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Author offers agriculture answers at conference

Hewitt: Creative agriculture leads to community success

Farmer and author Ben Hewitt brought his presentation, a “Reaping More From What We Sow” conference, to Sturbridge Thursday morning, March 4. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
March 07, 2011
STURBRIDGE — Farming and lots of cooperation can save an economically depressed community while, of course, feeding it better.

That, in a nutshell, is the message farmer-author Ben Hewitt brought to last week's "Reaping More From What We Sow" conference in Sturbridge Thursday morning, March 4. He argues diverse small-scale agriculture will help reconnect people with the land, promote improved soil fertility, require creativity to work around complex federal rules, both need and promote (in somewhat different ways) community support, and make towns more economically stable.

Today's food system, focused on what Hewitt dubbed "anonymous food-like substances," keeps only 20 percent of food spending in the community — most of the rest goes into the accounts of giant corporations, he said. But places with a good regional food coop and/or producers keep around 65 percent of that money.

Keeping that spending local is "the 365-degree issue," Hewitt said. "Almost anybody is going to understand and relate to the value of this."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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