Coming up on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 7:00 P.M. there will be a talk by Sarah Waring, Executive Director of the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) based in Hardwick, Vermont and Matthew Derr, President of Sterling College and a board member of CAE. The talk will take place at the First Congregational Church in Great Barrington as part of the annual membership meeting of the Berkshire Community Land Trust and Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires.

Hardwick, Vermont is an example of how farmers, entrepreneurs, citizens, government, and educators, working together, can effectively build a vibrant local economy that respects the region's unique landscape.

The Center for Agricultural Economy is at the hub of it all. CAE facilitated launch of High Mowing Seeds, a cheese cave aging and marketing multiple local farm specific varieties, a soybean operation for tofu processing with a waste product used to make a non-toxic wood coating, an organic compost company, a community kitchen for preparing vegetables for sale to local schools and other institutions, several farm to table restaurants, a bakery, maple products - and that's not all.

Nearby Sterling College's Rian Fried Center is preparing the next generation of farm/food/agricultural entrepreneurs to take on this tradition and grow it. Courses in draft horse management, cheese making, brewing, greenhouse management, apple tree pruning, etc. using the farmers in the region as instructors and providing hands on experience in successful agricultural enterprises.

This interlocking development of agricultural related businesses is possible in the Berkshires as well with some deliberate and considered co-ordination and the participation of citizen consumers in furthering.

Such a Community Supported Industry approach is of particular interest to the Berkshire Community Land Trust as it aims to expand the community land trust model to accommodate appropriately scaled manufacturing and retail locations in addition to saving farmland and providing affordable housing. Through a new two-tiered approach, the newly incorporated 501(c)(3) Berkshire Community Land Trust can receive donations of land and raise money for new sites, while the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires manages the leases on the sites.

For tickets and more information, email: office@berkshirecommunitylandtrust.org or call: (413)-528-4472

(press release sent to WSBS from the Berkshire Community Land Trust for online and on-air use)