With our community partners, Atkins Field and our community green space is the place for your history, trails, art, family, food and more. Join us! Visit Atkins Field at 100 Granite Street in Hardwick.
The pavilion at Atkins Field is available to reserve for the season. If you would like to make a reservation, please contact Bethany. Bethany@hardwickagriculture.org
In warmer months, we host the Hardwick Community Gardens, Hardwick Farmers Market, Grow Your Own gardening, cooking, and preserving workshops, outdoor school classes, recreation and nature trails, a community orchard with 49 fruit and nut trees, and so much more.
Plans for 2022 include steps toward the shared vision of a renovated granite shed as shown here in an image created by UVM engineering students. Preliminary schematic designs, engineering and budgeting for a full renovation are all in our 2022 work plan! Stay tuned. This space could allow the Hardwick Farmers Market a three-season shelter. It could be covered space for recreation, historic displays and information, educational workshops, growing more food, a climbing wall, picnics, a simple indoor winter walking space. What would you like to see this space used for? Send us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited to be working with the Town of Hardwick and Hardwick Kiwanis to bring back the annual Spring Festival for the first time in three years Memorial Day weekend 2022! Modern Times Theater has a terrific idea for a home-built midway created with local students. We plan to bring back the big parade, human truck pull and much more. We do not know what will be happening with the pandemic, but one of the lessons from the crisis is how to manage safe outdoor events. We can do that!
Do you know the history of the Atkins Field property? It’s amazing and fascinating:
At the turn of 20th Century, Woodbury Granite Company owned Atkins Field, and grew to employ nearly 1,400 people in our town. Bustling granite sheds, trains, and stonework manufacturing enabled the company to ship Vermont granite all across the United States. Courthouses, city halls and other foundational buildings from Chicago to Washington DC utilized this natural resource.
When the Company closed in 1935, the 15 acre space became an informal town green, where horse pulling contests, beagle trials, and even a winter ice rink were set up for the Town's citizens to enjoy. As the granite company buildings fell into disrepair, Hardwick locals would use the fields, and the leftover stone, for their own purposes. Whether Vt Association of Snow Travelers, Vt All-Terrain Sportsman Association, or birders and dog-walkers, the field and forest have had both formal and informal trails for decades. Hardwick's Kiwanis Club hosted the very first Spring Festival on the field in 1950 - a tradition that's still in full force decades later!
In 2008, the Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) purchased the land with an easement by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board including a provision that it will always be open to the public. CAE’s intent was and is to showcase the history and to provide a space for community to grow food and learn together. In addition, trails, a bicycle pump track and the gardens and orchard provide natural recreation resources used by all and well-placed to connect with the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail in the near future.
2011: Hardwick Farmers Market moves to Atkins
2013: Hardwick Community Gardens move to Atkins
2015: Community Hoop House is built, and gardens expand
2016: Community orchard and permaculture plantings are completed - by Hazen high school students
2018: Timber frame open-air pavilion built with scissor truss design to mimic the granite shed’s internal structure.
2021: University of Vermont engineering students created a vision and plans for a repurposed granite shed
2022: Plans are for a schematic design to assess how the 350-foot granite shed can be renovated.
Want to get involved? Have some ideas? Get in touch!
Visit Atkins Field at 100 Granite Street in Hardwick, VT 05843.