Harvest season and Thanksgiving are my favorite times of year. The trees hanging onto those few yellow brown leaves, the dramatic cloudy skies. It is the end of the season of growth and a time of transition. At this time, my mind turns to contemplation and reflection. In this contemplation, my feelings turn to gratitude as is traditional during the time of Thanksgiving.
Through the process of developing and performing the Farm to Ballet Project I have met so many amazing Farmers and visited so many beautiful farms. Epic farms like Shelburne, Billings and Sandiwood, whose acres seem to have no end. To farms that are nestled in the Vermont hills like Moonrise, Heartwood and Vermont Grand View Farm. We have seen it all from farms that grow organically, to regeneratively, to conventionally. They grow for all sorts of reasons. There are the family farms that grow for the farmers market, some that grow for the CSA, and some for the grocery store shelves. There are even non-profit farms that do wonderful things to support youth education, farming best practices education, tourism and the local economy. It is safe to say we have so much to thank our farmers for.
Besides what they do for our home in Vermont, I have also been overwhelmed by the generosity of the farmers who have welcomed our ragtag group of dancers often literally into their homes. It is not easy to open up your home and livelihood to a bunch of strangers but these farms have treated us like family.
I have so much gratitude for Farmers who not only steward the land preparing food for our Thanksgivings, but also provide a stage for our performance and open their hearts and homes. They welcome in their neighbors and community and help to bring our mission to life. We are so thankful that we can show our appreciation through our ballet meant to honor them.
While the local food movement here in Vermont is active it requires us to continually re-engage in eating food from farms right here at home. So while I'm cutting Billings Farm Butter Cheddar for my family’s cheese plate or cracking eggs from Studio Hill's chickens- I'll be thinking about the people who spend their days tending to the earth to make it all happen. While shopping for your thanksgiving dinner this year take a moment at your CSA pick up or the grocery store to give thanks the people who make it happen.
Thank you farmers. For all you do for me, for Farm to Ballet, and for our state.
Do you want to eat more local food? Check out this graphic of amazing Farm to Ballet past venues who also sell farm fresh food!
Want to share a fresh local turkey with your family this year? Check this out
These are only the beginning! Check out NOFA for more farm stand, farmers markets, and CSA information.
Eileen Maddocks returned to ballet when she retired and studies with Chatch Pregger. She performed with Farm to Ballet for four seasons. She is also a writer with her own publishing company that specializes in religious history.