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Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.

Episode 153: Racing Through The Forest; Food Justice For Farmworkers

A racer on Whitcomb Hill Road crouches low approaching a part of the racetrack known as "the left slide." Photo by Ben James for NEPR

A racer on Whitcomb Hill Road crouches low approaching a part of the racetrack known as “the left slide.” Photo by Ben James for NEPR

This week on NEXT:

Why Vermont’s farmworkers are facing food insecurity.

Plus, how our bicycle infrastructure was created, and a new trend in bike racing in Vermont. We’ll also learn about a skateboarding competition in Western Massachusetts.

Finally, we’ll hear a personal story of addiction and recovery.

It’s NEXT.

Food Insecurity Among Vermont’s Farm Workers

We’ve been following the struggles and successes of farmers in our region. A new focus on organic, locally grown food has led to a boom in farmstand and ‘foodie’ culture. But the hard economic realities of milk production in the region has meant the closures of hundreds of farms over the last decade.

That’s hit Vermont especially hard. But there’s another problem that’s not as easy to see from the outside: the people who do the hard work on those farms often aren’t able to get food easily. That food insecurity is a problem with many causes – but immigration policy is at the center.

A book by the University of Vermont Professor Teresa Mares dives into this issue. It’s called Life on the Other Border: Farmworkers and Food Justice in Vermont. We speak with Mares about her research.

 

How Cycling Infrastructure Was Shaped

A mountain bike trail in Thornton, N.H. Photo by Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

A mountain bike trail in Thornton, N.H. Photo by Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

Ever go on a hike in the woods and find an unmarked path veering off the trail?

Some of these are pirate trails, carved by mountain bikers. It’s one part of a confusing infrastructure that’s been built over time with a history of pitting insider advocates from different camps against landowners, forest managers, urban planners, and others who just want to jump on their bike to go to work.

That’s what NHPR’s Outside/In podcast looked at in two recent episodes: “Rake and Ride,” and “Stay in your lane.” They found both mountain biking and road biking infrastructure was shaped by competitive cyclists. And this has important implications for who participates in the sports now, and who will in the future. NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown, the host of Outside/In, joins us to discuss these issues.

We recommend listening to both episodes for more information on the subjects. 

Vermont’s Gravel Roads Lure Bikers 

Gravel bicycle races, like the Rasputitsa Gravel Race in Burke, are increasingly drawing people from around the world to ride Vermont's unpaved roads. Photo by Will Freihofer

Gravel bicycle races, like the Rasputitsa Gravel Race in Burke, are increasingly drawing people from around the world to ride Vermont’s unpaved roads. Photo by Will Freihofer

In Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, the mountain bike trail network has been expanded as a way to boost tourism. But now, there’s a growing trend in cycling, that’s using the already-existing infrastructure of our rural woodlands: gravel roads. VPR’s Bayla Metzger takes us to the first big gravel bike race of the season.

Here is a list of upcoming gravel races around New England:

Find more gravel races around the region.

Skateboarders Compete in Western Massachusetts

Racers ride a truck to the top of Whitcomb Hill Road in Florida, Massachusetts. Tim Delrosario-Rojas, second from right, won the championship race at the event. Photo by Ben James for NEPR

Racers ride a truck to the top of Whitcomb Hill Road in Florida, Massachusetts. Tim Delrosario-Rojas, second from right, won the championship race at the event. Photo by Ben James for NEPR

More than sixty downhill skateboarders from as far as Spain, Australia, and Mexico convened in June in Florida, Massachusetts, in northern Berkshire County. They came to the quiet town for one reason only: speed.

New England Public Radio’s Ben James has the story.

A Story of Addiction and Recovery

Illustration Credit of Janelle Sing

Illustration Credit of Janelle Sing

Illustration Credit of Janelle Sing

 

 

 

 

 

Illustration Credit of Janelle Sing

Abbie Holden recently recorded an interview with Writers for Recovery and Vermont Public Radio, where she discussed her addiction and her path to recovery as part of their new podcast series, My Heart Still Beats. In the interview, she speaks with Gary Miller, creative director of Writers for Recovery, and the co-host of My Heart Still Beats.

My Heart Still Beats was produced by Gary, along with Bess O’Brien, and editor Erica Heilman. Music is by Brian Clark. VPR’s managing editor for podcasts is Angela Evancie. The series was made possible by the VPR Innovation Fund. Listen to My Heart Still Beats

 

 

New England Music Featured on NEXT

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at Connecticut Public Radio
Host: John Dankosky
Producer: Lily Tyson
Digital Producer: Carlos Mejia
Senior Director: Catie Talarski
Contributors to this episode: John Dillon, Sam Evans-Brown, Bayla Metzger, Ben James, Angela Evancie
Music: Todd Merrell, “New England” by Goodnight Blue Moon, “Golden Hands” by Anjimile, “Wreck of the Hesperus” by Muddy Ruckus

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