The 2015 Summit: Food, Mindfully

June 3-5, 2015 — Downtown Brattleboro, Vermont



The fifth annual Summit brought food into focus. 

We gathered for a mindful exploration of the journey of food: farming, food entrepreneurship, food systems, nourishment, food justice and food policy.

The five

Summit tracks


Food Entrepreneurship

How can locally-oriented farmers and food producers flourish in the face of a globalized food industry?

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What are the right kinds of new farms or food businesses in any particular region? How do they identify the missing links and opportunities within the local food system? And how can these businesses best get off the ground and possibly affect the global economy of food? Can larger national or multinational businesses be responsible players in local food systems? What are the challenges with adapting your food business model amidst a changing environment? We will explore that question through conversations with the principals of recently-launched farm/food enterprises, with leaders of larger, established businesses, with investors, and with other professionals who work in the farm/food sector, using a case-study approach as well as topical panels.

Food Systems

How do we develop food systems holistically — serving the entire community, using the entirety of available food resources?

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Can local food systems be holistic? How is it possible to distribute all food products and not just the cherry-picked ones (i.e. the whole pig, the whole crop cycle)? These sessions will explore some of these questions and cover other topics within food systems like: transportation, aggregation, processing, distribution (localism versus globalism, rightsizing the food networks), Urban farming — food hubs — CSAs and other direct-to-consumer sales systems.

Nourishment and Wellness

How do we strengthen connections between food, body, mind, spirit, community?

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How do we eat not just to nourish but to secure our wellness? What are the challenges of eating for right now versus eating right for long-term personal health? How do we empower ourselves with the knowledge and understanding about food rather than suffer from analysis paralysis while navigating the food terrain? Food is not just our nourishment and in this track we will explore the connection between food, body, mind and spirit. Other topics to be explored within the Nourishment and Wellness track include: concepts about slow medicine, herbs, health, wellness, additives, and some practical demonstrations.

Food Justice and Access

Is good food just for those who can afford it and easily access it? Why are there food deserts?

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Food and access to it has become controversial in our country. In addition to eating right and supporting local questions arise about who can gain access to good food. As we explore Food Justice and Access, we will not only discuss the accessibility to the food movement but also workers’ rights (the migrant farm workers involved in helping to supply the good food), humane treatment of animals, and access. Is good food just for those who can afford it and can easily access it?

Food Policies

What policies can maximize the value of our food systems? An exploration of local, state, national farm/food policies and trends.

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Should our local, state, and federal government be involved in setting the parameters for how we access food to encourage healthier habits (for example, junk food and soda tax)? Can our policy makers play a role to help small business maximize the value of local food economies? The Food Policy sessions will explore local, state, national farm/food policies and trends.

2015 Summit videos


The Opening Plenary, Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Plenary 2 — Thursday morning, June 4, 2015

Plenary 3 — Thursday afternoon, June 4, 2015

Plenary 4 — Friday morning, June 5, 2015

Plenary 5 — Friday afternoon, June 5, 2015

MichaelFinkelsteinDr. Michael Finkelstein

The Slow Medicine Doctor

Food for Mind, Body and Soul

Alisa GravitzAlisa Gravitz

CEO, Green America

Growing the Green Economy

VickiRobinVicki Robin

Author, Your Money or Your Life and Blessing the Hands that Feed Us


Laura-LengnickLaura Lengnick

Local Food Research Center, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Asheville, NC

Resilient Agriculture

Allison HooperAllison Hooper

Vermont Creamery

Land, Legacy, and Leadership: A food entrepreneur’s journey

Ali BerlowAli Berlow

Author, founder of Island Grown Initiative

Fresh, Healthy Food For Your Community: The big and small things you can do



Judith SchwartzJudith D. Schwartz

Author, Cows Save the Planet and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth

How Changing the Way We Grow Food Can Restore Ecosystems and Reverse Global Warming

Alex WilsonAlex Wilson

Resilient Design Institute

Resilient Food Systems

Gary KleppelDr. Gary Kleppel

Professor of Biology, University at Albany, SUNY

Emergent Agriculture: A new paradigm for the sustainable future of food


Anna Witholt Abaldo, Maine Farmland Trust

Jason Amundsen, Head Clucker of Locally Laid Egg Company, Minnesota

Lucie Amundsen, writer, marketer and reluctant farmer, Minnesota

Sutat Anthachai, Sous Chef, Duo Restaurant

Keith Arnold, Owner, Duo Restaurant, Brattleboro VT

Maya Apfelbaum, interdisciplinary artist, Living Earth Arts Productions, Greenfield MA

