I haven’t had a lot of time to cook or write this week, so I just wanted to share with you an article from the New York Times that gave me another one of those warm, fuzzy feelings.
It describes Hardwick, a town in Vermont -a “hardscrabble community” no less – that was brought to its knees by the closure of the local granite companies but is now emerging as a regional center for agriculture and artisanal food production.
This “new” industry has created an additional 75 to 100 jobs in the past few years. That’s not the kind of scale that’s going to renew Detroit or anything, but it’s a terrific model for small-town America. Farms in Westchester and the Hudson Valley have thrived in recent years as the demand for high-quality and organic produce in New York City has skyrocketed, and it’s a model I see working country-wide.
There is a lot of talk about Green Jobs, those that will be generated as we work to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and slow the breakneck pace of global warming, but I think we should start talking about Brown Jobs, those that will be created as we move away from our failed 75-year experiment in industrial agriculture and toward a world where we know where our food came from, what’s in it, and even – some of the time – who grew it.
Brown Jobs won’t fix our broken economy, but they’ll create opportunities in areas that are all but devoid of them. And the best way that we as individuals can do to support the creation of these jobs requires no sacrifice at all: Just go buy some cheese at the farmer’s market, and while you’re there, tell your friendly local farmer to keep up the good work.