Bennington Local Food Summit
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC | As part of Bennington College's three-year grant from the Mellon Foundation to address food insecurity in Bennington County, the College will be hosting a Bennington Local Food Summit.
Schedule of Events
10:00-11:30am — Exploring Creative Strategies for Food Liberation in Vermont: Keynote Address by Amber Arnold and Jabari Saeed Jones of SUSU CommUNITY Farm in Brattleboro, VT (on Zoom)
The SUSU commUNITY Farm is an Afro Indigenous stewarded farm and land based healing center in Southern Vermont that elevates Vermont’s land and foodways. We do this by co-creating a life affirming and culturally relevant platform for Black, Indigenous, People of color, youth, under resourced folx, and allies to thrive and experience safety and connection while beginning to develop the tools and agency to heal from the trauma of colonization. Through collective commUNITY we aspire to co-create an equitable and just culture for the global majority to thrive in Vermont that centers access to safe and affirming food, commUNITY, and job opportunities. SUSU commUNITY Farm creates health equity by offering culturally relevant spaces that center earth based and afro-indigenous health and healing traditions as well as reclaiming and centering the wisdom, stories, and legacies of our ancestors.
12:00-1:00pm — Ask a Gardener: Q&A with Bennington's Master Gardeners (on Zoom)
1:00-2:00pm — Virtual Booths: Check out the Summit's YouTube channel for tutorials, presentations, farm tours, and more!
2:00-3:00pm — A Conversation Between Food Security and Local Food Advocates: The local food movement advocates for support of small, sustainable farms in Vermont, through increased consumer purchases at farmers markets, farm stands, and through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's). The food security movement advocates for a human right to high quality, fresh local food. How do we bring these two efforts together to make sure that everyone in Vermont can partake in food grown on our small sustainable farms? How do we support farmer livelihood while also making sure that local food is not only accessible to the most wealthy people in our community. In this Think Tank, folks from the local food movement and the food security movement will come together to share their stories and brainstorm ways of ensuring that locally farmed, fresh food is available to all Vermonters. Featuring Erin Ackerman-Leist (Regenerative Food Network/Bennington Food Hub), Roger Allbee (former VT Secretary of Agriculture), McKenna Hayes (Food Connects), Karen Trubitt (True Love Farm), Genna Williams (VT Foodbank), Scott Winslow (GBICS), and moderated by Jesse Pyles (Smokey House Center) (on Zoom).
4:00-5:30pm — Food Forest Futures Art Installation: Food Forest Futures draws from indigenous, permaculture and bio-intensive design strategies to introduce seven layers of a food forest, attract beneficial animals, microbes, and insects, and integrate plantings of beneficial, medicinal, edible plants. Rather than having one plant crop per row, plants are mixed together based on how they can help one another—through nutrients, structure, resistance to pests. These plant companions spark new understandings of how the cultivation of biodiverse food and habitat for our nonhuman kin simultaneously generates food and habitat for humans.
As a creative ecology, Food Forest Futures intervenes in the ecological dynamics of public and private
property in the rural context, and gestures towards natural-cultural worlds that might fold economic
divisions and redistribute abundance. Food Forest Futures gestures towards multi-species commons,
understanding the commons to be spaces of care, of “cooperative labor, common resources, and
communal distribution” that precedes European colonization in the Americas, as in many other parts of
the world. Food Forest Futures recognizes differing opportunities for cultivating commons, and invites
visitors and participants in the Food Summit to choose the combinations of plants, seeds, and
associated reading materials on offer to continue commoning in backyard, community, or guerrilla
Food Forest Futures takes place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Abenaki land.