BRATTLEBORO, VT — In a real estate transaction completed on Thursday, Nov. 14, Strolling of the Heifers has acquired the Robert H. Gibson River Garden property on Main Street in downtown Brattleboro.
The building was sold by Building a Better Brattleboro, the organization that built it in 2001 and has operated it since then.
Orly Munzing, founder and executive director of Strolling of the Heifers, announced that Strolling of the Heifers would launch a Farm/Food Education Center at the River Garden, with year-round programming, exhibits and events related to farming, local food and food systems.
The Stroll’s vision for the River Garden, Munzing said, is for it to be the focal point of the Brattleboro region’s local foods economy, while continuing to serve multiple public purposes, being open on an daily basis, and available on a rental basis for community events and private functions as it has in the past.
In a statement, Strolling of the Heifers outlined its vision for the River Garden:
We imagine the River Garden, a few years after we assume stewardship, becoming widely known as a destination — as a place for discovery. People will come here to learn about Vermont’s agricultural legacy, its current agricultural economy, and its agricultural future. A visit to the River Garden will tell people how the local food system in our region works: what farmers produce; how it is aggregated and distributed; what kinds of businesses process and add value to local farm products; where our local farm and food products are distributed, sold and consumed; how to use more local food at home, in restaurants and institutional kitchens; and how farmers, consumers and regions benefit when they actively strengthen local food networks. Visitors will encounter the story of a rich legacy, a set of bright opportunities, and a promising future of sustainable enterprises.
And, in a year-round cycle of programs and events, many people from all walks of life can come to the River Garden learn more about food, cooking and nutrition; to enjoy films, lectures, farm-to-Main Street meals and tastings; to take part in workshops, classes and courses; and to attend a wide variety of other events.
To accomplish this, the River Garden will:
- Feature both permanent and changing exhibits relating to local farms and food, including art exhibits
- Host classes, lectures and meetings focused on local food and healthy living
- Present information on sustainable living and resilient communities through intergenerational, multi-disciplinary dialogues and idea exchanges
- Be the site of Farm-to-Main Street events: Strolling of the Heifers farm-to-table meals, and other new kinds of events in the Stroll’s list of programs
- Continue to host the Winter Farmers market organized by Post Oil Solutions
- Provide space for events and activities of Vermont Technical College and Community College of Vermont that may not fit in their space at the Brooks House
- Present the community with art, music, dance and dramatic events.
In addition, the River Garden’s continuing role as a public resource will include:
- Continuation and enhancement of its function as a Waypoint Center with tourist information
- Availability of public restrooms and a place for visitors to rest and relax
- Space rentals to a wide variety of organizations for events of all kinds
- Availability for private functions such as weddings, parties or business events
And, at the River Garden you will find:
- The principal office of Strolling of the Heifers
- The “Stroll Store” — selling Stroll merchandise, local farm products, and perhaps including a small café serving coffee and other refreshments
The Stroll’s vision will not come to pass without some essential changes to the building. The organization’s plans includes the following changes:
- Installation of a kitchen to allow food preparation and catering for various events as well as cooking classes and demonstration
- Mitigation of the acoustical problems of the space to facilitate more live entertainment events
- Installation of measures to mitigate summer heat gain, as well as air-conditioning to manage summer temperatures inside the building, together with energy-saving improvements to reduce winter heating expenses.
- Construction or adaptation of space to use as Strolling of the Heifers organizational offices and a small “Stroll Store.”
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Orly Munzing, Founder, Executive Director of Strolling of the Heifers
802-258-7070 — firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Langeveld, Marketing Director, Strolling of the Heifers
802-380-0226 — email@example.com