Cimbria Badenhausen, Ecosystem Advocate, ecological design consultant and teacher

Enrique Balcazar, farmworker organizer, Migrant Justice, Burlington VT

Betzy Bancroft, co-director and faculty of the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, Montpelier, VT

Jamie Baribeau, director of food and nutrition, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Brattleboro VT

Richard Berkfield, executive director and co-founder of Food Connects, Brattleboro VT

Nicole Berube, executive director of CitySeed, New Haven CT

John Steven Bianucci, Iroquois Valley Farms, LLC

Ingrid Bredenberg, Creativity Muse, Bredenberg Associates, Montague MA

Nancy Cain, co-owner of Against The Grain Gourmet, Brattleboro VT

Margaret Christie, Special Projects Director, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, South Deerfield MA

Timothy Cipriano, VP of Brand Development, Hooray Purée, Torrington CT

Stacia Clinton, New England Regional Director, Healthy Food in Health Care

Taylor Cocalis Suarez, co-founder, Good Food Jobs, Germantown NY

Cindy Conner, author, researcher, Ashland VA

Louisa Conrad, Big Picture Farm, Townshend VT

Skye Cornell, Vice President of Programs, Wholesome Wave, Bridgeport CT

Erbin Crowell, executive director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), Shelburne Falls MA

Cyndal Ellis, SoBo Studio

Shanta L. Evans-Crowley, 2015 Slow Living Summit coordinator

Paula Francis, Inspired Consultation, board member, Gross National Happiness USA

Richard French, founder and CEO of Bagel Works, Inc.

Abigail Gehring, co-author, The Healthy Gluten Free Diet

Drew Gradinger, Director, The Kindle Farm School, Newfane VT

Vern Grubinger, Professor, University of Vermont Extension, Brattleboro VT

Carol Hazen, Director of Advocacy Resources at the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, Hartford CT

Anore Horton, Nutrition Initiatives Director, Hunger Free Vermont

Noah Hoskins-Forsythe, VP, The Bunker Farm, Dummerston VT

Bonnie Hudspeth, outreach coordinator, Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), Putney VT

Seth Itzkan, President of Planet-TECH Associates

Katherine Jandernoa,Co-Founder & Farm to School Program Manager, Food Connects, Brattleboro VT

Terry Jenoure, multi-media artist and teacher

Josh Kauppila, poet/farmer/organizer

Brendan Kelly, acupuncturist, herbalist, Jade Mountain Wellness, Burlington, VT

Jo Kirsch, co-owner, Heart of the Village Yoga, Manchester VT

Derrick Lambert, Hunger Free Vermont

Tim Lawrence, co-author, The Healthy Gluten Free Diet

Deborah Lazar, artist, Artworking USA, Putney VT

Julie Lineberger, LineSync Architecture, Wilmington VT

Celeste Longacre, gardener, author of Celeste’s Garden Delights

Heather Lyon, Artist, Blue Hill ME

Linda McInerney, Founder and Artistic Director, Deerfield Valley Productions, Deerfield MA

Daniella Malin, co-owner, Green Mountain Flour

Jacinda Martinez, artist, Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, Rockland ME

Rob Michalak, Global Director of Social Mission at Ben & Jerry’s

Thomas R. Moffitt, CEO, Commonwealth Dairy, Brattleboro VT

Maddie Monty, Policy Advisor and Office Manager, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Richmond VT

Orly Munzing, founder and executive director of Strolling of the Heifers, Brattleboro VT

Sara Newmark, Director of Sustainability, New Chapter, Inc., Brattleboro VT

Brendan O’Neill, Development and Ally Coordinator with Migrant Justice

Colin O’Neill, director of government affairs, Center for Food Safety

Martha Page, Executive Director, Hartford Food System, Inc.

