We organize and amplify the voices of those impacted by injustice in order to move toward greater food sovereignty in the Northeast Kingdom.
Grow Your Own
The Grow Your Own project – a collaboration among CAE, the Hardwick Area Food Pantry, and Wonder Arts – involves a steering committee of dedicated community volunteers with a mission to increase food independence, better health, and well-being through shared knowledge and experience. The program offers workshops taught by neighbors that focus on gardening, cooking, and food preservation. We support the Hardwick Community Gardens and build garden beds at apartment buildings nearby, with help from Hazen Union School students.
Interested in joining Grow Your Own or learning more? Membership and workshops are free and open to the public, and children are welcome. For more information, contact Heather Davis, executive director at the Hardwick Area Food Pantry or CAE Community Programs Manager Bethany Dunbar.
The collaboration between CAE, the Hardwick Area Food Pantry, and Wonder Arts continues with a new website, Nourish Hardwick. The goal of Nourish Hardwick is to share resources, and to be a one-stop online portal where community members can find information about food access in the region. The mission is to increase food independence, and to promote better health and well-being through shared knowledge and experience. During the pandemic our Community Programs team and staff created a prepared meals program with local restaurants that then became part of the statewide Everyone Eats project. Stay tuned as we take the lessons learned to continue some efforts to provide prepared meals.
Pies for People
Each November, our annual Pies for People event brings together volunteers and gleaned local produce in the spirit of sharing the bounty of the harvest! Each fall volunteers make more than 100 pies from gleaned squash - donated by High Mowing Organic Seeds. The pies go to our neighbors at the pantry, schools, and nursing homes in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. During the pandemic we created a new project when neighbors baked Thanksgiving pies at home to donate. We will regroup in the summer of 2022 to consider which direction to go with this project in the fall.
Produce to Pantries
Local food networks are nimble, flexible, and adaptive, this allows them to meet the needs of the community in ways larger, centralized systems cannot. The pandemic has illuminated many ways that the industrial food system doesn’t work to feed and nourish everyone. After participating in the national USDA Farmers to Families Food Box programs in 2020, we asked, “How can we localize this effort? Can we use our existing relationships and infrastructure to involve local small-scale farmers and our local pantries to meet the needs of our communities?”
The answer is Produce to Pantries, a partnership between the CAE and the Hardwick Area Food Pantry (HAFP). We buy produce from local farms, which is distributed at HAFP’s three sites in Hardwick, Albany, and Craftsbury. Not only does this get quality, locally-grown produce to more households - we intentionally seek small-scale and emerging farm partners to build equity among small farmers in our area. It is truly an example of neighbors feeding neighbors, and communities looking out for each other. Learn more.