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Ben Hewitt

Author of the critically acclaimed The Town That Food Saved and the forthcoming Making Supper Safe, Ben Hewitt, a diversified, small-scale farmer, shows how regionalized agriculture and food production holds the potential to reinvigorate our bodies, communities, and economies. It is not merely a sense of physical wellbeing that emerges from a health food system, but a durable prosperity that does not depend on easy credit or cheap energy.

Hewitt tells the inspiring story of Hardwick, Vermont, the town at the center of his book, and explains how other communities can learn and benefit from Hardwick’s unique food system model. He discusses the key components – both tangible and intangible – necessary to build local food systems and addresses the very real challenges this work entails.

As the global economy continues to limp toward a future that can sometimes seem bleak and dispiriting, Hewitt delivers a message that is at once sobering and profoundly inspirational. We can heal our communities and the citizens within them; we have the power to put them on a path toward long-term health and stability. We know we need to change course. Ben Hewitt shows us how.

Program Descriptions

Growing a Local Food System

What do we talk about when we talk about local food? Hewitt’s nuanced and inclusive accounting of what makes a healthy food system is essential information for anyone interested in fomenting local agriculture, whether it’s at the level of an individual business, a non-profit, or a community alliance. He discusses the “local food as economic driver” model, as well as the “local food as local nourishment” model and how they can work in conjunction to create truly sustainable enterprise.

Re-imaging Prosperity

Recent events have exposed the tremendous vulnerability of the growth-as-prosperity model. Hewitt explains how we can (and why we must) move toward a more durable form of prosperity that is not dependent on credit and supplies from afar. The traditional metrics for prosperity are failing us; Hewitt discusses what metrics we should be using to gauge the long-term health of our communities.

Marketing Local

For too long, local food has carried elitist connotations. It’s perceived as expensive, inaccessible, and liberal. Hewitt discusses how we can change the framework of the discussion to be more inclusive of all political and socioeconomic groups and he talks about the “360-degree” issues that can unite people from across the spectrum.

Bio

Ben Hewitt, author of the acclaimed The Town That Food Saved and Making Supper Safe, writes and farms in Northern Vermont. His work has appeared in numerous national periodicals, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Gourmet, Discover, Eating Well, Men’s Journal, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, and many others.

Ben lives with his wife and two sons in a self-built home that is powered by a windmill and solar photovoltaic panels. To help offset his renewable energy footprint, Ben drives a really big truck.