Howard Prussack, organic farmer, Putney VT

Susan Rosano, New England Expressive Arts, Guilford VT

Toussaint St. Negritude, Poet Laureate, Belfast ME

Ismail Samad, chef, The Gleanery, Putney VT

Leda Scheintaub, co-owner, Dosa Kitchen: Brattleboro South Indian Food Truck, Brattleboro VT

Andreas Schneider, Director of Farm Production Enterprises, Hawthorne Valley Farms, Ghent NY

Alex Risley Schroeder, Finding Earth Works

Dar Tavernier-Singer, owner/chocolatier, Tavernier Chocolates, Brattleboro VT

Andrea Stander, Director of Rural Vermont

Sara Stowell, Vermont Migrant Education Program, Proctorsville VT

Zach Stremlau, co-owner, Green Mountain Flour

Suki, Barre VT

Sara Trunzo, Director, Veggies For All / Maine Farmland Trust, Belfast ME

Michelle Wallace, program director, Vermont Foodbank

Joan Weir, Southeast Regional Director, Vermont Land Trust

Linda Wheatley, co-founder and co-coordinator of GNHUSA (Gross National Happiness USA)

Keith Wilda, Executive Director, Island Grown Initiative, Martha’s Vineyard MA

Cheryl Wilfong, The Meditative Gardener, Dummerston VT

Jerelyn Wilson, outreach director, BuildingGreen, Inc., Brattleboro VT

What’s Eating You?!

One of the Summit’s extras: After the Wednesday evening, June 3 plenary at the Latchis, we gathered at the River Garden for What’s Eating You?! — an evening of hilarity in which we invited Summiteers to think lighthearetedly about of the challenges we face around our food-related choices. We invited them to share their funniest and/or most entertaining moments regarding all things food: everyday food choices, food quandaries, food mysteries, tall food tales, food philosophy, food science and food fables.

Come and discover Brattleboro!

The Summit takes place in the non-traditional conference surroundings of Main Street, Brattleboro — a small community in southern Vermont, long renowned for its commitment to healthy, local, sustainable living and technology, for its vibrant communities of visual and performance artists, craftspeople, poets and writers, and for the diversity of its shops, restaurants and galleries. In turn Brattleboro is a gateway to the Green Mountains and Vermont.

Strolling of the Heifers, the organizer of the Summit, is a non-profit organization based in Brattleboro, with the mission of supporting

and sustaining family farms and local food systems by connecting people with healthy local food. We do this through a variety of year-round programs. Best known is our annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Slow Living Expo, which takes place during “Stroll Weekend” immediately after the Summit. We also organize a Vermont Farm/Food Business Planning Competition, and we publish the annual Locavore Index ranking the 50 states in terms of their commitment to local food, and other projects and events.

Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost. If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal. We would not need to go hunting for our connection to our food and the web of life that produces it. We would no longer need any reminding that we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and that what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world…. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.

Michael Pollan

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2014 Summit videos

About 300 people gathered in Brattleboro, Vermont on June 5-7, 2014 for the 4th annual Slow Living Summit. They experienced an exciting interplay between speakers, artists and audience, as artistic content — music, dance, drama, visual art — was woven into Summit, not as preludes or warm-ups, but as a seamless, natural part of the Summit’s fabric.

In a Slow lifestyle, the arts are integral to community well-being. Modeling this essential presence, in the Slow Living Summit artistic expression was not simply window-dressing or warm-up exercises — we sought to weave it seamlessly into the fabric of the Summit, amplifying and interpreting the messages of speakers, and involving the audience in participative ways.

If you missed the Summit, or would like to re-experience it, here are complete videos of the five plenary sessions, and a breakout discussion called “No More Throwaway People” featuring Time Banking founder Edgar Cahn.

The Opening Plenary, Wednesday, June 4

Orly Munzing, Linda McInerney: “What’s this all about?” — Samantha Eagle, John Sheldon, Lindel Hart: “The well being” —  Samantha advocates a “sustainable healthcare movement” for preventing and reversing chronic conditions. Instead of the fast-food mentality—take this pill for that—she discusses incorporating a new approach that involves the application of evidence-based environmental, social, psychological and behavioral science to balance the Mind/Body/Spirit.

Plenary 2 — Thursday morning, June 5, 2014

Charles Eisenstein and Eugene Friesen: “Time is running out, let’s Slow Down” — In a time of grave and urgent crisis, the “Slow” movement might seem a little bit frivolous. Don’t we need to sacrifice everything in order to deal with the enormity of the crisis at hand? Or is it that urgency itself is part of the problem? Join Charles and Eugene for a deep dive into a paradox that unlocks a new defining story of the people.

