Local Family Farmers To Speak At Networking Forum

The Working Women’s Forum, an association of local professionals and entrepreneurs, will feature, “Getting to Know Local Food and Your Local Farmer.”

The program will be Wednesday, March 13, at The Villa Restaurant, 4 Riverside Road. Networking and appetizers begin at 6 pm, followed by the evening's guest speakers.

Working together since 2000, Sue and Jim Shortt, owners of Shortts Farm & Garden Center in Sandy Hook, say, “this business is our passion.” Sharing their knowledge and experience along with their two young sons, their farm has continued to expand with the increased demand for certified organic vegetables.

Their business includes a retail stand on the farm and a small nursery where they grow flowering annuals, vegetable seedlings, and what is needed to start a garden. They participate in the Fairfield Hills and New Canaan Farmers Markets, and operate the farm as a CSA, or community supported agriculture. CSAs have become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

Ms Shortt grew up in Newtown, and returned after some success in the modeling industry, followed by achieving an associate’s degree in fashion merchandising in Boston, then the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She soon learned that neither the fashion industry nor the city was for her.

After returning to Newtown, Sue and Jim met, beginning her love affair with farming. She spends her free time involved with her children’s schools and the PTA, offering farm field trips for the students and leading discussions in the classroom about farming. Jim has operated the farm since 1995.

Topics to be covered Wednesday night will include what is organic, and what is required to have that designation, what makes locally grown food different, why shop at the farmers market, and what can be found there. The Shortts will also educate the group about locavores — persons interested in eating food that is locally produced — and community supported agriculture.

For reservations, e-mail register at rsvp@workingwomensforum.net or call WWF President Maureen Wilson at 203-470-9097. The program and appetizer fee will be $10 for members, and $ 20 for nonmembers, with a cash bar.

The group will be accepting canned food, personal health, and beauty items for FAITH Food Pantry.

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