Pioneer of Vermont’s Year Round Food Production Revolution to Deliver Keynote Speech at Green Energy ExpoBy Sue Hoxie
Pete Johnson of Pete’s Greens to discuss how he’s helped
transform Vermont’s local food scene
Middlebury, Vermont – March 5, 2009 – Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens, a four-season organic vegetable farm located in Craftsbury, Vermont, (www.petesgreens.com), will be the keynote speaker at the 2009 Addison County Green Energy Expo, the event’s steering committee announced today. Mr. Johnson’s talk, titled “Pete's Greens and the Hardwick Area Local Food Revolution,” will be held from 1 to 2 pm on Saturday, March 21st in the auditorium at the Middlebury Union High School.
“As an agricultural entrepreneur, Mr. Johnson has demonstrated that in places with harsh climates, such as Vermont, good farmland with fertile soil can produce nutritious, better-tasting produce nearly year round,” said Laura Asermily, Middlebury Energy Coordinator. “Hardwick, Vermont is the epicenter of the local food revolution and incubator of the next generation of sustainable businesses in the state. He will make some suggestions about what can be done in Addison County.”
On a 230-acre farm, Pete’s Greens grows a vast array of specialty vegetables with an emphasis on baby greens, heirloom tomatoes, and root crops which are sold at farmer’s markets, a seasonal farm stand and to stores and restaurants throughout Vermont, Boston and New York City. Pete’s Greens also focuses on local sales direct to customers through their community-supported agriculture (CSA) program called Good Eats.
Mr. Johnson is a 1997 graduate of Middlebury College with a degree in environmental studies. For his senior thesis he built a solar greenhouse on campus. His experiments there convinced him that greenhouse production of vegetables could help make a farm profitable. His vision was proven viable this winter by using four self-engineered and built moveable greenhouses, heated with recycled vegetable oil from restaurants when necessary. Through weeks of snow and some single-digit temperatures, Johnson supplied his CSA customers with fresh lettuce and other greens grown inside the greenhouse. Johnson’s motto is "Vermont Can Feed Itself."
Workshop Topics Set; Plus Programs for Kids
In addition to the keynote speech, the Green Energy Expo will feature nearly 20 workshop sessions on a variety of topics. Workshops will be conducted from 10 am to 4:30 pm and will be held in MUHS classrooms adjacent to the exhibit hall.
The workshop schedule includes several sessions just for kids. Children of all ages and their parents can explore the life cycle of everyday waste, and the 3 R's (reduce, reuse, recycle) to address strategic waste reduction. Learn about our landfills, how they operate, and their alternatives. Create original artwork with reused and recycled materials in the MUHS music room throughout the day.
A complete schedule and description of all workshops will be distributed the week of March 9th.
Additional Sponsors On Board
The Green Energy Expo steering committee welcomes two additional sponsors, Golden Russet Farm and Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op (MNFC). Golden Russet Farm is a family-run organic farm in Shoreham, Vermont, growing a variety of summer and fall vegetables. MNFC is a member-owned cooperative committed to providing healthy, competitively priced foods; encouraging ecologically sound and healthful patterns of production and consumption; and responding to members' needs accordingly.
Golden Russet Farm and MNFC joins other event sponsors: r.k. Miles, ACORN Energy Co-op, The Image Farm, National Bank of Middlebury and Chittenden Bank.
Local Radio Stations Broadcasting Live
Two of Addison County’s local radio stations, Eagle Country 97.5 and 92.1 WVTK, will be broadcasting live from the event. 92.1 WVTK will be on the air live from 9 am to 11am and Eagle Country 97.5 will be broadcasting from 10 am to 2 pm. They’ll be giving away several prizes including a $100 gift certificate to Fire & Ice, movie passes, t-shirts, and other merchandise.
Raffle Tickets On Sale
Country Home Products in Vergennes has donated a Neuton Rechargeable Mower to be raffled off at the event. Tickets for the raffle are $5 each or five tickets for $20. Raffle tickets will be available before the event by contacting the Addison County Chamber of Commerce at 388-7951. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Middlebury Area Global Warming Action Coalition (MAGWAC), which works on climate change and energy issues in Addison County.
Nominal Attendance Fee
The cost to attend this year’s event is:
Families: $5 *
Children: $1 (under 12)
College Students: Free (with ID)
* Download a coupon from our website (www.greenenergyexpo.biz) for $1 off family admission
Getting to the Expo
Attendees and exhibitors are encouraged to keep the event green by taking ACTR to the event if possible. The fare-free Middlebury Shuttle Bus (MSB) will be on its regular Saturday schedule stopping twice an hour at Middlebury Union High School beginning at 9:15 am and 9:25 am until 4:15 pm and 4:25 pm. For a detailed schedule, please visit the Expo website or www.actr-vt.org.
Carpooling and bicycling is also encouraged.
About the Green Energy Expo Steering Committee
The Green Energy Expo Steering Committee is made up of representatives from the Addison County Economic Development Corporation, Addison County Chamber of Commerce, Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC), Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR), Middlebury College, National Bank of Middlebury, Middlebury Area Global Warming Action Coalition (MAGWAC), and Addison County Relocalization Network (ACoRN).
Complete details and schedules are available at www.greenenergyexpo.biz.