Plenary 3 — Thursday afternoon, June 5, 2014

Amit Sharma, Amy Johnquest: “The Free-co-system: Investing for personal and community wealth” — Through several interesting examples – globally, nationally and locally – this dialogue explores the organic nature of markets and communities. How might institutions and individuals consider their “investment” (in civic engagement, energy, and economics) to strengthen our collective resilience and achieve greater “wealth” for ourselves and our communities?

Plenary 4 — Friday morning, June 6, 2014

Martin Ping with Seamus Maynard, Jonathan Talbott and Jonah Thomas (Quiet in the Head): “Soil, Soul, and Society: A love story in three movements” — How can we navigate the paradoxical journey between our sense of urgency and our need to pause and reflect? How can we cultivate the fertile soil of a rich inner life? How can we foster meaningful relationships in family, work, and community? Based in large part on experiences gained at Hawthorne Valley over 30 years, we will explore these themes through words and music.

Plenary 5 — Friday afternoon, June 6, 2014

Linda McInerney and John Sheldon: “Arts, humor, love and story: Finding the creative connection” —  Linda McInerney shares her process of creative collaboration and one of her projects, The Red Guitar, by John Sheldon, in which John shares the journey of his life through music. “The intent is to describe and enact a journey of the spirit, and to encourage others to find their own path and walk it.”

Breakout: No More Throwaway People — Friday afternoon, June 6, 2014

Edgar Cahn, founder of Time Banking, author of No More Throwaway People; Stephanie Rearick, Director of the Dane County, Wisconsin Time Bank, and Gwen Hallsmith, author, founder of Global Community Initiatives. Moderated by Linda Weil, former Time Bank coordinator

Merchants BankThanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Merchants Bank!

And thanks to our friends at Brattleboro Community Television for their video work on these plenary sessions!

Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe.

John Muir

What is Slow Living?

The concept of Slow Living is built on the metaphor of “Slow,” as used by other visionary organizations like Slow Food and Slow Money.

“Slow” encompasses several layers of meaning that go beyond simply “sustainable.” Slow is the opposite of “fast” — fast food, fast money, fast living — and all of the negative consequences “fast” has had for the environment and for the health of people and societies. “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience.

When we Live Slow, we give back, we are mindful, and we connect to our communities and our bioregions.

The Slow Living Vision

The Slow Living Vision is of an Earth where humankind, honoring and celebrating the profound connectedness of all people, places and living beings, gives back by co-creating mutually supportive communities, bioregions and economic systems — and where we combine the wisdom of the past with a vision for the future to ensure a balanced, fulfilling way of life for all generations to come.

The Slow Living Vision is being realized all over the world by an amazing array of people who are working on new pathways. These include not only health, healing and wellness, sustainable agriculture, community building, renewable energy, reforestation, social justice, new economic models and resource conservation, but also deeper explorations into the wisdom of indigenous people, feminine and masculine wisdom, and the roles of the arts, ethics, philosophy, science, spirituality and religion in healing the Earth.

We come from all walks of life. We live in rural areas, small towns, and large cities. We are young and old, wealthy and struggling. We are all seeking a better way, a saner way, and a happier way to live and organize their lives.

We will come together in Brattleboro, Vermont, June 3-5, 2015.


About Strolling of the Heifers

Strolling of the Heifers, the organizer of the Summit, is a non-profit organization based in Brattleboro, with the mission of supporting and sustaining family farms and local food systems by connecting people with healthy local food. We do this through a variety of year-round programs. Best known is our annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Slow Living Expo, which takes place during “Stroll Weekend” immediately after the Summit. We also organize a Vermont Farm/Food Business Planning Competition, and we publish the annual Locavore Index ranking the 50 states in terms of their commitment to local food, and other projects and events.

In a major new initiative to further our mission, in November 2013 we acquired a prominently-located downtown Brattleboro building, the Robert H. Gibson River Garden (where Summit lunches and receptions take place), which has 4500 square foot of open space used since 2001 for public events, performances, lectures and exhibits. Under our stewardship of this community resource, we plan to maintain the public uses of the building, but also to create exhibits and programming that are related to our own focus areas of local food, food systems, and healthy sustainable living — a Farm/Food Education Center.

Come for the Summit, stay for Stroll Weekend, June 5-6-7!

More information at


Photo credits

Brattleboro Rainbow: photo by Craig S. O’Connell, used under Creative Commons License

Apple: Photo by James UK, Used under Creative Commons License