Letter: What a great thing we have

What a great thing we have

Editor of the Reformer:

Since announcing the reformation of our Reformer, a return to reflecting our diverse community as only a local paper can, I have seen many more stories on all of the local happenings we can be proud of. Kudos to the Reformer, and I expect we will see many more improvements.

Within the past several weeks — through the articles of Chris Mays, Maddi Shaw, Nancy Olson, Anthony Burdo, Joyce Marcel, Cicely Eastman and others — I have learned a lot more about the missions of the Strolling of the Heifers. But an author of a recent letter (June 7), seems to have missed these numerous articles.

I spent time last summer volunteering with the Stroll's farm-to-table culinary apprenticeship program. I saw kitchen newbies learn the basics of a professional kitchen from local chef Tristan Toleno. Applicants to the training/mentoring program previously had challenges in finding employment have been able to extend their apprenticeships into employment in local food businesses.

The Slow Living Summit pulled in several hundred people committed to sustainable lifestyles. These visionaries and educators shared their spirits and ideas, returning to their own communities for further action.

When small local entrepreneurs compete in the Stroll's Farm/Food Business Planning Competition, their efforts are expanded, more people are hired, more local farm products are used and more farmers are active.

Brattleboro had an empty, unworkable building in the center of town. Through much work, grant writing and hiring of local contractors, the Robert H. Gibson River Garden is now the headquarters of the Strolling of the Heifers and hosts community groups and individuals nearly every day with brown bag lunches. Several times a week, local non-profit and service groups utilize the renovated space to bring their messages to the public. A new kitchen has increased the potential usage of the building.

Although I support as many local businesses as I can, buying Vermont first, I do not have a problem with large corporations supporting the Stroll. It's a step in the right direction.

There are many more issues in our world that need to be addressed. More than enough problems for all of us. Take some and make them yours. You can oppose and resist our profit-driven food system. Have at it. But why tear down a terrific organization with a small paid staff and hundreds of others who volunteer because they can't change all the world's problems?

The ideas of Orly Munzing, the founder of the Stroll, have expanded. They have resulted in numerous new jobs, actions and events in which hundreds of lives have been touched. Our community is fortunate to have someone like Orly supporting Vermont's agricultural community.

Bobbie Groves, West Halifax, June 10


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