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Food justice advocate leads workshop on ‘Farming While Black’

BRATTLEBORO — On Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m., spoken word artist Amani Olugbala will present “Farming While Black: Uprooting Racism, Seeding Sovereignty” in the Sanctuary of Epsilon Spires, a new arts organization housed in the historic First Baptist Church at 190 Main St.

Olugbala is part of the agricultural organization Soul Fire Farm, located on 72 acres in Grafton, N.Y. In addition to running a sliding-scale CSA for over 100 families in the Albany-Troy, N.Y., area, Soul Fire Farm also hosts immersive workshops on topics such as seed-keeping, climate-resilient farming, and decolonizing our food system.

“Farming While Black” will explore how American agriculture has been built on a foundation of exploitative practices ranging from slavery to land theft, and how the nation can move toward a sustainable system based on justice, dignity, and abundance for all members of our community.

Olugbala’s talk is part of Epsilon Spires’ series of workshops, film screenings, and lectures that address contemporary political issues. For more information, visit

Latchis previews new Ken Burns film

BRATTLEBORO — Vermont PBS presents a free preview screening of the latest documentary by Ken Burns, “Country Music,” followed by a discussion with country music musicians Jamie Lee Thurston, Flynn Cohen, and Chris Brashear at the Latchis Theatre, 50 Main St., on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 7 to 9 p.m.

“Country Music” is a 16-hour series exploring the history of a uniquely American art form, from its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues, and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity. The documentary premieres on Vermont PBS on Sept. 15.

Admission is free, but patrons are asked to sign up at

Stroll presents Live Local, Live Healthy Wellness Fair

BRATTLEBORO — On Friday, Sept. 13, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., celebrate the last week of summer, and usher in a happy, healthy fall at Strolling of the Heifers’ Live Local, Live Healthy Wellness Fair.

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. It will take place at River Garden, 157 Main St., and will feature local businesses showcasing and selling their services and products, sharing information, and promoting wellness learning.

This is an opportunity to meet local and regional health care practitioners from all disciplines, sample healthy snacks, and explore possibilities for sustaining your mental and physical well-being.

For more information, contact Vicki Friedman at 802-246-0982 or

Healing walk at Manitou

WILLIAMSVILLE — The Manitou Project will hold a healing walk, rain or shine, on Friday, Sept. 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. This meditative walk on Manitou’s Sanctuary Trail will be led by Ryan Murphy and will include poems or other readings and chances to share about the experience.

The Manitou Project seeks to foster community with nature, on its 235-acre land preserve in Williamsville, located at 300 Sunset Lake Rd. Meet at the parking lot at 4 p.m. To learn more, contact Fred Taylor at 802-254-2675.

Andy Avery performs at Jamaica Town Hall

JAMAICA — On Saturday, Sept. 14, the historic Jamaica Town Hall will once again be filled with music. The evening’s performers will be Andy Avery and the “A” Team with bluegrass, folk, rock, and originals.

Avery is a seasoned entertainer who has played regularly in Manchester and the mountains. The other musicians in the trio are Fred Lantz on stand-up bass, vocals, and banjo and Frank Orsini on fiddle, vocals, and mandolin. The group has been playing together for 16 years.

Doors open at 6 p.m., with the show starting at 7 p.m. A $10 donation is suggested at the door. All proceeds go to the nonprofit Jamaica Community Arts Council. To learn more, visit

Latchis hosts ‘GameShow Night’

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro’s first “survey style” studio audience Gameshow Night will debut at the Latchis Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 14. The all-ages, family event is hosted by BrattFM. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the game starts at 7 p.m.

Teams will compete live on stage for sponsor prize packs worth more than $1,000, including a family golf membership to Pine Grove Springs Golf Course, a gift certificate to Shear designs and The Marina Restaurant, a casino trip from Travel Kuz, and more.

Purchase tickets in advance to be part of the audience for $5 or sign up a team of five members for $25 for the chance to play on stage.

General admission will be $10 cash only at the door on the night of the show. Proceeds from the event will benefit Windham County Safe Place Child Advocacy Center. To learn more, visit

Bake sale benefits Townshend library

TOWNSHEND — The Friends of the Townshend Public Library are holding a fundraising bake sale at the Vermont Welcome Center near Exit 1 of Interstate 91 on Sunday, Sept. 15.

