Morning listen: did food save Hardwick, Vermont?

NPR’s Morning Edition aired a story this morning that fits right in with our Farmers Under 40 series.

Hardwick, Vermont, is the town, according to author Ben Hewitt, that “food saved.”  Local food, that is, and the smal farms, markets and other businesses that the locavore movement spawned around Hardwick.

Reporter Dan Charles found a more complicated story when he visited Hardwick:

But did food really save Hardwick? At the local high school, Hazen Union, some students in senior-level English classes have been reading and discussing Hewitt’s book as a class assignment. They don’t think it tells the whole story.

“He only covers one side of the town,” says Derek Demers. “There’s the side of the town that’s for the local food movement, but I think there’s an even greater side of the town, with more people, that can’t afford the local food. I work at our local supermarket grocery store, and I see most of the people in town there.”

Later, the story evolves further, as, Charles says, Hardwick is still evolving:

Take Pete Johnson. He owns one of the biggest organic farms in the area — Pete’s Greens.

“You know, some of this food has been kind of fancy and on the fringes and perhaps a bit overpriced because the efficiencies of production are low,” he says. “Our farm is small, and it’s really diversified, which means we’re not particularly efficient at raising anything.”

So Johnson is trying to get a little bit bigger and more efficient. Essentially, he’s moving a little bit in the “industrial” direction.

You can find our Farmers Under 40 series here. Monday, we looking at how the hard realities of farm economics: high cash flow – low margins, plays out on big and small farms.


6 Comments on “Morning listen: did food save Hardwick, Vermont?”

  1. Pete Klein says:

    What is all this food stuff?
    I know food is important but is this the only news to report on?

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  2. oa says:

    It’s a long, in-depth series, Pete, about a really important subject, locally and beyond. And I’m thankful for it.

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  3. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    What oa said…..I’m thankful for this series as well. Given most all the other local, national, and international news is depressing, it’s nice to read about the good things happening in the local food movement (and a little bit about the growing pains as well).

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  4. Ben Hamelin says:

    Here here – this story bleeds into other important topics as well, such as health and wellness – we all know the good stuff is pricey and the bad stuff cheap -hence the perpetual cycle of poor food for struggling families – compounding an already tough lifestyle – I believe we can tie many of our problems, social and economic, to food chains – these are the essentials of life and people are trying to improve life – a very important topic for sure, and talk about a large target audience!

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  5. oa says:

    And, as if we ordered it at the drive-thru, in comes a piece on why unhealthy food is so much cheaper (hint: gov’t subsidies):

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  6. Pete Klein says:

    If you eat a balanced diet (including meat and fish), clean it and properly prepare it, all food is healthy.
    Everything in moderation.

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