often wondered — given limited volunteer time — how can I truly make a difference?

Well, wonder no more. Willing Hands wants you! Specifically, we want you to consider joining the Willing Hands board of directors.

No doubt you are well aware that hunger has been growing in the Upper Valley and elsewhere. By one estimate, during the pandemic, levels of food insecurity have risen by more than 20% in Vermont.

What you might not realize is that Willing Hands has been on the front lines of combating food insecurity. In the past year alone, Willing Hands has delivered 1,000,000 pounds of fresh produce, dairy products, meat and bread to over 80 social service organizations in the Upper Valley. Those organizations, including the Haven, Baby Steps Family Assistance and your local food shelf, distribute the food directly to people in need, making a real difference in their lives.

As a Willing Hands board member, you don’t have to have board experience or be an expert in food insecurity. You do have to have a passion and commitment to the Willing Hands mission, and you have to be ready to roll up your sleeves and work hard. Board members are expected to attend board meetings and retreats, to participate substantially in board committees and to serve as advocates for Willing Hands in the community. Applications are open now.

To learn more about our board openings and all of our volunteer opportunities, we invite you to visit our website at

Bartlett Leber


The writer is a member of the Willing Hands board of directors.

A clearer picture on Charlestown redistricting

I felt the need to respond to a letter by Kathleen Eames, of Charlestown, regarding redistricting because it contained so many errors (“Charlestown needs own representative,” April 27). It was generally agreed that Sullivan County was the most challenging county to apportion. We are required to be within 10% total deviation of “perfect population” for the state plan. This means that when you divide the total state population by 400 (the number of representatives), you need to be within roughly 5% over or under in each county. We also cannot cross county lines because the representatives from a county also make up the County Delegation.

Sullivan County had two large changes in this census that made keeping the old districts impossible. Claremont lost significant population in one ward, and Grantham gained significant population. This put us in violation of the federal one-man one-vote standard.

Eames stated that the data used was not made publicly available. Census data is publicly available. Census data and information regarding our redistricting process is and has been available at the House Special Committee on Redistricting website, or

Article 11 of the New Hampshire Constitution does not require “each town with the minimum population to have its own representative.” It states that when a town is within a reasonable deviation of perfect population, it should have its own representative as long as other towns are not disadvantaged. The New Hampshire Supreme Court addressed this issue in 2012, making it clear that properly proportioned districts took priority over the 2006 amendment. It also stated that being under 10% deviation was critical. You can read it yourself at

The plan I submitted would have kept Claremont as it is today, and Charlestown would have still had its own representative. Unfortunately, that would make the state plan over a 10% deviation. It was decided to not proceed with a plan likely to be challenged in state and/or federal court and instead accept the House Democrats’ plan. It is a bit disingenuous for a political party official to try to cry partisan foul now. Sullivan County’s plan was truly bipartisan.

Rep. Steven D. Smith


The writer is deputy speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives and vice chair of the House Special Committee on Redistricting.

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