Creative Segment Leader Spotlight: Meg Emmons with Bourdon Maple Farm
Creative Segment Leader: Meg Emmons
Organization/Business and Position: Bourdon Maple Farm, Operations Manager
Creative Segment: Specialty Foods
Medium: Organic maple farm
Creative Zone: 3CVT Zone
Bourdon Maple Farm website
The Creative Segment Leader Spotlight series explores the seven Creative Segments that make up Vermont’s diverse creative sector by shining a spotlight on the people who work within them.
Vermont’s food system thrives because of the passion farmers, producers, and makers have for their craft and for the land that sustains it.
Tell us about your work/business or organization and how it came to be:
Bourdon Maple Farm is an organic maple farm located in the hills of Woodstock, VT where we work with the seasons to carry on one of Vermont’s most longstanding traditions. The farm was originally a homestead that the Bourdon family maintained with livestock and gardens. Maple sugaring started on the farm when owner Don Bourdon and his brother were boys, collecting sap from 200 buckets every spring and boiling in a small pan. Since then, Don has expanded the farm to 10,000 taps, spanning 135 acres of forest that he conserved with the Vermont Land Trust. Our work in maple is based on a passion for the land, sustainability, and tradition, and we’re proud to build a livelihood within such a robust agricultural landscape. I joined the crew in 2012 before heading off to the University of Vermont to study Ecological Agriculture and Food Systems. I worked at the farm as often as I could during college, and eleven years later, I’m still working on the farm as the operations manager and love maple sugaring more than ever. In 2022, I expanded our retail business and have enjoyed launching into the creative side of things in addition to seasonal production.
Share something exciting you, your organization or your business is working on:
A large part of our work is expanding education about maple as part of the greater local food movement. This extends past maple as a food product and delves into the world of sustainability and responsibility, both for the land and for the communities we are a part of. Vermont’s food system thrives because of the passion farmers, producers, and makers have for their craft and for the land that sustains it. We’re excited to work with Vermont Organic Farmers, Audubon Vermont, and the Vermont Fresh Network to promote a holistic approach to maple production with regard for the land and the native species that inhabit it and to support our vibrant communities in the process.
Describe something that has changed for you and your work during the pandemic:
The pandemic was a life-changing experience for many. As sugarmakers, we were fortunate to be able to work safely in the outdoors and in the sugarhouse, but in the aftermath, we’ve noticed that the way we live as a society has shifted. There was a great reckoning in examining how we were living and discovering what really mattered to us. During the pandemic and since, there has been a return to community and connection that had been lost in the busyness of everyday life. Many found a desire to reconnect with their sense of place and belonging and to explore their true passions. In a way, it has affirmed our belief in our mission to reconnect people to the land, build real community connection, and to celebrate the life that the earth gives us by doing what we love.
Share something special about being a creative within your town or community:
The most incredible thing about being a creative within my community is the ability to tell a story and invite people into shared experiences that bring joy and connection. There is so much beauty to experience all around us and so many ways we can express it. I’m inspired every day by the creatives in this community and the beautiful stories they tell.