Mel Virgilio, Camp Director

Smokey House Center is pleased to welcome Melanie Virgilio as our inaugural summer day camp director.  Mel is an educator from Sunderland, VT with a long record of classroom and community support for area youth. She has been a substitute teacher in the local school system, and recently completed her teaching degree with a placement at Burr and Burton Academy. Mel is a long-serving member of the Sunderland Elementary and BRSU school boards, and was recently elected to the Taconic and Green Mountains Regional District board. In addition to her many professional arts and marketing roles, Mel has been an arts educator with Vermont Arts Exchange in North Bennington, where she also recently supported all the administrative functions of a successful summer day camp program.  Mel inspires children and young adults through arts education, environmental awareness, and community engagement. She's eager to dig in on the Smokey House farm and explore the nearby forests with local kids this summer.

Contact Mel at

Register for Danby Mountain Day Camp online here.

Smokey House Center joins Hunger Council of Rutland County

Hunger Free Vermont quarterly convenes the Hunger Council of Rutland County -- among many such Councils throughout the state. These Councils "bring together community leaders to create local solutions to end hunger." We were fortunate to join this coalition of thoughtful leaders in Rutland this month for a meeting focused on local food production and agriculture's connection to anti-hunger work in our area.

The Mountain Times covered the gathering of over a dozen social service agencies, area non-profits, church leaders, volunteers, and food producers including our friends at Yoder Farm, Vermont Farmers Food Center, and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. The paper cited Farmer Ginny on our Community Farm project:

At the Smokey House Center in Danby, Vt., Ginny Cook[e] said volunteers successfully grew and donated some 8,000 pounds of produce last year. They also established a free CSA at their local elementary school, which served 36 families.
— Mountain Times, 03/22/17


The Hunger Council reveals a robust network of organizations and individuals working hard to meet very real needs in our community (1 in 4 children in Rutland County are food insecure, according to Hunger Free Vermont's webpage). Our Community Farm project relies on the commitment of this network, and provides a unique opportunity for community connections in our farm fields. Join us this season!

Smokey House Center on the Radio

Farm educator Ginny Cooke and executive director Jesse Pyles joined Katherine Stamper on her new radio show "Present Time" on 99.3 fm WBTV-LP Burlington last week. You can hear the full audio from the 50-minute program here.

In the studio at WBTV-LP, Burlington. Photo: Katherine Stamper

In the studio at WBTV-LP, Burlington. Photo: Katherine Stamper

Katherine has a knack for storytelling and for getting to the root of others' stories. Her questions and interest helped us paint a full picture of the work happening here at Smokey House: our history, our landscape, our involvement with the local farm and food system, and our take on education in the working landscape. Thanks, Katherine, for giving us the opportunity.

Bennington College Students Complete Winter Field Work Term at Smokey House

Every Bennington College student is required to complete 210 hours of job or internship placement for their annual Field Work Term, gaining valuable work experience throughout their undergraduate years. This winter we welcomed two Field Work Term students to support our winter farm work and help us upgrade program space and garden records.  Marion and Cleo, we are so grateful for your interest, motivation, productivity, and great attitudes. It was a pleasure to spend some time with you in Danby. 





Community Farm Celebration Nov. 19

Smokey House Center
Community Farm Potluck Celebration

Join Us! as we celebrate a successful pilot season for our Community Farm project here at Smokey House Center. This is a casual gathering and an opportunity to share and learn more about ongoing community work at Smokey House Center. We'll finish trimming the last of our onion harvest at 4:00, then eat on the early side starting at 4:30. PLEASE BRING A DISH TO SHARE. Bring an instrument if you wish and/or stick around to play unplugged music with friends starting at 5:30 or so. We'd love to share the success of this season with you. All are welcome.

426 Danby Mountain Road, Danby, VT  05739 4:00pm: Gather and Onion Trimming 4:30pm: Potluck Dinner and Community Farm Report 5:30-7:00pm (+): Pick and Sing (bring an instrument!)

426 Danby Mountain Road, Danby, VT  05739

4:00pm: Gather and Onion Trimming
4:30pm: Potluck Dinner and Community Farm Report
5:30-7:00pm (+): Pick and Sing (bring an instrument!)