My decision to become a vegetarian over 15 years ago forced me to learn more about food and cooking. In order to get the proper nutrients I had to learn to eat more than pasta and cheese. I moved to VT in 1991 when I was a freshman at Southern Vermont College in Bennington VT. After college I moved up to the Stratton area. One of my many jobs was at a health food store in Londonderry. It was here where I learned so much more about food and natural health. I worked in the store during the day and at night I did prep cook work for the restaurant they owned next door. I loved going into the garden each evening and picking the editable flowers to add to each freshly made salad for the customers that night.
After a few years we grew tired of the resort life. I had just turned 21 and I craved music, nightlife and more creative energy so we headed north and settled in Burlington. Three or four years later I had an opportunity to move to CA and I took it. I spent 2 years there before moving back to Burlington after meeting and getting married in CA before we left. Tomorrow will be our 7 year wedding anniversary and 7 years since we moved to VT from CA.
Ever since we got here we have never really thought we would stay. Two children, a house and 7 years later we are still here and I finally feel like our roots are planted. Yesterday I was reminded of just why I love VT so much.
We joined our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm share program the Intervale Community Farm. We did it with another farm a few years ago where we picked up our weekly veggies at a house in the neighborhood. This one is completely different. You actually go to the farm to get your share. So we pull up with the two kids and we thought there was a party going on. Kids everywhere playing together, climbing trees, and digging in the sandboxes. Watching adults sitting around conversing with each other and the kids playing just gave me this overwhelming sense of community. We picked up our share of food and also were lucky to pick our own strawberries and herbs on top of our share for that week. We stayed to let the kids play for a while. It was truly wonderful. The kids can't wait to go back.
VT has a huge "buy local" kick right now. Supporting these farmers through the csa programs, buying local products as much as possible is helping to add to VT economy. The other benefit is environmental. Why buy lettuce that has been trucked out from CA when you can buy it local? The taste difference is hands down undeniable. Of course the winter months can get tough to buy local veggies but a lot of these farms are also starting to offer winter shares to get carrots, squash etc throughout the winter.
I highly recommend seeing if your area offers a CSA farm share program. Not only are you getting super fresh food, you are also saving money and helping support the farmers. There are so many wonderful reasons why everyone should start thinking local. Help build a better community where you live.