hill country observerThe independent newspaper of eastern New York, southwestern Vermont and the Berkshires

November 2021 Facebook linkHill Country Observer TwitterHill Country Instagram page NEWS ARCHIVE

Click the cover for the full issueClick to open issue


New effort guides investment in local food production

Jesse McDougall became a farmer a decade ago by twist of fate. Along the way to finding a niche raising grass-fed lamb and pastured poultry at Studio Hill Farm in Shaftsbury, Vt., he began to study and implement the concepts of regenerative agriculture -- and to spread the word about them to the wider community. While speaking to a climate action group at Northshire Bookstore in 2019, he met a retired investment banker who’d recently moved to the area. Soon the two joined forces to form the Regenerative Food Network, a new enterprise that aims for nothing less than the revitalization of regional agriculture over the next decade.
read more



Telling people’s stories in print

Retired editor ponders newspapers’ decline, collects columns in new book.
read more


Redistricting reform leads quickly to partisan deadlock

New York’s new Independent Redistricting Commission was supposed to reform the once-a-decade process of drawing new boundaries for congressional and legislative districts. But critics say the end result of the panel’s work will likely be more of the same partisan gerrymandering that has typified the state’s reapportionment process for decades.

read more


Farmers reel as organic dairy giant plans to dump them

Several dozen organic dairy farms across Vermont and eastern New York are trying to find a way forward after Danone, the multinational corporate owner of the Horizon Organic brand, announced in August that it will terminate their contracts next summer.

read more


A Japanese artistic tradition, changing with the world

An exhibit that opens Nov. 30 at the Clark Art Institute traces two movements in Japanese art in the 20th century as they put forward visions of how woodblock prints could develop as an art form into the future.

read more
















Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron