Good news in hard times

Perhaps the only good news in the papers these days is in the food section?

The New York Times today offers a piece about Hardwick, VT, where the movement to save the town has taken on the feel of a collective composed of artisanal food makers and agricultural entrepreneurs. Between them, they have created an unprecedented 75-100 new jobs in the area even in this time of severe job cuts throughout the nation.

I know a bit about Vermonters: we moved there when I was 2, and there I stayed through college. BUT I would never presume to call myself a Vermonter, since I remember well how my father laughed at the obituaries in the local paper one day. “Look at this headline,” he said, “‘New Hampshire Woman Dies.'” Not too funny on its own, but when you read the paragraph through, you found that she was 89 when she died and had lived in Vermont from the time she was something like 2 months old. So yes, Vermonters tend to be wary of “outsiders.”

The article does point out that some worry that successful businesses may be “tempted to sell out to companies that would not have Hardwick’s best interests at heart,” but conlcudes

…the participants have reason to be optimistic: Mr. Stearns said that within one week six businesses wanted to meet with him to talk about moving to the Hardwick area.

“Things that seemed totally impossible not so long ago are now going to happen,” said Mr. Kehler. “In the next few years a new wave of businesses will come in behind us. So many things are possible with collaboration.”

It’s heartening to see how a group of people dedicated to producing excellent food are nurturing not only their own crops and businesses but also finding a way to nurture others in the area to economic health. (And is it any surprise that Vermont is the only state with a Socialist (Independent Bernie Sanders) in Congress?!?)

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