The Friends are seeking donations of baked goods, drinks, and various snacks, as well as volunteers to help staff the sale table. Donated items should be dropped off at the library by Saturday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m. Individual packaging and ingredients labels for homemade items are a great help.

If you have any questions, need additional ideas for items that work well in the sale, or would like to make other arrangements for dropping off donations, call the library at 802-365-4039.

Rockingham Meeting House’s concert series concludes with Saxtons River Ringers

ROCKINGHAM — The Rockingham Meeting House will present the final performance of its 2019 Third Sunday concert series Sept. 15, beginning at 3 p.m., at the meeting house.

Music will be provided by the Saxtons River Ringers, a handbell choir that will perform a selection of liturgical and Americana music. Each musician is responsible for a single note or notes, and must sound that note each time it appears in the music, allowing the ensemble to act as a single instrument.

Admission is free, although donations to help support the ongoing preservation and restoration of the Rockingham Meeting House, a National Historic Landmark, will be gratefully accepted. The meeting house is off Route 103, just north of the village of Bellows Falls.

RFPL seeks readers for Banned Books Week

BELLOWS FALLS — Help the Rockingham Free Public Library celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week (Sept. 22-28, 2019). Select a challenged or banned book from the RFPL’s main floor display to take home to read.

Better yet, sign up to read one in the front window of Village Square Book Sellers. Call the Library (802-463-4270) or email by Wednesday, Sept. 18 to sign up to read within the huge “See Live Humans Read Banned/Challenged Books” display.

This annual event, typically held during the last week of September, spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Each year, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries and classrooms. The OIF tracked 347 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2018. Overall, 483 books were challenged or banned in 2018.

Asian Cultural Center celebrates Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

BRATTLEBORO — Asian Cultural Center of Vermont presents the 21st annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (Zhongqiu Jie), which is celebrated in China, Korea, Vietnam, and other places around the world.

Celebrate the Autumn Moon Festival with crafts, songs, food, taiji, paper lanterns, Chinese exercises, the Korean rope tug, and more. Hear the story of The Goddess of the Moon, Chang’e; the great archer Hou-Yi; and the Elixir of Immortality. Then watch the harvest moon rise.

The celebration will start with a pot-luck (bring a dish to share). The Moon Festival will be held, rain or shine, Sunday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at the Kiwanis Shelter atop Living Memorial Park. This all-ages event is free to the public. For more information, call 802-579-9088 or visit

‘Repeopling Vermont’ examines development, progress

BRATTLEBORO — How has Vermont handled questions of development and progress in the past, and how we might use those lessons in the future?

To explore these questions, the public is invited to a community conversation on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m., in the Main Reading Room of Brooks Memorial Library, 224 Main St.

Northern Vermont University Professor Paul Searls will open the discussion by reviewing themes and events featured in his new book, Repeopling Vermont: The Paradox of Development in the Twentieth Century, which highlights the stories of different communities and their responses to difficult questions as part of his inquiry into how Vermont has balanced competing visions for the state.

At the turn of the 20th century, Vermont’s overwhelmingly rural character was both a distressing problem to be solved, and the state’s greatest asset. Searls traces two distinct but interrelated stories to help illuminate the tension between progress and preservation in the last century, and how these forces continue to shape Vermont today.

The event is free and open to the public. The venue is accessible to people in wheelchairs. For more information call 802-254-5290 or visit

Post Oil Solutions starts climate support group

BRATTLEBORO — Post Oil Solutions is sponsoring a 10-session support group to provide a safe and supportive place for people to share grief, despair, guilt, and even hopefulness in a time of uncertainty regarding the earth’s changing climate.

The group will be co-facilitated by Tim Stevenson and Connie Baxter, both experienced group leaders. This isn’t a therapy group, but rather a peer support group. Meetings will take place the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 6 to 7:30 p.m., starting Oct. 2, in the History Room at Brooks Memorial Library.

This will be a closed group (not open to drop-ins), so the facilitators are seeking people who will commit to attending the 10 sessions. A conversation with one of the two facilitators is required prior to the start date to ensure that this is the right group for you.

There is no charge to participate, and group size is limited to 10 people. To learn more, contact Tim Stevenson at or 802-869-2141.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #527 (Wednesday, September 11, 2019). This story appeared on page C3.

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