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Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions

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November 28, 2016 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

| Free

Savoring Maine’s Artisan Cheese: Opportunities, Challenges, and Prospects for Sustainability

Speaker: Jeff Roberts, President, Cow Creek Creative Ventures

Over the past decade, Maine’s artisan cheese community grew at a rate that surpassed most other states. The sector, one of several exciting examples of a sustainable food systems, adds considerable value to dairy herds, offers high quality products to residents and visitors, strengthens hand-made craft and tradition, and elevates Maine’s artisan brand both regionally and nationally. As businesses move into and become part of local communities, cheese production has the potential to impact social, environmental, and economic systems. In rural states like Maine, cheese and other small agricultural enterprises, are essential to maintain the working landscape and cultural values.

This talk will focus on key dimensions of cheesemaking businesses that influence sustainability of individuals, communities, regions and in the food system. Using specific examples and general trends, Jeff Roberts will discuss why small-scale cheesemaking matters, its place in a sustainable food system, and external forces that support and threaten it.

Jeff Roberts, a resident of Montpelier Vermont, is president of Cow Creek Creative Ventures, dedicated to developing solutions in the areas of agriculture and food policy, conservation, the environment, and community economic development. He was co-founder and principal consultant at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont. His book, The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese (Chelsea Green, 2007), was the first comprehensive survey of small-scale producers. He is a member of Guilde Internationale des Fromagers. He teaches the history and culture of food at the New England Culinary Institute, is a visiting professor at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Science, provides consulting services to a wide array of small-scale food producers, and is a frequent speaker in Europe and the United States on artisan food, sustainable agriculture, and the working landscape. His new book Salted & Cured: American Charcuterie, Country Hams, and Salami (Chelsea Green, 2017) examines the history and culture aspects of dry-cured meat from 1630 to the present.

During his career, Jeff was a meteorologist, museum curator and historian, and director of development at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. From 1987 – 1994, he was associate dean for at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. From 1995 – 1998, he was vice president for external affairs for the Vermont Land Trust.

For more than a decade, Jeff was active in Slow Food International and USA, including service as a director and treasurer of the national board; locally he served as a director of the Central Vermont Community Land Trust; Vermont Arts Council; and Vermont Fresh Network.


November 28, 2016
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


107 Norman Smith Hall
Mitchell Center - UMaine
Orono, ME 04469 United States
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Mitchell Center
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