Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Concept2's Annual Holiday Challenge Honors the CAE, SlowFood, Oxfam International and Feeding America

Contact: Meredith Haff
(877) 887-7805

Concept2’s 10th Annual Holiday Challenge to Benefit Food-Related Organizations

November 23, 2009 – Morrisville, VT – With holiday foods everywhere you turn this time of year, Concept2 offers a way to fend off holiday weight gain and stress while helping others in need with the 10th Annual Holiday Challenge. This year, the Holiday Challenge helps put food on the table for struggling families by supporting organizations whose mission it is to make sure our food is healthy, sustainable and that no one goes hungry.

Participants choose an exercise goal of 100K or 200K to complete between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then record their progress online in the free Concept2 Online Logbook. The Holiday Challenge rewards motivation and perseverance, not speed. Finishers are recognized with certificates of completion and honorary pins. In the past ten years, Concept2 rowers have rowed over 5.3 trillion meters! To include even more participants, Concept2 invites skiers to include their Concept2 SkiErg meters as well.

For every person who rows or skis at least 100K during the challenge, Concept2 will donate $.02 for every kilometer (1000 meters) to one of the following organizations: Oxfam International (oxfam.org), Slow Food USA (slowfoodusa.org), Feeding America (feedingamerica.org) and The Center for an Agricultural Economy (hardwickagriculture.org). For each kilometer beyond 100K, Concept2 will donate an additional $.04. There are awards in kids and adaptive categories as well.

“Keeping fit and eating healthy can be especially challenging at this time of year,” explains Concept2 Co-Founder Judy Geer, “and the Holiday Challenge provides a great goal to help participants stay focused.” The Holiday Challenge provides incentive to stay healthy during the holidays while also helping those in need. The not-for-profit organizations in this year’s Holiday Challenge were chosen based on their efficient use of funding, reputation and unique programming. Participants have a choice of which organization they choose to support.
In 2008, Concept2 first supported charitable causes through the Holiday Challenge; over $26,000 was raised for organizations working on environmental issues. This year’s goal to raise $30,000 requires the dedication of rowers and skiers to join together for a good cause, one meter at a time.

For more information on the 10th Annual Online Holiday Challenge, or for details on where to find a Concept2 Indoor Rower at a health facility near you, please visit www.concept2.com.
Concept2 was founded by Dick and Peter Dreissigacker in 1976. Fresh from Olympic training, the two brothers designed and manufactured carbon fiber racing oars, then went on to create the world’s first air-resistance indoor rower. The SkiErg, launched in 2009, builds upon Concept2’s years of experience in designing and manufacturing high-performance training equipment. For more information about Concept2, visit concept2.com.

Two Paths Less Traveled-Recycling Takes Many Forms

An article by Alexandra Jump, for Livin' Magazine about Steve Gagner and our own Tom Gilbert, Executive Director of Highfields Center for Composting and one of our directors on the CAE board.

"Every once in a while you get lucky and you meet someone who is actively making change for the good. This is a story about two such individuals who are, in their own ways, making Vermont and the world we live in a better place. I don’t think they know each other or travel in the same circles. In fact from the outside, they are pretty different: One is a leader in the sustainable agriculture community and the other is an officer in the Vermont National Guard. One could be considered a liberal crunch muffin and the other a conservative joe, but dig a little deeper and you will find two men who have remarkable similarities. Both detest political labels and both are cleaning things up in their own way. "

Read the rest of the article here

Dan Rather Reports on Hardwick Area Food System

Dan Rather Reports visited the Hardwick area and its surrounding communities this last September. After visiting and interviewing local farms, businesses, and Monty Fischer, our executive director for the Center for an Agricultural Economy, the following segment aired on November 17, 2009 on HD Net.

Thank you to High Mowing Organic Seeds for posting this video for all to enjoy.

Hardwick Area Food System on "Dan Rather Reports" This video is made available to you from The Center for an Agricultural Economy via High Mowing Seeds on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bake Night for Pies for People, Soup for Supper!!

Collaboration and Local Food: A Community Feeds Its Community

Hardwick, VT-November 10, 2009-Harvested from the fields of High Mowing Seeds and processed at Pete’s Greens, squash destined for the compost pile will once again, find new life in feeding people.

The Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) has organized a second Pies for People project, an area wide collaboration of farms, schools and agricultural producers that creates and delivers local food to local people during the holiday season. This year, not only has the project expanded to more than double the number of pies baked, it will also make squash soup for donation to local food shelves and senior care homes.

Pies for People, Soup for Supper will culminate in the Sterling College kitchen for two “Bake Nights” on November 17th and November 18th. Student volunteers from UVM, Sterling College and Craftsbury Academy will create and bake 135 pies and simmer 20 gallons of soup, made of donated local ingredients. The pies and soup will be delivered on November 18th and 19th to the Hardwick Area Food Pantry, Hardwick’s Community Dinner, Hardwick Elementary, Greensboro Early Learning Center, Greensboro Nursing Home, Craftsbury Academy for their autumn concert, Craftsbury Community Care Center and the Woodbury Calais Food Shelf.

This project could not have been possible without the working partnerships between the Center for an Agricultural Economy, Sterling College and the University of Vermont, or from the generous donation of services and ingredients from the following local agricultural businesses:

  • Butternut squash and pumpkin grown by High Mowing Seeds in Wolcott and harvested by Sterling College students
  • The cooking and processing of the puree by the crew at Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury
  • The use of the Sterling College kitchen to assemble and bake the pies, and cook the soup
  • Highfields Center for Composting in Hardwick will process all the compost-able waste
  • Storage provided by the Vermont Foodbank at its facility in Wolcott
  • The generous donation of chicken broth for the soup and the use of a refrigerated truck by Pete’s Greens
  • Pie crusts made by Charlie Emers of Patchwork Bakery in East Hardwick
  • Recipes created and donated by Steven Obranovich of Claire’s Restaurant in Hardwick
  • Pie and soup ingredients donated by Organic Valley, Butterworks Farm, Agape Hill Farm, Butternut Mountain Farm, Cabot Creamery, Buffalo Mountain Co-op, High Mowing Seeds, Sterling College and Pete’s Greens
  • The tireless, enthusiastic student, staff and community volunteers from Sterling College and UVM

The CAE sees the pies and soup project as a collaborative effort to meet the needs of a community using locally grown and donated produce. Many individuals and organizations in the
greater Hardwick community over the years have generously donated to the food pantry and other community service organizations, and it is the hope of the CAE that the Pies for People, Soup for Supper program will be another inspiration to others in the months ahead.

Elena Gustavson, Education and Community Outreach Coordinator,
Center for an Agricultural Economy,
Tel: 802-472-5840, email: elena@hardwickagriculture.org

Kate Camara, Director of Media Relations,
Sterling College,
Tel: 802-586-7711, ext 124, email: kcamara@sterlingcollege.edu

Creation And Funding Of New Center Are Announced At Vermont Farm Bureau Gathering

New Agricultural Innovation CenterWill Take ‘Vermont Branding’ To Next Level

RUTLAND, Vt. (FRIDAY, Nov. 6) -- A grant secured by Senator Patrick Leahy will be used to launch a new Vermont Agricultural Innovation Demonstration Center, to help develop new Vermont products and chart new avenues for Vermont’s farmers and businesses to connect with untapped customers and markets. Leahy aide Tom Berry made the announcement Friday in remarks in Rutland before the Vermont Farm Bureau.
Leahy secured $469,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture funding for the new Center, which will be housed at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. Leahy is a senior member of both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
The Center will use the grant to provide technical assistance for developing new Vermont crops and products; for market research and promotion; for promoting agricultural and culinary tourism; and for a wide range of other services to expand the reach of Vermont’s agricultural products.
In a statement, Leahy said, “The Center will spark economic progress at several levels of our economy. It will widen the reach of Vermont’s farmers and businesses by linking their farms, goods and products directly to new customers. Value-added production, and the marketing to go with it, is at the heart of our Vermont Branding strategy. The importance of value-added agriculture to our export economy is especially apparent now, when our farmers are struggling with volatile and historically low commodity prices, and when markets often seem beyond our control. We can contribute to a thriving future for Vermont agriculture by creating new opportunities to add value right on the farm and at nearby businesses, and by building our own national and international markets.”
These funds will also launch the Vermont Agriculture Development Corporation, an independent nonprofit enterprise to support agricultural businesses through capital development and other private sector work. In addition, an Agricultural and Culinary Tourism Council will be established to coordinate efforts in this quickly growing arena.
The next step for the Agriculture Innovation Center will be the appointment by Vermont Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee of a Board of Directors representing Vermont’s diverse agricultural sectors of dairy, livestock, produce, maple syrup and organics.
Vermont Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee said, “Vermont has been a leader in innovative agriculture for generations. The funding that we are receiving today will allow us to move forward more quickly on projects that will put help us to be strategically placed in creative business strategies and to build models of innovation for our state and the country.”
Vermont Farm Bureau President Jackie Folsom said, “The Vermont Farm Bureau looks forward to participating in the Vermont Agricultural Innovation Center on behalf of our members and the agricultural community. This exciting new program, focusing on the continued innovation and diversification of our farmers, can only strengthen our industry and add to the economic base of the state."
Enid Wonnacott, Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, said, "The Vermont Agricultural Innovation Center is an important resource for farmers and agricultural businesses in Vermont, including both the establishment of the Agricultural Development Corporation to provide capital and business planning services to start-up businesses, and support for farmers who want to develop new markets. The Vermont Agricultural Innovation Center will be a critical resource for the people that are making a lot happen in Vermont agriculture right now -- entrepreneurs, farmers interested in capturing new market share and agricultural businesses that want to build on the values of Vermont's brand."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hardwick Farm Hit Hard by Fire Over the Weekend

We just learned that the McAllister family has been hit very hard by fire this weekend.

Friday night, Russell and Cherly McAllister on Route 15 West lost their entire dairy herd of 106 Holsteins and Jersey. The blaze was battled by fire crews from Hardwick, Craftsbury, Elmore, Greensboro, Walden, Wolcott and Woodbury. Although the crews were able to keep the fire spreading to the farmhouse, the barn was destroyed and it was too late to save the animals.

Raoul McAllister, brother to Russell, owns a house on Lower Cherry Street that caught fire Sunday morning. There is concern that the house is a total loss in spite of the crews best efforts to save it.

Today's Caledonian-Record has the front page story. Our hearts and thoughts are with the McAllister family.