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New exhibit highlights Concord's farming tradition

Posted by Laura Franzini  October 10, 2012 12:15 PM

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Concord dairy.jpg
Courtesy of the Concord Museum
Vintage milk bottles and creamers on display at the Concord Museum

In celebration of Concord's farming tradition, past and present, the Concord Museum is featuring a new exhibit and related programming called "The Greatest Source of Wealth: Agriculture in Concord" beginning Friday, Oct. 12.

The exhibit explores the town’s changing agricultural landscape over time, as farmers, residents, and local officials are currently engaged in a community-wide discussion about building local food connections, according to a press release from the museum.

The exhibit focuses on innovations of the 19th century—when Concord was at the forefront of agricultural reform—the 20th-century legacy of immigrant farmers who made Concord home, and the challenges of the 21st century.

The exhibition includes a collection of 3,000-year-old agricultural stone tools; paintings of Concord farms; issues of “The New England Farmer,” edited by Concordian Simon Brown from 1851 to 1873; a video of the first robotic milking system in Massachusetts, installed in a barn at Great Brook Farm in Carlisle; and resource materials about community-supported agriculture programs, farm stands, training opportunities for young farmers, and special events related to Concord agriculture.

Guest curator John H. Ott, an authority on the history of the state’s agriculture, is organizing the exhibit with Concord Museum curator David Wood. The exhibit draws from the museum’s collection, the William Munroe Special Collections at the Concord Free Public Library, and private collections.

Gary_Barn.jpg
Courtesy of the Concord Museum
Stonyfield Farms co-founder and chairman Gary Hirshberg will speak as part of the museum's "Farm to Lectern Speakers Series."

In association with the exhibit, a “Farm to Lectern Speakers Series” will feature Gary Hirshberg (above), the co-founder and chairman of Stonyfield Farms, as the keynote speaker for the exhibit’s opening weekend. Additional speakers in the series are Joel Salatin, a full-time farmer at Polyface, a multi-generational organic farm in Virginia, and Brian Donahue, an environmental historian, farmer, and collaborator on the “New England Good Food Vision 2060.”

Other events include a Family Farm Day at the museum, a tour of Concord’s Gaining Ground’s fields and greenhouse, and the “Concord Reads” program at the library, which will focus on the topics of farming and food.

The exhibit runs through March 17, 2013. For more information, call 978-369-9763 (for reservations) or 978-369-9609, email cml@concordmuseum.org, or visit www.concordmuseum.org.

Laura E. Franzini can be reached at laura.franzini@globe.com.

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