Vermont Research: Latinx, food insecurity, colorblind ideology, opiate prevention strategies

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Vermont Research: Latinx, food insecurity, colorblind ideology, opiate prevention strategies

Mon, 06/01/2020 - 11:48am -- tim

Vermont Research News

Essential but in the shadows
Anthropology professor Teresa Mares discusses the exploitation of the 1000–1200 Latinx immigrant farmworkers laboring in Vermont’s dairy economy, classified as “essential workers” during the pandemic in a recent article “What a stay-at-home order means for migrant dairy workers”.  Vermont legislators's concerns and the lack of stimulus checks for the workers are the subject of a recent VPR story

Food insecurity increases
A recent survey aimed at better understanding the early food insecurity impacts of COVID-19 (between March 29-April 12), finds a 33% increase in household food insecurity since COVID-19. Of those respondents, 35.6% of food insecure households classified as newly food insecure. The study also finds significant differences in coping strategies between respondents in newly food insecure vs. consistently insecure households.

Providers asking the right questions
Vermont has the highest prevalence of women reporting that a provider asked about depression during postpartum visits at 96.2%, according to a recent report by the CDC. 10.7% of women in the sample from Vermont experienced postpartum depressive symptoms, a common complication of pregnancy that can be addressed at multiple levels when diagnosed.

Why do some prefer raw milk?
Why do some Vermonters prefer raw milk over pasteurized milk? A recent paper examines consumers in Vermont, exploring their experiences with raw milk and their reasons in support of it. The study concludes that consumers are generally aware of the risks associated with raw milk, but choose it because they place a premium on the symbolic and practical impacts of their decisions within the Vermont food system.

Colorblind ideology examined
What are the societal consequences of colorblind ideology in interactions between Vermonters? A recent paper explores how colorblind ideology is reproduced among students in the state of Vermont at an after-school program with majority non-White students and all White staff. Using discourse analysis, the research demonstrates how staff members discouraging students from engaging in talk about race inadvertently reproduces existing racialized discourses. This dictates what kind of talk is or is not acceptable, and by whom. The study concludes that socializing students into colorblind ideology ensures reproduction of the current social order, benefiting only the dominant group.

Young voters all in for Sanders
Bernie Sanders captured the overwhelming majority voters between 18 and 22 during the primary season - winning two-thirds of this demographic in California, Maine, Vermont, and Nevada, and well over half the youth vote in almost every other state. A recent paper explores the reasons Sanders appeals more to younger voters by means of marketing and consumer decisions.

The town food saved
A recent case study examines Hardwick's local food systems. The study reports that Hardwick, although flourishing for producers who are outsourcing their Vermont-made products, is currently working to make itself beneficial consumers within its community. The paper concludes that the value-centric model used in the case study is a valuable starting off point for better understanding and improving our current food systems . (See Ben Hewitt's book for more on Hardwick's local food history). 

States adopt Vermont’s opiate prevention strategies
A number of more urban states have adopted several of Vermont’s opiate abuse prevention strategies, according to a new paper by Lucia Possehl. Landscapes of Care Amid Crisis: Vermont's Response to the Opioid Epidemic examines the leadership role Vermont has taken in reducing opiate-related death and disease.  See also a presentation by the graduating UVM Geography major here.

Mercury in sugar maples
Could Mercury (Hg) accumulate in maple sap? A recent study looks at mercury levels found in maple trees in New Hampshire, finding levels of Mercury in both wood and sap of sugar maples. The data displayed increasing Hg concentrations from the 1930s to a significant breakpoint in 1960. The researchers suggest this is due to declines in atmospheric Hg concentrations, a possible source. Fortunately, the levels found in  sap are orders of magnitude lower than the safe level in food.

Stereotypes and diversity
It's not too late to respond to the 2020 Census! While Vermont continues to be one of the least ethnically and racially diverse states in the country, state demographics are slowly changing. A recent article finds that those in ethnically homogenous societies show more-differentiated stereotypes; ironically, those with the least exposure have the most-distinct stereotypes, requiring less diverse areas to work harder to promote inclusivity and reduce racial disparities. The Census also expects to hire several thousand people in Vermont as it ramps up. Apply here.

Stretching out words -- so looooooong
Researchers at UVM's Computational Story Lab recently analyzed millions of tweets to look at how and when twitter users stretch out words. You can read about the study in Wired Magazine here.

Something Different
Want a detour from the day-to-day. And be reminded one of Vermont’s most interesting elections? Revisit the MudSeason podcast on the 1998 election in which Fred Tuttle demolishes his opponent in a VPR debate that featured questions about the proper pronunciation of certain Vermont towns, the number of teats on a cow and what a tedder is. This summer, the Center is researching other turning point media events in the state  – send your ideas to Richard Watts.

Support the research news
If you like our research newsletter consider a very small contribution at this secure website. Funds are used to hire students to edit, research and write the newsletter. We'll be happy to send you a thank you gift of one of two recent Center books; either Sam Hand: Green Mountain Scholar or the story of Sen. George Aiken  "Say We Won & Get Out."  Just let us know what you would like by emailing And thank you!

Mt Philo is the state’s most hiked state park. Historian Judy Chavez talks about what Mt Philo once looked like – no trees – and how it has changed over time. Of course, follow state rules and social distancing guidelines – for the latest rules see this website – but get out and enjoy!

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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 an understanding of the state's social, economic, cultural and physical environment.

Send your news items to Newsletter Editors Eliza Giles or Richard Watts. The newsletter is published on the 1st and 15th of each month. 

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