Last Bite

Rob Cartelli, What's Your 'Local'?

August 15, 2015
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Photo by Jennifer Bakos

I was born and grew up in southern Vermont where I now live with my wife and two sons. I suppose I am what is known as a “local.” Though I have traveled and lived other places, for me the word “home” has always meant this part of the Green Mountain State. My parents, aunts and uncles moved to Putney in the mid-’70s to start a family and build a small farm. I spent the first years of my life living above the cows and sheep and next to our large garden, and some of my earliest memories are digging vegetables and drinking warm fresh milk from the cows. These experiences gave me strong ties to the land that is still my home. I have a large family that surrounds and supports us, and we made a conscious decision to return to this area after travel and living other places to settle and start our family to continue the cycle.

My community here extends beyond family to a talented group of friends and acquaintances. Ethical farmers and gardeners (Walker & Bunker Farms in Dummerston), dedicated teachers and doctors, talented artists, jewelers and makers and ambitious restaurateurs and shop owners are all people I am proud to call my friends. I am delighted to support their hard work, and they in turn support mine by stocking their shelves and restaurants (the Gleanery in Putney and the Eatery in Williamsville) with my work or taking my classes. It is a beautiful, delicious give and take, and it is that cycle of local support that cements my connection to this place.

The community of local potters and artists here is solid. Though I am usually in the minority for my age group, I value the experience and support I get from my cohorts at the Brattleboro Clayworks cooperative, and the larger clay community.

Now that I’ve settled into South Newfane, I’ve joined the Rock River Artist group, which hosts an open studio tour every third weekend in July. They are my neighbors and friends and working with them has been grounding. Opening my studio to the public for the tour is one of my favorite parts of the year. Meeting and connecting with neighbors and visitors amid the glorious July weather is further reminder that my home and my local is the right place to be.


Rob Cartelli
South Newfane, VT
@robcartelli on Instagram

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