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Lydia Ratcliff: Vermont Farmer, Stubborn Survivor

I’ve decided to re-post this ThoughtCast program from July 1, 2009 because my friend Lydia Ratcliff died yesterday, February 13th, 2018. She fought COPD for over a decade, so she could remain involved in the life of her Andover farm, her friends, and the ideas and preoccupations which sustained her.

Note: this audio program was broadcast on WAMC and WGBH radio in Boston, and the audio program and slideshow were featured on NHPR.org.

Milking TimeAbout 40 years ago, farms were thick on the ground in Andover, a rural town in southern Vermont. Today, 75-year-old Lydia Ratcliff’s Lovejoy Brook Farm is the last working farm still in operation. But can it survive much longer? ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh grew up visiting Lydia each summer, listening to her tales, eating fresh corn and carrots from her garden, and watching the animals give birth, and grow old. On a recent visit to see Lydia, Jenny brought along her microphone …

Lydia Ratcliff is a survivor. She’s farmed her 90 acre plot of land in Andover Vermont for 43 years, and though she’s now come down with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, she still climbs on top of that tractor in hay season.
Does she offer a lesson for the rest of us? Does she represent the future of farming in Vermont, or is she one of the last of a dying breed?
Click here to listen (9 minutes.)

Posted on February 14, 2018 in a new podcast, Economics, Environment, Front Page
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