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Folklorists Come to Cambridge for Retreat on Local Sustainability in the Battenkill Valley

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Annual Conference Brings Mid-Atlantic Folklorists to Cambridge

Local Sustainability in the Battenkill Valley

Cooking Pizza at the Quebecois Bread Oven. Photo Courtesy of Todd DeGarmo This year’s Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Folklorists Retreat (May 22-25, 2012) in Saratoga will bring together folk and traditional arts practitioners, professionals and enthusiasts from the mid-Atlantic region and New England. Entitled Sustaining Culture: A Regional Conversation, this gathering is open to those interested in traditional culture.

Held in partnership with Folklorists in New England, Folk Arts Program of NYS Council on the Arts and the New York Folklore Society, over 75 participants are expected to attend. There will be discussions and workshops involving digital media, economic sustainability through the use of cultural and environmental assets, as well as the opportunity to meet informally with peers.

On Thursday, May 24th, attendees will travel to Hubbard Hall and the Cambridge Freight Yard in Cambridge, where the focus will shift to “Local Sustainability in the Battenkill Valley.” This will feature a panel discussion chaired by Todd DeGarmo, Founding Director of Crandall Public Library’s Folklife Center. Panel members will include Benji White, Executive Director of Hubbard Hall; Christine Hoffer, Tourism Administrator for Washington County Tourism and proprietor of the Historic Rice Mansion Inn; Sarah Ashton, Founding Board President, Cambridge Freight Yard Revitalization Project; Meg Southerland, owner of Gardenworks at MacClan Farms; and Annette Nielsen, food writer, community leader and sustainable farm advocate.

Lunch will be served onsite at the Quebecois Bread Oven where local caterer Sue Quillio with Spoonful Catering will prepare pizza using regionally sourced flours with local dairy, meats and seasonal vegetables. The bread oven was constructed in 2008 as part of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City.  This project came together through the work of DeGarmo and Winnie Lambrecht, formerly working in folk arts at the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts.

After lunch, attendees can participate in a tour showcasing one of the region’s highlights: Battenkill Valley Outdoors “Paddle and Covered Bridges”; “The Bounty of Washington County” (a tour of a several farms showcasing the region’s stellar agrarian pursuits); “Arts Abound in Washington County” (an artist studio tour where many of the artists get inspiration from the bucolic hillsides); and “Walk on the Wild Side of Washington County” (a walk with naturalist Howard Romack through the Battenkill State Forest).

“This will offer the conference attendees a great snapshot of our region’s cultural attractions,” says DeGarmo, “giving them a reason to come back for an extended stay in any season.”

For more information, call 518-792-6508.

By The Free George Staff. Photo Courtesy of Todd DeGarmo.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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