by Corin Hirsch
Summer in and around UVM's Bailey/Howe Library can feel pretty sleepy, except perhaps on Thursday afternoons, when students from the school's Farmer Training Program gather near the entrance to sell kale, peppers, tomatoes and other goodies they've grown. Now, images of those farmers — as well as their historical counterparts — are on display in the library's lobby this summer, and a few local farmers will gather in the lobby on Thursday to celebrate the work.
"Growing Fields" draws together vivid images of UVM's farmers-in-training — as well as the food they grow— with vintage photos of the Vermont hayers, pickers and ploughs of yore. The exhibit runs until August 22, but on Thursday, three women farmers — Amanda Andrews of Burlington's Tamarack Hollow Farm, Nancy Hayden of Jeffersonville's the Farm Between, and UVM farmer-in-training program director Laura Williams — will talk about what drew them to the field during an afternoon reception.
The show offers a colorful glimpse into how UVM's innovative, summerlong program meshes with Vermont's deep agricultural history. The historic images have been culled from various UVM library collections, and depict haying near Brattleboro in 1909, pickers in period dress on Vergennes' McNeil's Farm, and an 1876 plough from the 19th-century publication Vermont Farmer.
Particularly poignant are the short bios of former FTP students, including Catherine Compitello '12, who ditched a career on Wall Street to learn farming at UVM and is now creating a rooftop farm in Brooklyn, the Farm Above.
The reception takes place Thursday, August 8, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Bailey/Howe Library, and attendees can nosh on free salad grown and prepared by student farmers. The library will also raffle off a few books on sustainability and farming published by Chelsea Green Publishing. For more information, call 656-3294.