Recently I spent seven months travelling around New Zealand. What a landscape! Agriculture as far as the eye can see. Sheep dot the classic green hillsides, vineyards have emerged as one of the major export industries, cow dairies have sprung up like weeds, and fruits and vegetables are grown in abundance. I couldn’t wait to taste the bounty of this land at the local farmer’s markets, the restaurants or at the very least, pick up some fresh produce or cheese at the local store. To my surprise, even though I was surrounded by a thriving agricultural landscape, I could scarcely get my hands on anything fresh and truly local. After much inquiry and exasperation I discovered that 95% of what New Zealand produces is exported and that New Zealanders are usually left with the worst cuts of meats and ‘second’ hand food at a very high price. I had expected to be sucked into the wonderful world of New Zealand agriculture never to be spit back out again, but instead I found myself eager to come back to Vermont, where even though our growing season is only 6 months of the year, I can still get my hands on fresh nutritious food year-round. This is due to the thriving diverse farming community that I live in in Central, Vermont. While I help run a farm we do not produce all that we need to sustain ourselves and we rely heavily on our other neighbor farms to help round-out our diet for the year. On any given day I can get a hold of fresh meat of any kind (including goat meat), fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits, milk, cheese, sweets (maple syrup, honey and caramel), and other homemade goods like granola and fresh bread. About 90% of my diet can be accessed within a 15 mile range of my home. Our agricultural community comprises a variety of farms and businesses some of who have formed a group called The Floating Bridge Food and Farms Cooperative.