Earlier this year, I wrote about how the local-food movement is being viewed in some places as an economic development opportunity. I profiled Woodbury County, Iowa, which is taken several steps to attract small farmers.
Hardwick, Vt., seems to be going even further, pinning it's very survival on a renewed interest in independent growers. From a profile in the New York Times :
Facing a Main Street dotted with vacant stores, residents of this hardscrabble community of 3,000 are reaching into its past to secure its future, betting on farming to make Hardwick the town that was saved by food.
Most of what's happening in Hardwick appears to be related to private-sector firms or citizen farming co-ops, rather than official actions by the town. Still, though, it's worth checking out what's going on there.
With the fervor of Internet pioneers, young artisans and agricultural entrepreneurs are expanding aggressively, reaching out to investors and working together to create a collective strength never before seen in this seedbed of Yankee individualism.
Rob Lewis, the town manager, said these enterprises have added 75 to 100 jobs to the area in the past few years.