By MARIA BUTEUX READE
On Saturday, Feb. 25, we were reminded once again of the invaluable resource we have in our Manchester Community Library. The library hosted “From the Ground Up,” a biennial program that raises awareness of the ways that farms and local food in the Northshire region enhance our community.
I was honored to serve on the event’s planning committee along with Cindy Waters, the library’s adult services and programming coordinator; Liz Ruffa, of Northshire Grows; and Scout Proft, of Someday Farm. The four of us spent three months organizing the day-long symposium, which drew 85 attendees from all over the state. The event was free of charge and could not have happened without the generous contributions of time and talent from a range of community members.
First and foremost, I would like to thank the Manchester Community Library for once again opening its doors — and nearly every space within the facility — to host this event. For many guests, this was their first time in our beautiful hall of enlightenment, and they were duly impressed by this community resource. The space accommodated the keynote addresses, break-out discussion groups and a catered luncheon.
We would like to thank our presenters: Jake Claro, program director of Vermont’s Farm to Plate Network; Philip Ackerman-Leist, professor of sustainable agriculture at Green Mountain College; Dale Coppin, of Grateful Hearts; and Jesse Pyles, executive director of Smokey House Center. Mara Hearst, of Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, assisted as well.
The day was truly a collaborative effort, and guests departed with a deeper understanding of the myriad assets our area possesses in terms of programs, people, places and products that keep our community nourished in body, mind and soul.