VERMONT – For this year’s Agricultural Literacy Week, the Northeast Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) invites anyone interested in learning more about building a resilient food system in Vermont to tune in for a week-long, virtual celebration. The online events are free and open to the public, and designed to inform, educate and create community around the topic of agricultural resiliency in all of its forms.
Each night, Nov. 16 through 19, will feature an online gathering bringing together diverse voices of our community: farmworker rights group Migrant Justice, Missisquoi Abenaki chef Jessee Lawyer, students of gender studies and agriculture at Bennington College, and organic farmers building soil health and feeding their communities.
“Farmers and farmworkers haven’t stopped farming during the pandemic. And we’re not going to let social distance stop us from celebrating the economic and cultural importance of farms in Vermont,” said Livy Bulger, NOFA-VT’s education & engagement manager. “Agricultural Literacy Week is an opportunity to hear stories and engage in meaningful conversations, with a wide variety of folks involved in strengthening our food system.”
This program is a collaborative effort by NOFA-VT, the Vermont Dept. of Libraries and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. These events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. More information and links to register are available at nofavt.org/aglitweek, or by calling (802) 434-4122.
Exploring Abenaki Foodways cooking class
Monday, Nov. 16, 6-7:30 p.m.
Guest Speaker: Chef Jessee Lawyer
Description: Roll up your sleeves and gather in the kitchen for this virtual instructional cooking class taught by Missisquoi Abenaki chef Jessee Lawyer. Jessee will demonstrate how to create a seasonal dish showcasing Native techniques and pre-colonial, Vermont-grown and gathered ingredients. Recipes will be included so you can create the dish for your own family and friends.
#MilkwithDignity: Advancing the Human Rights of Farmworkers while Fostering a Sustainable Northeast Dairy Industry
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 6-7:30 p.m.
Guest Speakers: Migrant Justice
Description: The Milk with Dignity program, created by Migrant Justice, brings together farmworkers, consumers, farmer owners and corporate buyers with the principal goal of fostering a sustainable Northeast dairy industry that advances the human rights of farmworkers, supports the long-term interests of farm owners, and provides an ethical supply chain for retail food companies and consumers. Covid-19 has further proven how essential farmworkers are, as they continue to work day-in day-out to produce the milk and dairy products to feed our communities. Join us for this workshop to learn more about the Milk with Dignity Program, farmworkers’ continued struggle for justice and how you can get involved to help expand this powerful solution to the Hannaford supermarket’s supply chain.
Building Soil Health Resilience**
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 6-7:30 p.m.
Farmer panel: Misse Axelrod (Drift Farmstead), Nic Cook (Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center), Tyler Webb (Stony Pond Farm), Kate Spring (Good Heart Farmstead)
Description: Farms that build soil, sequester carbon and grow nutritious foods for their communities are webs of life. Mimicking the natural world and the deep ties of how we are all connected, resilience starts with soil, and builds out into whole-systems thinking. Join this panel of Vermont farmers as they share how their farms are an extension of the natural world that steward deeply interwoven systems for plant, animal and human communities to thrive.
**[Optional] Pre-Screen this Film: Rent the film “Biggest Little Farm” from your local library and watch the film before attending this workshop. This film is also available on Netflix.
Gender, Agriculture, and Food Access
Thursday, Nov. 19, 6-7:30 p.m.
Guest Speakers: Ike Leslie, postdoctoral researcher in food systems at the University of New Hampshire; Tatiana Abatemarco, Visiting Faculty of Food Studies, Bennington College; Bennington College students taking course Gender, Subsistence, and Agriculture
Description: In this workshop, students will share the results of an oral history project, interviewing farmers, gardeners, consumers, and advocates who work in a variety of local food access programs. Specifically, the research focuses on the intersections between food access projects and gender identity. The students will share their research results in conversation with local expert Ike Leslie, who has researched and published on the topic of gender and agriculture. The students’ research is part of their work in the class, Gender, Subsistence, and Agriculture at Bennington College.