NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- A heartening story about how local food, agriculture and ingenuity is creating a revitalized economy in Hardwick, Vt., will be told June 16 by Ben Hewitt, book author of "The Town That Food Saved -- How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food" (Rodale Press 2010). Hewitt lives and farms in Vermont on a diversified, 40-acre farm producing dairy, beef, pork, lamb, vegetables, and berries along with his wife and two sons.
The event Wed., June 16, at 7:30 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church, 59 Summer St., North Adams, is free and open to the general public.
Sharon Wyrrick writes that Hardwick, a town of just over 3,000 citizens, is long past its heyday as a mining center. Along with its neighboring communities in the hardscrabble Northeast Kingdom section of Vermont, Wyrrick says, it is now home to a wide variety of both old-fashioned and cutting-edge food and agriculture businesses.
"Hardwick's success in establishing a thriving local agriculture infrastructure has been documented in the national press, including a segment on Dan Rather Reports for HDNet, and a lengthy article in The New York Times food section," Wyrrick wrote in an email to Greylock News.
With over 100 new jobs, all related to local food production, they've put themselves on the map with innovative additions to their food system serving local residents, as well as regional and national markets, Wyrrick wrote. "There's a thriving vegetable seed company, a year-round community supported agriculture farm, a world-class cheese cave, an innovative investment strategy for opening new local food restaurants, and a compost company to close the loop."
Most of all, Wyrrick wrote, an adventurous and can-do attitude coupled with collaboration with the region's Center for Agricultural Economy, have been key.
Below is excerpted from the book jacket of "The Town that Food Saved" --
For nearly a century, the blue-collar community of Hardwick, Vt., has known hard times. The town's median income runs 25 percent below the state average; its unemployment rate, 40 percenthigher. But over the past three years-amid an economic crisis that threatens to cripple small business and privately owned farms across the nation. Hardwick has jump-started its economy with a stunning number of food-based businesses built by a group of young, innovative entrepreneurs who support each other by sharing advice, equipment, and capital.
Co-sponsors for the event are Target: Hunger North Berkshire, Berkshire Grown, Gramercy Bistro, Wild Oats Community Market, Images Cinema, and Food Matters: From the Ground Up. For more information, call Kim McMann at 413-672-1167, or contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .