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Stuck in Vermont: Neighbors Feeding Neighbors in Craftsbury

Episode 617

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John Gunterman and his wife moved to Vermont three years ago from Tennessee to enjoy country life. Before the pandemic, John was a student at Sterling College in Craftsbury studying sustainable food systems. Since John is a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and suffers from lung damage, PTSD and a traumatic brain injury, his tuition was paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Veteran Readiness and Employment benefit. He also purchased three meals a day prepared largely from crops grown on the farm by students at the college. After the coronavirus caused the campus to shut down, John became food insecure. An ironic situation for a former pastry chef who is knowledgeable about local food systems.

In May, John was one of the hundreds of people who lined up at the airport in Berlin to receive food from the Vermont National Guard and the Vermont Foodbank. He waited for 14 hours in the five-mile-long line of cars, and the farm food was gone by the time it was his turn.

With an increase in VT EBT funds, John was able to sign up for weekly CSAs at Sterling College and Pete’s Greens. He also visits the Craftsbury/Albany pop-up pantry at the United Church of Craftsbury every Thursday to pick up a box of fresh food, much of it donated by local farmers. In typical Vermont fashion, he also picks up a box for his neighbor.

Eva spent the afternoon with John as he picked up his share in Craftsbury and headed home to West Glover to prepare a salad for lunch. She also spoke about the importance of community support with Kris Coville, the organizer of the pop-up pantry and Gwyneth Harris, the garden manager at Sterling College.

John is passionate about healthy food and he hopes that by sharing his story, he will inspire other veterans to reach out for help when they need it.

Benefit programs that help Vermonters and find out more from the Vermont Foodbank and Hunger Free Vermont.

Shooting date: 7/9/20

Music: Cooper Cannell, “Simple Gifts”

This episode of Stuck in Vermont was supported by

New England Federal Credit Union