Connecting communities to affect positive food system change from the ground up.

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Cat Buxton

What I've been up to: compost, plants, bugs, soil, advocacy and music!

5 min read

Hello friends,

I'm terrible at sending these email updates out. Sorry! Here is a big update on some of the work I'm doing in the world.

Events My 2019 calendar is filling up with presentations on composting and soil health. The next composting workshop is in Hartland on March 9. Dates and details on all of my upcoming public events are listed on my Grow More, Waste Less website. Click on the events tab.

I’ll be at the 37th Annual NOFA-VT Winter Conference this weekend, co-leading a few workshops on soil heath, invasive species management, and global cooling. I’ll also be on the panel after the film, Modified, with my comrades from the Vermont Right to Know Coalition who passed the first (and last) GMO labeling law in the country.

Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition (VHSC) In March 2015, I co-founded the Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition. We've just received a small amount of funding from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund to support our work in capacity building. We have a great steering committee, an active email listserv (anyone can join), a facebook group, and a website.

VHSC is collaborating with BALE to host The Soil Series: Grassroots for the Climate Emergency. This potent – and important – six-part series takes place on Wednesdays starting Feb. 27 at the Bethany Church in Randolph. Each program features a social half-hour with great food provided by Black Krim Tavern, Randolph. I hope to see you at one of these (or the whole series!).

The Soil Series: Grassroots for the Climate Emergency February 27 Ground to Body: Soil Health & Human Health, Speakers: Didi Pershouse, Grace Gershuny, Michael Denmeade March 13 Shielding Soil with Plants and Animals Speakers: Tatiana Schreiber, Graham Unangst-Rufenacht, Lisa McCrory March 20 Storytelling Panel Speakers: Katherine Oaks, Maddie Kempner, Sha'an Mouliert, Cheryl Herrick March 27 Building the Soil From the Ground Up Speakers: Juan Alvez, Jessica Ruben, Cat Buxton April 10 Social Mycelium: the Fiber of Community Resilience Speakers: Mindy Blank, Simon Dennis, Chris Wood, Henry Harris April 24 A Soil Sponge to Cool the Planet Speakers: Judith Schwartz, Jan Lambert, Henry Swayze

There’s more! Here are some highlights:

Schools The work I have been doing with Thetford Elementary School the past 10 years feeds my soul. We are building out a cross-cutting K-6 curriculum deeply connected to our outdoor classrooms, specifically our edible landscape, garden beds and student managed on-site hot composting system. TES 6th graders have been learning the basics of soil science using field methods from the Soil Carbon Coalition and Didi Perhouse’s teaching manual Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function. I’d be happy to show you around the school. It’s pretty amazing! (especially in September).

I host a VT EMG Master Composter service project at Thetford and Sharon Elementary Schools. I’m also consulting with several other schools in Vermont about on-site composting as a soil builder and a learning tool to advance project and place based learning initiatives.

Soil Carbon Coalition I serve on the board of directors for the Soil Carbon Coalition (SCC), and work with them to co-facilitate Land Listener workshops like this one we offered at Butterworks Farm last fall. We’re planning a Soil Sponge Primer for citizens, municipalities and planning commissions to take place this spring in the Upper Valley (thanks to a Hope Foundation grant from Hypertherm). My SCC colleague, Didi Pershouse is doing incredible work to expand the community of practice, locally and globally, to rebuild the soil sponge that holds our landscapes together. She’s offering an amazing series of online soil health courses,.They are for everyone and we need everyone on board to fix this ecological mess we’re in.

UV Apple Corps Upper Valley Apple Corps plants and cares for free-for-the-picking public fruit and nuts trees and edible landscapes. In 2018, we received a Caring for Canopy Grant from Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Urban & Community Forestry Program to further develop our Community Fruit Walk, connecting existing sites with an educational ‘trail’ in downtown Hartford. We’re hosting a free Pruning Walk on March 3.

Riverwalk Trail I’ve been working with the Latham Works Lane Neighborhood Working Group, Upper Valley Trails Alliance and the Town of Hartford on the future community treasure, The Hartford Riverwalk Trail. We’ve received funding from the Vermont Community Foundation and the Byrne Foundation, and in-kind expertise from a team of incredible Thayer students who proved the feasibility of the project. The next step is not easy, working with the railroads, but we’re confident that with creativity and perseverance we will succeed!

Policy & Advocacy The National Healthy Soils Policy Network and a (still-forming) NE regional policy group, both farmer-centered organizations that advocate for state and federal policies on behalf of sustainable, organic, beginning, minority and/or family farmers.

I’m really enjoying the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for Rural Vermont and the best co-op in the world, Upper Valley Food Coop.

I am deeply committed to our community. Thank you for being a part of it! Warmly, Cat

PS: I’m a singer in a band! We’re called Wool and we’re playing tomorrow night, Friday, February 15, at the Public House in Quechee at 7PM.

AND, Don’t miss Eliot Coleman and other farm heroes at the Real Organic Project Symposium at Dartmouth on March 2. This event is being organized by our local friend and organic farming leader, Dave Chapman of Longwind Farm. I’m helping!

Grow More, Waste Less   |  Food Systems Consulting, LLC  -  Cat Buxton    Sharon, Vermont   Email:

Food & Soil Advocacy   •   Consulting   •   Education   •   Community Organizing   •   Zero Waste

Connecting communities to affect positive food system change from the ground up.