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Welcome to the Local Food & Farm Guide 2022

LINDSEY BERK

Recently, during a Farm to School meeting, the term “Sense of Place” was mentioned a few times. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that term, but a question kept echoing in my mind. What does it mean for one to have a Sense of Place?

Without recognizing it, I’d spent the previous six weeks exploring my sense of place, as a participant in Shelburne Farms’ Land Acknowledgement series. I spent time being in deeper relation to this land known as the Champlain Valley, located between Lake Champlain (known by the Abenaki as Bitawbagw, or the Lake Between) and the Green Mountains (Askaskwiwajoak).

In addition to our region’s mind-blowing geologic history (a white beluga whale skeleton was found in Charlotte in 1849! The original Adirondacks were higher than the Himalayas!), I spent time trying to understand the people who were, and continue to be, caretakers here. The Abenaki, specifically the Winooski band in the northern Champlain Valley, and the Mohican, in the southern Champlain Valley.

I write these words in the place I call home, Brandon, which was once called Neshobe, or “full of water.” The Abenaki did not cede this land of milk and honey, and many of the names in use today still reflect their sense of place, with the very word Winooski (Winoskitegw) referring to the flowing river where wild onions (ramps) were abundant every spring. The Abenaki’s sense of place was, and continues to be, vital to their survival. Is it not the same for the rest of us?

As we move forward into what some are calling “the new normal,” I emerge with a new perspective of my sense of place. I was recently interviewed by VPR’s Brave Little State for a light hearted chat about whether or not Vermont is a good place to ride out an apocalypse. Spoiler alert: most folks said yes. I tend to agree, as I’ve seen through ACORN’s Farmacy: Food is Medicine program and the publication of this very Guide, through the Farm to School network and the Tour de Farms, how much our community at large cares. Cares about this land, each other and their sense of place.

Hypothetical apocalypse aside, ACORN’s emerging work on a food hub space in Addison County excites me. We are building a physical manifestation of what this sense of place looks like for our local food system: its growers and producers, its eaters, and the land from where the food is cultivated.

The cover art also reflects this sense of place. Camel’s Hump (Tawapodiiwajo, or place to sit on a mountain), bears witness to a young farmer’s dedication to her task at hand, tending to the soil to feed herself, her family and her community.

Please use this Guide as a resource to develop your own sense of place. Connect with some of the 257 Champlain Valley food producers and farmers who are dedicated to feeding our community and stewarding this land.

As you’ll read in the following pages, you can support local food producers by shopping at farm stands and local grocers, and by frequenting restaurants that source locally. And, of course we can’t talk about food and farming without also mentioning their effects on climate. You’ll learn about clean water initiatives and regenerative growing practices across the region. You’ll read about ACORN’s emerging online wholesale market as well as our appreciation of a couple of farmers we’ve lost this past year.

Stay connected to ACORN by signing up for our monthly e-newsletter at www.acornvt.org, and by downloading the Eat Local VT app on your phone.

Whether you live here or you’re visiting, please take a moment and give thanks to the land on which you’re reading this Guide.

With gratitude,

Lindsey Berk, Executive Director, ACORN

Read the full Local Food & Farm Guide 2022 here.

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The Addison Independent will be closed on Monday, July 4th. The newspaper will be published on Thursday, as usual.