Sunday, December 4, 2011

AGRItunity Planning Committee announces keynote speaker for upcoming conference – Ben Hewitt Farmer/Author

 Ben Hewitt was born and raised in northern Vermont, where he currently runs a small-scale, diversified hill farm with his family. He lives with his wife and two sons in a self-built home that is powered by a windmill and solar photovoltaic panels. To help offset his renewable energy footprint, Ben drives a really big truck. His work has appeared in numerous national periodicals, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Gourmet, Discover, Skiing, Eating Well, Yankee Magazine, Powder, Men’s Journal, National Geographic Adventure, and Outside.

His most recent book is Making Supper Safe: One Man’s Quest to Learn the Truth About Food Safety (Rodale). It was published on June 7, 2011. From dumpster diving, to the battle over food rights, to genetically engineered salmon and the interplay between humans and the bacteria they consume, Ben explores the untold story of food safety with humor and good-natured skepticism. His first book, The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food (Rodale), was published in 2010. It tells the story of a rural, working-class Vermont community that is attempting to blueprint and implement a localized food system.

At the conference Ben Hewitt will provide a keynote address entitled, “The Future’s in the Dirt: Digging into localized agriculture and its potential to revitalize health, environment and regional economies.” He will also conduct a workshop for those who want to learn how he uses alternative energy, which he calls “Sustainable Energy for Sustainable Agriculture: The realities of solar powered food production.”
The AGRItunity Conference and Trade Show will be held at the Sumter County Agricultural Education Center at the Sumter County Fairgrounds in Bushnell, Florida on January 28, 2012. Don’t miss this exciting annual event! In addition to the keynote speech there will be 8 workshops, a large tradeshow, animal exhibits, antique farm equipment and more. Lunch is available for purchase on site from the famous restaurant the Speckled Butterbean. Pre-registration is $15 at The cost for the conference is $20 at the door if not pre-registered. For more information call (352) 793-2728 x236 or email AGRItunity is a project of the extension offices in Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Pasco and Sumter counties.