Meadow Squier, 25, has lived in Vermont for her entire life. She moved away for three years during college. She comes from a long line of Rutland area Vermonters. Squier currently lives in Tinmouth. She is a farmer with her husband, and she also runs the after school program at the Tinmouth elementary school.
When asked if she thought her community was strong, Squier said, “Yeah. I do. We have a very strong community of older people and younger people. We have a very small school. We have 45 kids in it total. But the climate within the school is really a microcosm of how a community should work, where everyone has to work together. Kids are encouraged…they have to work with kids that are maybe different than them or they don’t always like or get along with because it’s such a small school that they don’t have the opportunity to pick and choose who they want to interact with they have to learn to interact with everybody, and I think that plays into our larger community as a whole. We have such a strong community. There was a farm that had their barn burned down, I think this was last year or two years ago and we built him a new barn, a nicer barn than he had before. It’s one of those things where your barn burns down and you lose a bunch of cows in a fire you maybe aren’t so ready to go back into business. Especially the dairy industry, but with a brand new barn, closer to the road more accessible for a milk truck. He’s still producing. He’s got four cows he’s doing really well. We just had a dairy farmer got run over by a cow, she broke her foot, she was laid up, and people figured out what they needed and they needed a dish washer so they bought them a brand new dish washer, and got that put into their house. It’s just that kind of thing where everyone really kind of knows what’s going on with everybody else and what they need and kind of is paying attention. I think that’s really important. It’s important to me. It’s why I moved back here. And Rutland County, as a farmer it’s like, there’s such a big network of farmers that are my age here, that it’s nice to be able to go talk to Scott and Lindsay at Alchemy Gardens about a lifestyle that’s very similar to mine. So like I can relate to people here, and I can interact with people who are older and get experience from them.”
“I do like living in Vermont. I also like it for the weather. I like the extremes. I think I’d get really bored if I lived too close to the equator where it was just the same temperature, the same daylight all the time. I like that I have to want a season, like right now I’m almost wanting winter which seems weird, but farming makes me really tired and worn out so the idea of having a blanket of snow on all my fields and not being able to do anything is kind of appealing to me right now.”
“I think that we should be paying more attention to the farmer’s market over there, the Vermont Farmer’s Food Center, I think that they’re doing a lot of really cool things. I am biased. I am on the board of that organization. But I think that they are doing amazing things, and I think that should be covered. I think that Rutland, I want it to be perceived more as a positive place to live. I think there’s a lot of coverage of all the negatives of Rutland, and least from what I see, I know there’s a lot of positive coverage as well. I know there’s a terrible heroin epidemic and all this stuff. People just seem to kind of shit all over Rutland a lot, and I think that it’s actually a pretty awesome city. It’s a beautiful city. We have this amazing architecture, but nobody really is appreciating it I feel like. We have this really cool place, but everyone’s just like, ‘Oh it’s Rutland, it’s a shit hole.'”
When asked if the average move rate of five years and the practice of moving away after high school had the effect of ripping communities apart, Squier said, “I mean, I think that it’s…it could go either way. I think that it’s a natural occurrence that people would move away for college and then become a part of another community. I think it’s the role of the community to create good community citizens, so that when they go to another community they know how to be engaged and be good community citizens. And just hoping that other communities are doing the same thing so that everyone is creating good community active people so that when we all move between each other’s communities we’re all very aware and good cooperative working people. Obviously that system can break down when crappy people move in or really awesome people move away and then there’s a hole in the community but I think there’s always the opportunity for it to be filled by someone else who is great.”
When asked who she saw as leaders in the state, Squier said, “Bernie Sanders at the moment. He’s a pretty hot topic person. Right here I think Greg Cox is an amazing leader that we have. He’s a huge inspiration to me and I think he’s got great vision for how this community can be a real agricultural hub and we can be known and grow and produce a lot more food here in this region, and I think he’s an incredible person.”
When asked if she thought elementary students should learn how to farm in a hands on environment, Squier said, “Yeah, for sure. I run a garden club at my school and it’s like the most popular after school program. I did a 30 activity survey of all of my students being like, ‘These are all the activities which ones are your favorite?’ trying to figure out what ones to provide, and garden club still tops the list. It’s pretty cool. I think if kids are given the opportunity to really love growing food instead of it being a chore they have to do at home, I mean a lot of the kids around here do have gardens at home, but it’s often something their mom makes them do or weeding is always this arduous task, or they hear their parents talk about it in maybe a negative way. So making it become something that’s really positive and making kids see that there’s young coolish people doing agricultural things and it’s not something to look down on I think is really important. I know when I was in high school it was like if you were going to be a farmer it’s like, ‘Ah, what?’ You’re signing yourself up for a life of hardships and not having any money, which, I did sign myself for that, but it’s worth it. I think that we need more role models for kids. Having them really experience the fact that it’s hard work to grow food and they should appreciate it, but also understand the difference between good food and processed food and how it effects their bodies because there’s growing food and then there’s really appreciating it for why you want to grow food. I think that lesson’s also really important.
“I think that our instincts, we’re probably not as aware of them maybe as other animals, or we use them differently. I raise a lot of animals myself and I feel like sometimes they’re smarter than I am, but I don’t know. I feel like there’s a lot more potential for us, but because of how we live we don’t need to use them in the same way. So maybe we’re using them just in different ways.”
When asked if she thought emotions are instincts that nature selected for survival, Squier said, “I don’t know I’ve never thought about that. It would make sense it seems possible. Yeah I think that’s a possibility.”