Friday, November 18, 2011

Photo Album: Pies for People 2011

...and here they are! Photos from our fourth annual Pies for People/Soup for Supper event, held in the Sterling College kitchen in Craftsbury, Vermont. Two nights of baking and cooking. Thank you to the farmers, businesses, Sterling College, the students and the amazing volunteers who together, made this another amazing event.

Pies for People 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dec. 2nd, Local Authors Reading in Hardwick, VT

For Immediate Release

Local Authors Reading in Hardwick, VT

Hardwick, VT – November 17, 2011 - Say good-bye to Stick Season and prepare for the coming snow with a cozy gathering of agricultural authors and producers, who will read from  their original work on Friday, December 2nd at 6:30pm at St. John's Episcopal Church on Five West Church St. (catty corner from Hardwick Electric)

Co-sponsored by the Galaxy Bookshop and the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE), the authors are Bethany Dunbar, Ben Hewitt, Pete Johnson, Annie Myers and JuliaShipley. An informal discussion will follow at Claire’s Restaurant at 41 S. Main Street.

Please bring a non-perishable item for the Hardwick Food Pantry or monetary donation to benefit the CAE's Food Access Fund.

For questions, please contact Elena Gustavson at the CAE or call 802-472-5840, ext 2

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pies for People, Soup for Supper- One door closes, but another one opens

Hardwick, VT, November 15, 2011 -With just hours left before our first of two bake nights for our annual Pies for People/Soup for Supper event, I find myself with a rare and quiet hour to reflect. Not on recipes, nor logistics or even hunger, but to reflect on kitchens.

Since its inception in 2009, when Julia Shipley organized the first pie bake, the kitchen at Sterling College, with its u-shaped counter sitting squarely beneath the hanging pot racks, has welcomed a cadre of volunteers to roll dough, simmer soup and bake pies. The ancient stoves and ovens never failed to fire up, every imaginable pot and gadget was within arm’s reach and we blasted the music from the beat up speakers that sat high above the stainless steel sinks. This year, sadly, is our last year to bake in this wonderful little kitchen on the Common.

The hours of work, coordination and stress that lead up to this event - the dozens of phone calls and emails, juggling requests and schedules, checking list after list and then checking again – fade away the moment I walk into this kitchen that I once thought of as my own. Years after leaving, I still feel at home in this space, everything familiar and welcoming. Even under the fluorescent lighting, there is something warm and comforting, about this “institutional” kitchen.

Next year, we will be moving this event to the newly built Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick, where we can take this event to the next level within our Food Access Program at the CAE. In a state of the art facility, with efficient, professional equipment, a large space and easily accessed storage, our goal is to produce enough food for the local pantries to stock their freezers for months. It is exciting to imagine the possibilities and deeply gratifying to know that our work will continue to not only feed our community, but to bring a new awareness to hunger and need in our State.

According to the USDA, 14.6% of our population was food insecure in 2008. That represents over 49 million people, of whom 16 million are children. Those are staggering numbers.

On a local level, we directly impact hundreds of people when they eat the pies or soup at community dinners, school lunch, as a snack at one of the senior centers or as a client of the local Food Pantries. On a regional level, we hope to inspire others to work with food security organizations towards a solution for hunger from a local perspective using fresh, healthy ingredients. Neighbors helping neighbors. A community feeding their community.

We know that we cannot end hunger with a slice of pie or a bowl of soup, but if our Pies for People, Soup for Supper event gets people talking, involved and working towards a solution, then we are supporting those who take on hunger every day. That said, I will work with joy tonight and tomorrow, savoring the last few hours I will spend in this wonderfully funky kitchen that embraces community in every aspect of its internal architecture. When I turn out the lights and lock the doors tomorrow night though, it will be bittersweet.

Elena Gustavson
Program Director
Education and Outreach
Center for an Agricultural Economy, Hardwick, Vermont

Friday, November 11, 2011

Local Author Event on Dec. 2nd - SAVE THE DATE!

We are bringing back last year's popular Local Author Event, in partnership with the Galaxy Bookshop and to benefit our Food Access Fund and the Hardwick Area Food Pantry.

Join us Friday, December 2nd at 630pm, location to be determined, to hear local authors AND farmers read their pieces on food and agriculture. Bethany Dunbar, Ben Hewitt, Julia Shipley, Pete Johnson and others to be announced. 

Monetary donations for the Food Access Fund and non-perishable goods will be accepted at the door. 

Call 472-5840 or email for more information. Stay tuned for more details!

Craftsbury, VT - Photo by A. Perry Heller Photography

Friday, November 4, 2011

CAE and Sterling College - Who is Ready to Bake Some Pies?

For Immediate Release

The Center for an Agricultural Economy and Sterling College get ready for the fourth annual “Pies for People/Soup for Supper”

Craftsbury, Vermont – With donated organic squash puree from local farms, volunteer labor and the donated facilities at Sterling College, the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE), located in Hardwick, VT, is gearing up to bake 150 pies and 50 gallons of soup for area food pantries, community dinners, schools and senior centers.

On November 15th and 16th volunteers from Sterling College and the surrounding community will turn gallons of sweet squash puree into pies and soup. The CAE will then distribute the pies and soup to eight organizations in the area, including the Hardwick Food Pantry and the Hardwick Community Dinner.

Since its inception in 2007, Pies for People/Soup for Supper has strived to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity in Vermont by capturing high quality vegetables destined for the waste stream, utilizing donated labor and facilities and, most importantly, collaborating with area organizations and businesses to highlight how a community can feed its own community in times of need.

For more information, to donate or volunteer, please contact Elena Gustavson at or visit

Media Contact:                                                         

Elena Gustavson                                                         
Center for an Agricultural Economy                                                  
(802) 472-5840, ext 2                        

Tim Patterson
Sterling College
(802) 586-7711, ext 124