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Local Farmers Seek Support in Weston

Phoebe Cole-Smith of Weston made deviled eggs, maple cupcakes, asparagus dip and fresh bread for Tuesday's "Growing Sustainably in Connecticut" event at the Norfield Grange. All the ingredients came from the four local farmers on the panel at the event.

"There are lots of ways to grow food. You don't have to follow one particular strategy," said Annie Farrell, who works at Millstone Farm in Wilton, a small family-owned organic farm. Dina Brewster farms at the Hickories in Ridgefield, which covers more than 20 acres of field. John and Lynn Holbrook operate 13-acre Holbrook Farm in Bethel.

"There's something different about each of us. We're different but we have the same goal," said Farrell.

Judy Wetzel of Weston is a "community supported agriculture" shareholder of The Hickories.

"I like all of the sustainable food, including grass-fed meat. I've always eaten well. After I saw Food Inc., that did me in," said Wetzel.

The purpose of the event was to show what sustainability looks like, said Analiese Paik, a local sustainable food advocate and the moderator for the event. There were barely enough seats for the attendees who kept filing in to the grange Tuesday.

"Can we afford to keep going? Will people continue to buy from us even though we're more expensive – about 30 percent higher than wholesalers?" asked Ferrell. "An intrinsic part of the village is the people who grow the food. More and more people are saying, 'We want to be a community that is self-sufficient."

Only 2 percent of Americans make a living growing food, said Paik. "We don't want to be dependent on food from far away. The major thing is, can we feed ourselves?" said Ferrell.

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